Nigeria: PDP Presidential Primary - Understanding Sule Lamido's Struggles, Criminal Prosecution

Atiku AbubakarVerified former Vice President of Nigeria and candidate in 2019 Presidential election.
5 October 2018

It is about 132 days to next year's presidential election. But it is less than 24 hours to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential primary, holding in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital. Owing largely to the failings or otherwise of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration, which happened by accident about four years ago, Nigerians are understandably looking the direction of the opposition PDP for rescue and succour.

Sadly, if the party fails at the convention, God forbid, Nigerians and the party would have to endure another pain and the bastardisation of the country's socio-economic and political lifestyle for again another tortuous four years.

Enmeshed in crisis of confidence

The fact that Lamido declared his desire to govern a country on a platform that was at the time enmeshed in crisis of confidence, when others members of the party were deserting it, shows his implicit faith in the PDP. When together with Sen. lorchia Ayu, Prof. Jerry Gana, late Chief Alex. Ekwueme, late Mallam Adamu Ciroma, late Chief Solomon Lar, late Chief Bola Ige, late Sen. Ella, and late Alhaji Abubakar Rimi, they confronted late Gen.Sani Abacha of blessed memory on the need to vacate the stage and allow democracy to flourish, Lamido, may perhaps never know a day like this will come. Himself and Rimi were picked and locked up in DSS cells, in Ilorin and Maiduguri respectively.

As governor, his works stand out! It is not possible for one to travel to Jigawa State today, without Lamido's exploits in the place catching one's attention. That was why he was referred as a good "Repairer," and that his type was needed to fix and restore Nigeria. It was to his administration's credit that President Muhammadu Buhari was saved the stress of having to travel by road or hopping on a chopper to Dutse from Kano, during the president's state visit recently. President Buhari landed on an airport built from the scratch by the Lamido's administration. He also built a full-fledged state university and an academy for the gifted, whose students have been making waves in WAEC and JAMB examinations.

Talk of politics of principle, apart from him and a few others during their time in the 80's, no politician has ever resigned his elective position in government after defecting to a party other than the one on whose platform one was first elected. Lamido, late Rimi and their group did it after defecting from PRP to the NPP.

Ironically, it is this same principle that is responsible for his criminal prosecution today. He was seen as a good material for 2015, but Lamido thinks otherwise. According to him, denying the then President, Goodluck Jonathan, a second term ticket was tantamount to passing a vote of no confidence in the president, insisting that no serious party does that. But those working for the government then were uncomfortable with him. That is why, each time he is asked about his case, he tells you it was a fallout of the 'civil war' within the PDP in the build up to the 2015 election. And that is the genesis of the EFCC case. Otherwise, how can a governor's son launder just 30, 000USD for the father? How can a governor's son travelling with his wife and daughter for the daughter's medical treatment be arrested for money laundering? I leave you to interrogate that.

Several investigations on contracts and finances of Jigawa were carried out with the sole aim of getting Lamido prosecuted, but they could not find any fault.

The APC government not caring that during the campaigns, Sule Lamido's factory in Kano was burnt down, took on him as its number one enemy using the purported investigation reports it inherited. But none of the charges alleged that Lamido and his sons took any money from Jigawa State coffers, none of the charges alleged Lamido gave his children contracts as government's publicity against him showed.

From the prison to the senate

We were all in this country when Senator Iyiola Omisore won his election from the prison to the senate. As I write, Senator Joshua Dariye, who though has been convicted, has filled his nomination form to run for the senate on the platform of the APC. He is able to do that because he is on appeal.

Talking about persecution, sorry prosecution? Lamido should take solace in the fact that he is not alone in this persecution and prosecution games currently going on. The list is long: Sen. Bukola Saraki, Dalhatu Bafarawa and Sen. David Mark, who shortly before he declared to run for the office of President, was a guest of the EFCC. Atiku Abubakar's several proactive court appea-rances made nonsense of all efforts to persecute him. Thank God, Lamido did not collect the campaign fund, for which some are standing trial till date. Regardless, no one on earth can change destiny.

By Mansur Ahmed , writes from Abuja.

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