By Bashir SULEIMAN
THE unfolding events in the country’s political landscape, most especially the zoning propaganda are daily becoming interesting. No doubt this is a headache of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, because both the proponents and those that are against zoning are all members of the party.
The agitators who in recent times have grouped as Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF) led by Mallam Adamu Ciroma are of the view that the North deserves to be in the saddle, arguing that President Goodluck Jonathan, who the ruling PDP had cleared to contest via a decision of the National Executive Council (NEC) should not present himself as an aspirant in the coming primaries and should keep away from the “birth-right” of the North.
More worrisome are recent outbursts by Adamu Ciroma and his confederates to the effect that they would make this country ungovernable. As a citizen of this country, I do not even belong to any political party but I have passion for good governance and effective delivery of democratic dividends.
That Mallam Ciroma in whom the country has bestowed so much trust and confidence by entrusting him with the position of Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Minister of Finance and lately ministerial slot for his wife could at this stage of his political life pronounce publicly in tandem with his co-travellers that the country would be made ungovernable, is to say the least unpatriotic.
I can recall that since the democratic dispensation in 1999, the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) has been in the saddle in Ciroma’s Yobe State. If the yard-stick for measuring one’s contribution to the development of PDP is delivering one’s state, then Ciroma would not be a bona fide member of the party. While he has benefitted so much, he has contributed little or nothing both to the party and his constituency. If he was truly popular, Yobe would be a PDP state. Now, a man who cannot speak for Yobe is petending to speak for the whole North.
The call for a Northern president at this stage by Ciroma and his NPLF has exposed him as a tribalist and one who has penchant for flouting his party’s stand and views. One would have expected that obeying one’s party’s rules and regulations was a necessary condition for being considered loyal. But the reverse is the case with Ciroma. Ciroma and his likes are no doubt acting contemptuously of the capacity and wisdom of the party in resolving the the lingering zoning controversy.
We expect the likes of Ciroma to bequeath a positive legacy to the youths in the North so that he would be remembered forever! But the attitude of reckless talks, divisive tendencies and pursuit of parochial interests in the name of Northern presidency would likely jeopardize the expectation.
Happily enough, there are still credible Northern leaders who think beyond the veil of the Ciromas of this world and who Nigerians can count on. A good example that readily comes to mind is Alhaji Sule Lamido, the Governor of Jigawa State.
His recent statements did not in any way portray him as anti-North, neither has he lost his birthright as a Northerner. Between Ciroma and Lamido, I don’t think Ciroma is more Northern than Lamido.
Lamido, while receiving the Goodluck/Sambo Campaign Organisation led by Senator Dalhatu Tafida recently had lambasted his fellow Northerners for being myopic and full of double standards in the region, accusing them of fighting the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua even to death. Haba!
Lamido had explained that the proponents of the Northern presidency never supported their own in office, noting that the late President Yar’Adua was among the best leaders Nigeria ever produced, but faced serious opposition from the region.
He said that Nigerians believed in the late Umaru Yar’Adua who restored confidence in governance because they saw in him a very honourable person and yet the Northerners undermined him, reasoning that the ranting and the noise about Northern presidency is myopic thinking and hypocritical of the Northern politicians, who do not wish the region well.
Lamido explained that the Jonathan/Sambo ticket was a continuation of the PDP victory of 2007 and therefore, Nigerians must defend that attainment. He stressed that no one should use any primordial sentiment to deny Nigerians the best.
There is no doubt that Governor Lamido is right. The political climate in this country now calls for sober reflection on our past. A reflection on how best we can unite the country despite our religious, tribal and geo-political leanings. Thank God for people like Sule Lamido. Long live one indivisible Nigeria.
Mr. Suleiman, a public commentator, writes from Kaduna.