By Hassan Muhammed
Alhaji Sule Lamido , no doubt, is one of the shining lights in the north at the moment. He has done well for himself, not only because he is a governor but, more than that, it was during his era as minister that the country was ushered back into the comity of nations. It was during his time as minister that Nigeria was readmitted intoÂ African Union, Commonwealth, the country having been suspended from the intercontinental bodies because of prolongedÂ military rule in Nigeria..
Before he became his stateâ€™s helmsman, Lamido was Nigeriaâ€™s foreign affairs minister during the first term of General Olusegun Obasanjo and he adequatelyÂ held the forte not only inÂ the ministry but also projected the country in such a way that Nigeria became the beautiful bride of many countries and got debtÂ relief from creditors like the Paris Club and the World Bank. This is obviously an impeccable credential for any public office holder.
The other attribute of this politicianÂ is his ability to learn which of course led to the success of his tenure as minister. He was not particularly qualified for the job when the Obasanjo administration appointed him but he gave a good account of himself.Â But I am afraid that is where all the enviableÂ qualities stop. Being a governor and a minister are two different things.
A minister who supervises a ministry, a foreign affairs for that matter, willÂ more often than not, mingle with the outside world. But, he rarely comes to the grassroots level and even when he does come around, he does so with a retinue of aides, often times well armed. So, forÂ the people, theÂ opportunity to hear, offer advice and help the course of his assignment is not there. This was the mindset whenÂ Lamido becameÂ governor.
Lamido was sworn-in as governor of Jigawa State, the second to be democratically elected to do so in the state. Jigawa was predominantly a rural state. But the immediate past governor, Alhaji Saminu Turaki,Â had done his bit to uplift the state beyond the rural setting. So when Lamido came into office, expectation was high that the governor would build upon the achievements of his predecessor to take the state to greater heights.
But what has happened in the last two and a half years? Have the people of the state got the best out of the Lamido administration? Are they getting a fair deal? Is the government working in their interest? All these questions can be answered in the negative.Â And the reason is not far fetched. Lamido became governor with the assistance of Turaki, but the same Turaki appears now to be his nemesis. Turaki has become an enemy. So, all the resources of the state must be deployed to fight Turaki.
The resultant effect is that the state must suffer because the money that would have been used to deliver democracy dividends is now being diverted to the campaign to fight the former governor. So, now, there is nothing on the ground to justify the huge revenue that Jigawa has made since 2007.Yes, Turaki gave adequate attention to education to bridge the gap between the state and theÂ educationally advantaged states in the country. But what do we have several years after the former governor left office?
Majority of the schools built by the Turaki administration still remain the way they were. Infrastructural development is nil while nothing appears to be happening in critical sectors like health and agriculture. Commissioners and special advisers quit every now and then because they are not given free hand to do the work for which they were appointed. Even on the home front, the governor is said to be embattled. It is alleged that two of his wives left because they could not tolerate him.
Presently, theÂ commissioners still in his cabinet are said to be those who subscribe to his excesses. In all these, Turaki, to Lamido and his men,Â has a hand. The implication is that even when it rains or otherwise, Turaki is responsible. Lamido has become paranoid of Turaki. To him, everything wrong that happens in Jigawa, the former governor has a hand in it. So if a man and his wife quarrel or they are not blessed with the fruit of the womb, the cause is Turaki.
Is it not shameful that after two and half a years, the government of Jigawa as led by Lamido is still after Turaki and bent on making a scapegoat of him? Yet, the natural question that would follow is, what really is the problem that even more than halfway into the governorâ€™s tenure,Â Turaki remains the issue in Jigawa politics? It must be the high esteem the people of the state hold the former governor because of the transformational strides his eight-year administration made, the strides the Lamido regime seeks to reverse.
*Muhammed is chairman of Jigawa Stakeholders Forum