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Namadi Sambo: A true statesman at 66, By Ahmed Maiyaki

After the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) lost the 2015 Presidential election, many Nigerians thought that former Vice President Namadi Sambo will begin to make plans to run for President in 2019. He never did. Instead, he chose to remain as a statesman in a nation that has given so much to him. Sambo is not a very ambitious man when it comes to seeking power. He is, rather, a refined gentleman whose major concern is to add value to humanity.

Born on the 2nd August 1954, Sambo had his primary education at Baptist Primary School, Kakuri, Kaduna state in 1959, he later moved to Kobi Primary School, Bauchi and finally, Towns School, Zaria. After his primary education, he had his secondary education at Government Secondary School, Zaria where he obtained the West African School Certificate (WASC) in 1971.

From 1972 to 1973 he attended the School of Basic Studies at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. Sambo later got admitted to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he studied and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture in 1976; and a Masters Degree in Architecture in 1978.

As a seasoned Architect and Consultant of international repute, Sambo practised and executed several projects undertaken by various Governments, Multinationals and International Organizations with many edifices and monuments to his credit.

Sambo went into public service where he also left indelible footprints. He was two-time Commissioner in the Ministries of Agriculture and Works, Transport & Housing in Kaduna State between 1986 to 1991, after which he went back to private practice. He returned to public service, having been elected Governor of Kaduna State in 2007. Three years later he became Nigeria’s Vice President, a position he held until 2015.

The man Namadi Sambo has made a mark in the annals of Nigeria’s history. From improving healthcare to the provision of critical infrastructure; from developing the education sector to improving security; from promoting efficiency in governance to public service reforms; from striving to promote peace and stability to enhancing citizens’ welfare, Sambo no doubt has made a significant impact in leadership at the state and federal governments while he served.

Since his exit from public office, Sambo has remained as gentle as a dove but as firm and resourceful as a genius. He continues to live a quiet life without drama. His widely acclaimed modest and unassuming lifestyle has inspired many Nigerians. He spends time these days mentoring new sets of business leaders and galvanizing his wide global networks for the benefit of this great nation as a modest way of giving back to society without pomp and pageantry.

Over the years, the former Vice President has made himself available whenever he is invited to participate in functions organized by the federal government or his home state, Kaduna. To him, nation-building should not be impeded by political differences.

Given his vast experience and knowledge of the global business landscape, the African Union (AU) and the African Export and Import Bank (Afreximbank) appointed him as an Active Ambassador of the first Intra Africa Trade Fair (IATF) held in Egypt in 2018. As a consummate business leader, Sambo mobilized businessmen, companies, buyers and sellers from Nigeria and indeed other African countries to the auspicious event.

The maiden Intra-African Trade Fair generated in excess of $ 30 billion in trade deals. Investors, multinational companies, buyers and sellers from across the world concluded business deals leading to an increased flow of foreign direct investment to Africa through partnerships between indigenous companies and foreign investors.

Sambo was not hesitant when he was approached to serve as Chancellor and Chairman, Board of Trustees of Baze University, a frontline private university in Nigeria. For Sambo, education is key to the development of any nation and nothing should deter him from contributing in whatever capacity he is able to serve. Since inauguration as the Chancellor of the University barely a year ago, Sambo has brought to bear his wealth of experience in leading the institution impressively.

His passion for education is unwavering, perhaps that buttresses the decision of the Council and Management of Kaduna State University (KASU) to confer on him an Honorary Doctorate Degree in a combined convocation ceremony held at the Main Campus of the University.

According to the University, the award is in recognition of Sambo’s numerous contributions to the growth and development of the institution when he served as a Visitor to the University and his contributions when he was the Vice President through numerous contributions and interventions.

Sambo has distinguished himself as meticulous, hardworking and an innovative leader driven by patriotism. These traits have consistently been demonstrated from his days as a young student to his later life as a professional Architect and a political leader.

It is very rare these days to find leaders with a high level of competence matched with a great ability to connect with everyday people, showing so much love and compassion. Sambo is one of those few who represents the best of both worlds.

At 66, Sambo has indeed built a legacy that will stand the taste of time. This is wishing him many more years of Allah’s rahmah and continuous guidance and protection. Happy birthday, Your Excellency Sir.

Maiyaki wrote this from Kaduna.

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