And so last Monday, July 13th, Farouk Mohammed Lawan clocked 47th years. But he prefers to remain out of the news for the sake of celebrating his date of birth. He wouldn’t be drawn into any form of celebrations. For over 10 years of my association with him, Lawan has not deviated from his pursuit of purpose for the common good. Perhaps, it is this uncommon approach to leadership that makes him a darling of all that have heard or come across him.
Born in rural Farinruwa village tucked in the belly of Shanono local government area of Kano but raised in the metropolitan ancient city of Kano, Farouk embraced education early and through dint of hard work carved a place for himself with an early degree in 1983. He was to add up more academic laurels with a Masters degree and a postgraduate diploma in management. With this vantage academic qualifications, he began to build an enviable political platform upon which he has continued to soar. Apart from his early venture into politics, Lawan rose rapidly in the academia, moving from the classroom to the administrative divide where he branched out in 1998 as the Registrar of the Kano State owned Polytechnic to run for and win a seat to the Federal House of Representatives in 1999 to represent Bagwai/Shanono federal constituency.
There is no doubt that Lawan has made a mark at the national domain of Nigeria’s politics. It is not as if it was an easy way to follow but it is correct to say that he worked to excel. This much was re-echoed by former House of representatives speaker, Ghali Umar Na’abba in February at a dinner organized in Farouk Lawan’s honour in Kano to celebrate the two doctorate degrees awarded to him by the University of Abuja and University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
In a manner that many would hesitate to volunteer for a fellow brother, Na’abba commended Lawan for standing tall in all responsibilities thrown at him, saying that from his close observation of Lawan, “he is ready to serve and discharge his duties diligently because he is endowed with wisdom.” As a former presiding officer, Na’abba is in a position to know the strength and weaknesses of members of the House. The reception had political coloration and many were murmuring under their breadth if Lawan was gearing up to take over from ANPP’s Malam Ibrahim Shekarau as governor in 2011. Abubakar Rimi, second republic governor of old Kano spoke of Lawan in the same vein. To him , Farouk has shown excellent credentials of leadership. Deputy Speaker, Usman Nafada further collaborated Na’abba and Rimi. Nafada said Lawan has excelled among parliamentarians by working, not just for Kano or northern Nigeria but for the entire nation. The coincidence of Lawan and Shekarau’s joint award of honorary doctorate degrees at Nsukka almost sparked off some crises but the timely intervention of leaders from both sides calmed the frayed nerves.
Rep Lawan can be said to have had a sudden rise to national politics but that has not confused his vision for a just society where all Nigerians could claim heirship to their fatherland. He has exhibited the true character of a nationalist in terms of his philosophy. Right from his school days and up to his activities in the House, he has shown that he is a man that loves to play his own game within the inner vortex of power. That was the main urge that fuelled his quest to preside over the house in 1999. When the powers that be marked him out, he settled to be the kingmaker.
Lawan loves to do things to perfection. But is he a perfect man? The answer is definitely no. Reason: His is human. He has his shortfalls. He has worked hard to come this far so he does not accept mediocrity or laziness. You may not like his style but a close watch of the man would make you to love him. He believes that things should be done right and perfectly. He has no time for protocols. He welcomes every visitor to his office personally. Every visitor to his office or residence has the right to see him and discuss freely. That is why I send this best wishes to someone I’ve come to admire. In just 47 years, Lawan has shaped many things in the life of his nation and there are strong indications that more would come through him and his likeminded Nigerians.