BY SONI DANIEL, Regional Editor, North
After many months of staying away from the fold of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido, yesterday, staged a major reintegration with his party by hosting his counterparts to a crucial political meeting in Dutse, the state capital.
According to competent sources, the Dutse meeting, which was attended by 13 PDP governors and three deputy governors, was to formally ‘welcome back’ Lamido into the PDP family and to put to an end to the fear that the governor had made up his mind to quit the party with his teeming supporters.
The meeting, it was learnt, was also used to persuade the governor to ‘forget the past’ and team up with the leadership to work for the progress of the PDP and the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.
Lamido, was one of the seven PDP governors, who staged a walkout last August at the Eagle Square against the leadership of the party over unresolved political differences, which eventually led to the emergence of a splinter group called the new PDP.
Based on the development, Lamido was widely expected to dump the PDP for the All Progressives Congress last December but he shocked the nation when he stayed away from the APC meeting and opted to remain in PDP, which he co-founded with others in 1998.
Sources said that many PDP bigwigs had been mounting pressure on Lamido to stay back in PDP and join forces with them to deliver President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 before deciding his next political move in the country.
The party leadership told Lamido that it would be in his best interest to continue to remain in the party and work for President Jonathan’s re-election in 2015.
The party leadership is said to be concerned that any attempt by Lamido to leave the party for any other would cause a serious political setback to the PDP in the next election given the huge popularity and followership, which the governor enjoys in the state.
The meeting would also put to an end the attempt by the former governor of the state, Saminu Turaki, to stage a comeback to the state using the instrumentality of the PDP.
Turaki has been very frequent in the state lately, trying to curry support for President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015, and giving the impression that he had been picked by the PDP leadership to spearhead the Jonathan project over Lamido.
Two months ago, Lamido conducted election into the 27 local government areas in the state and his party won in 25 councils. Election results were cancelled in two areas where the election body claimed there was confusion.
In a recent interview, Lamido said he was still a member of the PDP and had never contemplated leaving the party.
The governor said: “I am in PDP and I am in PDP. I have been very involved with my friends and colleagues in fighting for justice and I am still involved.