A highly detribalized Nigerian, Lamido is a rare gem in a naturally pluralistic country that has been deeply divided by the words and actions of political leaders and actors leading to mutual hate and suspicion by its peoples.
The country is in dire need of a leader who would not see or treat any ethnic group as superior to the other and give equal and equitable opportunities for all to thrive. With his antecedents, Lamido has proved that he is that kind of man who saunters far and above the petty attributes of ethnicity and cronyism.
When he created the State-owned university in 2013, Lamido appointed a non-indigene, Prof Abdullahi Yusufu Ribadu, as its first Vice Chancellor, contrary to wide expectations and what the usual practice in our clime is where a Vice Chancellor or an officer of such a highly exalted position must come from the governor’s locality or the locality of very powerful and highly connected individuals.
But in his own words, Lamido had said at that time, that only the best was good for the university irrespective of his/her state of origin. This is in addition to the fact that the State University was deliberately located in Kafin Hausa and not in the governor’s local government area of Birnin Kudu. This, according to the former governor was to allow for even spread of government presence among the different areas of the State.
Also, in the run up to the 2015 elections, while many leaders were swayed by ethnicity in their support for a presidential candidate, Lamido was among the very few who considered nationalistic rather than parochial factors in their choice of a presidential candidate. In fact, at a time when other PDP members saw Rotimi Amaechi, the former Rivers State governor who was also the DG of the then opposition APC presidential campaign as an outcast and bitter rival that must neither be spoken to nor touched, Lamido took it upon himself to visit Amaechi and spoke to him on why the bitter speeches that characterised the 2015 elections campaign must be toned down by all sides in the overall interest of the nation.
His nationalist approach to the country’s issues made some small minded people to accuse him of not supporting “their own” at the time. They wanted him to play politics of narrow-mindedness. But to such people, “The Bamaina Boy” had a wise answer. He said, “If Amaechi, a Southerner and a Christian is campaigning for Gen. Muhammadu Buhari of the APC; I do not see any wrong for me, a northerner and Muslim to campaign for President Jonathan.
“Leadership comes from God; and in his divine wisdom made people of northern and southern extraction to live in one land, our dear country, Nigeria.
“We are one and we should not allow some disgruntled elements using politics, religion and ethnicity to cause disaffection among our people”.
That was vintage Sule Lamido.
With our nation tethering at the precipice of explosion as a result of the acrimony and mutual hate among the peoples which have been induced and inflamed by our political leaders and actors, Nigeria desperately need a leader in the mould of Sule Lamido, who is a liberal democrat, whose knack and ability to revive a bleeding society has been proven over time, whose history of democratic heroics is flawless and whose desire for peace, love, security, justice, fairness and equity for all is well documented.
“In my 25 years of residing in Jigawa State, I never felt more at home in the state as a non-indigene more than during the 8-year reign of Lamido. The same can be said of people of my ethnic stock residing in the state,” an Igbo resident once wrote on one of his social media accounts.
While peace wafts from his enchanting smiles, his body language reeks of justice and his speech is soothing balm to all and sundry.
Another factor he has going for him is his loyalty. While some other high ranking party members have defected to the ruling party, and some of them have been heavily rewarded, Sule Lamido has remained true to his political beliefs and convictions. At the time other former governors and ministers were moving to the ruling party, Lamido was unmoved.
Having been a member of the PDP since it was formed in 1999, the former governor of Jigawa State has remained consistent, single-minded and gone through it all with the party, through thick and thin, despite pressure from his peers to jump ship with them. Such men who are so brave, focused and are not swayed by the pecuniary gains and lucre of government patronage are who the nation needs at this time especially going by his credentials as a confirmed detribalized leader.
As we approach another historic period of our great nation, it is obvious to all that what Nigeria needs at this critical point of our history is a healer, temperate and accommodating to all peoples and opinions. It is with such a leader that our redemption from austerity is guaranteed and our movement to prosperity is assured.
Nigeria cannot afford to repeat the mistake she made in 2015. Sule Lamido, ‘The Bamaina Boy’, is the answer to the myriad of challenges currently facing our country. Let Lamido step in and stop the bleeding!
By Jude Ndukwe