By Dr. Sam Idiagbonya
Seeing him tuck his legs under his frame on a prayer mat, in utter reverence and piety to his Maker, or watch him bask in the air of conviviality amongst his kin and acquaintances, it is easy to label him a commoner, or just any other person. But a second look at him through the lenses of a wise soul dawns upon one that he is greatness and mystery packed in a person.
The verisimilitude of his essence exudes grace. His persona is endearing, his laughter is infectious, his concerns – sincere, his people skills – top-notch, his cerebral acuity – unique, his fatherly mien – large, his experience – vast, his philosophies – deep, his soul – beautiful, and above all, his type – rare. He is Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, the first of his name, the great Muri Scion, Tafida Beka. A student of the school of life can easily spot him in the crowd. There is something beautiful about his face and its expressions. It tells tales of triumph, stories of pain, a catalog of achievements, labyrinths of a heroic odyssey laden with purpose, the face of survival, and triumph, a documentation of his history, captured by time on his face.
Meeting him for the first time a few years ago, the courtesy of his living room was so endearing. His pragmatic views and deep philosophies about any subject matter held me spellbound. Within the first few minutes of meeting him, you can tell he is a man of integrity and knowledge. It is safe to term him the last of the Mohicans. His appointment as the Minister of State, Works and Housing didn’t come to many as a surprise as it was an appointment well deserving; but there is a twist to the narration. He didn’t see it coming.
His head was buried in purpose till he received the call to serve his fatherland, no lobbying, no sorting, no games. From 2 his appearance in the senate, till his confirmation and deployment by the President, he tells whoever cares to listen, that it was just an act of God, he didn’t see it coming. You can tell without being a soothsayer that it’s an act of providence and he is the right man for the job. He is rich in character, and experience. After one of his virtual Federal Executive Council meetings, I walked into his office, his eyes were heavy. Good afternoon sir, I said; he turned his gaze at me, shakes his head slowly, and what he said next shook my ideologies to its foundation.
He said “For the past few hours, we have been in a meeting to determine the welfare of over two hundred Million Nigerians, how did I get here? I never imagined this in my life, that I will be in such a hallowed meeting, this can only be the Work of the Almighty Allah” He stood up and bowed his head in worship to his creator. “I am Humbled he said”. In all sincerity, I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears. This is humility at its peak. He didn’t see it as his right but a privilege.
That was a culture shock for me, this is a rare breed, I said to myself. Everything is a privilege to him, some people are so poor that all they have is money, but he is an exemption. He is rich in Character and Integrity. He is Humble to a fault. I remembered following him to a wedding ceremony, and he went to greet his host, who is an older Senior Government official.
Before my very eyes, he squatted down in respect with his darling wife to talk to him for almost five minutes, I could hear the little boy in me screaming – Stand up sir, you are an Honourable Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but no, our dear Mu’azu was consumed with genuine humility.
He bows easily and genuflects effortlessly to everyone deserving, but there is a caveat, you don’t want to take him for granted, No. He is a disciplinarian to the core, firm and resolute in his dealings, and he confronts error to its face. 3 Once he lands in his hometown in Jalingo, straight to his family house, there is no segregation, no piousness, he mingles with everyone. He often says, Appointments will come and go, but these are my people, and they are the ones I will return to when my tenure is over.
Political appointments shouldn’t come between me and my people. He treats them all with respect and gives them attention. He was the Honourable Minister of State Works and Housing for about Seven Months and his contributions to that ministry will echo for a long time in the annals of history. He accorded the Senior Minister his respect per time and contributed his quota as an Engineer and a builder of repute.
In his home state in Taraba, he initiated visible projects that have defied the interventions of previous administrations, yet he never bragged nor abrogated them to himself. He will rather not talk about it. In Jalingo Metropolis, he initiated the: DSS office to Ambaliya road, the Hassan primary school to the back of police Barack Road, Lamangoro Road, Kasuwan Yelwa to the primary board, and a few others.
Outside the Metropolis, he ensured the abandoned Numan/Jalingo road was brought back to the table and secured a three Billion Sukuk Fund for the Project; through his Senior Colleague, Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN, he sought for and got approval for the Bali-Serti-Gembu road in Taraba State. He secured jobs for hundreds of people without noise.
Many orphans are on his Scholarship scheme, and many Nigerians are beneficiaries of his magnanimity. Built places of worship, rehabilitated Schools, and secured beneficial communal infrastructure. These he does quietly without noise or accolades from the press. He is indeed the Sun Rising in the Mambilla.
On Wednesday 6th July 2022, he was appointed the Honourable Minister of Transportation. As perceived by key stakeholders, it’s a homecoming knowing 4 that Mu’azu Jaji Sambo has worked and retired in the Maritime sector. He knows the Transportation Sector in detail and his interventions will be felt by Nigerians within a short time.
The Stage is set, the expectations are high, the scroll is laid, and he will sure write his name in Gold. Honourable Minister, remain the Star you are, may the Almighty Allah be your succor and Driver as you journey through, and may the good name you have protected from your cradle to date not be stained by any.
You are our Paragon of Virtue, your Motherland looks up to you to be the difference we yearn for. Our Prayers are with you.
Our love to comfort you, and our cheer to encourage you. We believe in you Tafida. You are the best man for the Job. We know you will do Nigerians Proud. We know you will do President Muhammadu Buhari Proud.
We know you will do Tarabans Proud. Above all, we know you will do the Almighty God proud. Allah Sene Barkama! Allah Riske Hairu! Allah Hokkei Jam! Allah Sabbinane! Allah Barkidine! AMEEN!!!
Dr. Sam Idiagbonya is the Special Assistant On Media & Publicity to the Honourable Minister of Transportation