The incarceration of the former governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido on the charge of incitement is an unusual example of a former governor being prosecuted by his successor on the charge of incitement. Beyond the charge is the shadow boxing between the former governor and his foes
By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor & Aliyu Dangida
GOVERNOR Muhammed Baduru may be said to have continued the quirky tradition of his predecessors of doing the unusual in Jigawa State. Governor Aminu Turaki who governed the state between 1999 and 2007 won a national reputation of governing the state mostly from outside the state and projecting surreal scientific scenarios for the largely agrarian state.
Governor Sule Lamido while departing from the path of his predecessor went the extreme of popular endearment between 2007 and 2015, becoming one governor in Nigeria with a phone accessible by even the local commercial motorbike operator.
He was one governor who took his Talakawa philosophy with him to government. Governor Badaru is said to have carved out his own unique pathway one of which is perhaps becoming the first governor to have his predecessor sent to jail for the “crime” of incitement.
Petition against the governor
Lamido was penultimate Sunday arrested on the basis of a petition forwarded by Baduru on the allegation of a plot to instigate violence in the state. The petition against the governor was articulated on April 27, but the former governor was not arrested until April 30 and had to stay through the Labour Day holidays until he was granted bail on May, 4.
However, the arraignment came against the background of the positioning of the two major political parties in the state for the forthcoming local government elections that have been scheduled for July 1, 2017.
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP had earlier challenged the seeming reluctance of the All Progressives Congress, APC led government to conduct the elections. The PDP indeed took the State Independent Electoral Commission, SIEC to court which eventually succumbed and announced the July 1 date. The proactive stance of the PDP was not unconnected to the fact that the party had prepared its house for the election despite the seeming chaos at the national level.
Indeed, once the SIEC announced the date of the election the PDP submitted the list of the 27 chairmanship contestants to the state electoral body. The APC, however, as at press time has not submitted the list of its candidates as party stakeholders from various Local Government Areas take turns storming the Government House, Dutse to protest what they claim as the imposition of candidates by various local chieftains.
A recent meeting of APC stakeholders summoned to sharpen strategies for the local government elections at the Government House apparently ended in a deadlock when some stakeholders staged a protest against the alleged imposition of candidates as they fumed that it was against the interest of the electorate.
Indeed, the meeting which was supposed to be held at the APC secretariat was shifted to Government House for fear of chaos, as invited stakeholders had to undergo series of screening by security personnel before gaining access to the conference hall. The state chairman of the APC, Ado Sani Kiri has, however, refuted the rumours of imposition saying that the process of consensus was being taken by the party to the logical conclusion.
Noting that neither he nor the governor was inclined towards imposition, the party boss said: “Not even we at the party level, but the government doesn’t have any interest, we are trying to make the candidate make a consensus within themselves so as to have a credible and focus team as our LG contestants.” Another allegation that has been raised against the party is that some people with influence in the party were collecting bribes from some of the aspirants for the purpose of influencing the list to their favour.
The accusation is strongly rebuffed by the APC chairman, who said this cannot happen because “we are operating a transparent and accountable government and how much so you think we can collect from them”? he queried. The party’s chairman’s denial nonetheless, thousands of APC supporters from various local government areas of the state have continued to register their grievances over the alleged imposition of candidates.
Speaking to journalists on behalf of the protesters, Alhaji Abdussalam Umar Kiyawa, blamed some APC caucus in Kiyawa local government for not obeying the governor and state party leadership’s directives to conduct a genuine consensus among the party loyalists and choose the most eligible candidate that would be accepted by the masses who will lead the party to victory in the election.
The protesters also accused their house of representatives member of imposing the local government party chairman Isyaku Adamu on them as his personal candidate against the wish of many. “We have heard the voice of our Rep. Member Ibrahim Kemba Madobi in the media saying that they have reached consensus over local government chairmanship candidate in Kiyawa local government and Isyaku Adamu is their choice.
“So we are here at the government house to submit our protest letter to Governor Muhammad Abubakar Badaru against this decision of enforcing a candidate on majority by a few, as everybody knows that APC is a party of masses where real democracy is at work not like in other political parties” he stated.
About 17 out of 27 LGAs of the state have also had cause to raise delegations or protest vehemently against the imposition of the unpopular candidates for the fourth coming council poll.
Whatever the case may be the outcome of the LG‘s election in Jigawa state may determine the second chance of the APC-led Badaru administration in the 2019 elections, especially as the governor emphasized whoever wins will be declared as the winner. But the questions many are asking can an incumbent governor allow the opposition party to win any election? Time will tell.
Insinuations, however, are that Lamido’s troubles go beyond Jigawa State as he is seen as one of the principled members of the PDP willing to challenge the APC in the 2019 presidential elections. Unlike some former PDP governors who were opposed to President Goodluck Jonathan, Lamido refused to defect to the APC mainly on the claim that he would not abandon his home because of a little discomfort.
This weekend the PDP is scheduled to hold a major rally in Dutse, and there are indications that some PDP governors from across the divide are scheduled to attend. How it turns out could further engage the political instincts for self-preservation.