Media have gone agog as former governor of Jigawa state, Sule Lamido, marks his 69th birthday anniversary today.
#TheBamainaBoy politician on the face of the Niger is one big name to be reckoned with especially as 2019 presidential elections is concerned.
Lamido is also known for his fearlessness and political activism, especially in criticising erring governments and ensuring good governance and democracy thrives.
It was his unyielding fearlessness and demand for good governance and restoration of Nigeria’s democracy that led him to challenge the military government of Late General Sani Abacha, a development that culminated in his imprisonment by Abacha in 1998.
Even in the present political dispensation, Dr. Lamido has remained a strong voice in the demand for good governance as he was one of the strong critics of the Buhari administrations, having described the anti-corruption war of President Muhammadu Buhari as a ruse, wondering how a man who worked under Late General Sani Abacha, the late military dictator adjudged by so many as very corrupt, could be talking about fighting corruption.
“He (Buhari) worked under Abacha; in fact he was the closest to the late military ruler and when it comes to corruption, everybody knows where Abacha’s government stands,” Lamido had said.
But who is Dr. Sule Lamido?
Born in Bamaina, Birnin Kudu in present day Jigawa State on August 30th, 1948, Dr. Sule Lamido attended the prestigious Barewa College after attending Birnin Kudu Primary School.
He afterwards trained as a Railway Engineer then opted to join the military, but facing parental resistance, attempted to join the police and was to resume at the Police College in Ikeja when the civil war broke out.
Lamido then joined the Nigeria Tobacco Company as a Quality Control Officer, overseeing Zaria. He became Zonal salesman of the company, overseeing the North-East and later became in charge of sales over modern day Benue and Plateau states.
He left NTC and joined Christlieb first as Northern Field Manager and eventually became the Brand Manager of the company, a position which gave him the opportunity to make several trips down south to modern day Rivers, Cross River, Delta, Edo and others, opening new offices to monitor the brand image and sales of products like Thermos flasks, Quaker products, Heinz products, Vaseline and even Phensic on behalf of Beecham.
Sule Lamido eventually left Christlieb and formed his own company, Bamaina Holding Company, which became Bamaina Company Limited, a tribute to his industry and also the place of his birth.
As one who had followed Northern Elements Progressive Union pre-independence and also in the First Republic, Sule Lamido joined politics as a member of the radical and populist People’s Redemption Party, a party founded by the late Aminu Kano as a successor to NEPU which had challenged the political dominance, class and ethnic politics of the NPC led by Ahmadu Bello.
Sule Lamido became a member of the Federal House of Representatives in 1979 on the PRP platform and also a member of the SDP in the botched Third Republic where he became the first Kano State chairman of the party and when Jigawa was created out of Kano, he became the chairman of the party in Jigawa.
In 1992, he became the National Secretary of the SDP, and supported Olu Falae before he was banned from political office after which Lamido supported the eventual winner, MKO Abiola.
To force Abacha’s exit, Lamido joined the likes of Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Prof. Jerry Gana, Alhaji Adamu Ciroma, Chief Solomon D. Lar, Alhaji M.A. Rimi, Bola Ige, Senator Francis Ellah and Dr. Iyorchia Ayu in the G9.
This group later became G34. But on the day of the inauguration, Abacha had Abubakar Rimi and Sule Lamido, who represented Kano and Jigawa states respectively, arrested. And so, what should have been G36 eventually became G34.
Rimi was detained in Ilorin while Lamido was detained in Maiduguri. These forces first split and then came together as different political associations to form PDP.
Lamido found himself with the SPP group along with Solomon Lar, Abubakar Rimi, Jim Nwobodo, Jerry Gana, Shettima Mustafa, Wilberforce Juta and Iyorchia Ayu.
Lamido became Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1999 after losing the gubernatorial election for Jigawa to Saminu Turaki.
When the people of Jigawa State finally called on him to become their governor, Dr Sule Lamido yielded and was subsequently elected as the governor of Jigawa State in 2007.
As Executive governor who ruled Jigawa State from 2007 – 2015, Dr Sule Lamido executed unprecedented infrastructural projects and many human capacity development programmes in the state.
For Example, he built several schools and provided basic infrastructure in all the school environments as well as training and retraining of teachers in the state for effective service delivery.
He executed many housing projects for low and middle income earners in the state using both the Dutse Capital Development Authority and the Jigawa State Housing Authority.
In 2009, former governor Lamido provided free plots of land and basic infrastructures as incentives to investors wishing to invest in the state’s tourism and hospitality industry.
Even with little Federal Allocation to the state, Dr Lamido was still able to build a state university, a world class airport as well as massive infrastructural projects in all parts of the state.
Other milestones reached by Dr Lamido in Jigawa State include; payment of monthly salary as social security allowance to the aged and disabled persons in the state. The social security programme of the Lamido administration went round the entire state without leaving any part or person behind.
The Lamido administration in Jigawa State provided free maternal and child healthcare programme in the state.
As he marks his 69th birthday today, many say Dr. Sule Lamido would be the next person to be elected as president through the ballots in the coming 2019 presidential elections.