Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido has urged Nigerians to support President Goodluck Jonathan despite his shortcomings, as those lapses were part of a national healing process. He also brought the attention of the people of the country to the tension during the 2007 election when all the candidates were supposed to be brothers from the same region, showing how hungry some people are for power.
“Whatever the shortcomings or strong points of President Jonathan, they are part of the process of national healing, and it is the duty of all of us to come together and be part of the national healing. Nigeria cannot be hinged on a single person or section. So, in 2015, whatever it is, we must be ready to rally around the president. Even if he makes mistakes, we should be able to pull him back. But when you vilify him, or deride him, or disown him, you will take away his authority from him, and you will strip him of his pride and he will become like any other person,” Lamido told Vanguard in an interview.
Continuing, he said, “That is not the way to go because, as they say, things that go round will come round. Today, it is Jonathan. Next day it can be anyone else. You cannot build a strong, united, prosperous nation with that kind of attitude. If you think the leader you elected to office is going wrong, rally around him and stop him from straying. When you abandon and malign him, he is going to be like any other person, and he might begin to get out of hand in a way that does no one any good. And remember, he has his own supporters. Before you know it, the nation is broken again into factions. So, to me, maybe I am becoming too old and don’t see things from the perspective of the youth of today, but I think our values are being eroded, as a people, as an economy, as a nation and as Africans, and we must not allow that to happen. Nigeria was here before Jonathan and after Jonathan, Nigeria will be here, I am very sure,” he said.
Going back in history, Lamido said it was the difficulty faced by Obasanjo when he wanted re-election in 2003 that redefined the country.
“I think what redefined Nigeria was denying Obasanjo a smooth sail in 2003. He went through a lot of pain to get re-elected, and that eroded confidence and trust among his friends and associates,” he said.
“In a way, all these things influenced his thinking towards 2007. And then, Umaru Yar’ Adua was in office. He was there for only three years and he died. In 2007, Yar’ Adua, a Fulani, a Northerner; Buhari, a Fulani, a northerner; Atiku, a Fulani, a northerner, all of them northerners, Muslims and Fulanis. There was no southerner in the presidential race in 2007, yet the elections were very acrimonious. The power struggle among these otherwise brothers was very bitter, and when we do these things, it has a way of defining the disposition of the younger generation.
“By and large, our activities also impact on the environment. The structure of the PDP made sure that there was no way that Atiku and Buhari could have beaten Yar’ Adua. Buhari had no structure but depended on the All Nigerian People’s Party (ANPP). Atiku was a PDP creation. At the end of the election, there was total distortion of realities, due to the amount of propaganda. Even though there was no way the duo could have won the election, they made a lot of people to believe that the election was rigged. It was pure mischief, but these things stuck. When you tell a lie over and over, it begins to wear the toga of the truth. They went to the tribunal, they lost. They went on appeal, they lost. And the more they lost the more the propaganda. At the Supreme Court, the judges are also under the same influence in the environment. There was a tie. It took the maturity of the Chief Justice of Nigeria then, after examining the implications for the nation, and he broke the tie accordingly.”
He noted that Buhari, who is now the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), despite being from the same tribe as Yar’adua never supported the late president.
“Buhari never attended the Council of State meetings when Yar’ Adua was president. But when Yar’ Adua died, the very first meeting Jonathan called, Buhari was the first to be there. And they were Muslims. They were Fulanis and northerners. These things also permeated down to the grassroots. By stroke of providence, Jonathan became the president. By 2011, Jonathan won the election, and some people started saying he is a southerner. Who was there before him? Was it not a northerner? There are certain things in life you cannot avoid,” he noted.