24 December 2002

Nigeria: Sule Lamido Escapes Lynching

Kano — FOREIGN Affairs Minister, Alhaji Sule Lamido weekend narrowly escaped being lynched by thousands of People's Democratic Party (PDP) supporters in Dutse, Jigwa State for allegedly imposing a gubernatorial candidate on the party for next year's elections. The minister was widely speculated to have indicated interest in contesting the position but was compelled to back down after President Olusegun Obasanjo had purportedly kicked against the plan when a delegation of PDP leaders from Jigawa met with the president to pressurise him to release Lamido for the governorship seat.

Lamido's sin followed his unilateral declaration of a serving senator from Jigawa State Alhaji Mohammed Alkali as the governorship candidate of the PDP despising the report of a 15-member committee he had set up to screen aspirants for the PDP ticket to contest next year's election. But for the swift intervention of armed anti-riot policemen, the minister would have been seriously lynched by the protesting youths who were brandishing dangerous weapons to express their anger over his unilateral action which they claimed could further sink the fortunes of the party at the forthcoming elections.

It was learnt that the protesting party supporters were angry that the minister after constituting a 15 member committee to screen those aspiring to be governor turned back to single handedly nominate a candidate they argue may compromise the electoral fortunes of the PDP to the incumbent ANPP government. To corroborate the action of the protesting party men, chairman of the coalition of governorship aspirants in the state, Alhaji Ahmed Alghazali Hassan at a press briefing in Kano Sunday described Lamido's action as "Most unfortunate and deliberate to frustrate the PDP from forming government next year in Jigawa State."

According to Alhaji Hassan who was flanked by former national president of th Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and a governorship aspirant Alhaji Sani Zoro, Barrister Sani Gawin-Gabbas and one other aspirant remarked that 'the ministers action to draft the serving senator into this election smacks of dictatorship which we will not fold our arms to pass because this senator is not qualified to run for this seat." The aspirants hinted that they have already petitioned the national headquarters of the PDP to intervene and save the party from crises in the emerging scenario because as they put it, the 1999 scenario may repeat itself where the party was defaeted by the ANPP to form the government.

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