Sule Lamido, remember him? He is the voluble, you can say loquacious, former governor of Jigawa State who strikes a multiple-personality image in his public conducts. Sule Lamido shows off as a follower, or bag carrier for late Mallam Aminu Kano and late Alhaji Abubakar Rimi, two prominent and hugely popular politicians from the north whose Catholic followership draws from their close affinity to the commoners (Talakawas). Lamido valued his closeness to the duo and rode on the crest of that affinity to power. But a combination of power and circumstances proved that Lamido has no common attachment to the deceased duo but merely rode on their backs to power. Ever ready to talk, Lamido is always sanctimonious on national issues but his stewardship in Jigawa was a cesspit of corruption and primitive acquisition, which departs radically from the politics of both Aminu Kano and Abubakar Rimi.
Rather than join a populist party that professed and cared for the masses, in deference to his much vaunted Talakawa persuasion, Lamido was to join the rabidly reactionary PDP and was in league with its leaders in the series of notorious acts that eventually led to its fall in March 2015. Lamido loves to talk in his desire to pontificate on national issues, but he is hardly pinned to any uplifting and ennobling principle both in his talks and practice of politics. His politics, like the average PDP member, was buccaneerist and shorn of the concern for the poor masses he pretends to align with as he followed Aminu Kano and Rimi while they were alive. Most of Lamido’s actions were bereft of principle and the buccaneer he is, he fully subscribes to the Italian social scientist Nicholo Machiavelli’s political theory that the end justifies the means.
As the PDP floundered en route to the historical 2015 election, Lamido, joined forces with some PDP governors to form a splinter faction that protested the impunity and highhandedness that eventually rocked the PDP boat. But unlike his confederates in that protest, Lamido ensured that no one caught him firmly committed to the cause for which they formed the splinter group. The split personality in him was at full display as double-talk, equivocation and shifting of positions marked his commitment to that group. He ensured he was floating between the group and the main PDP faction that showed unquestionable allegiance to former president Jonathan ad his political career. So Lamido played both sides of the PDP divide. A bat and gecko rolled into one, you might say but that is Sule Lamido for you.
When the splinter group left PDP with five governors eventually left the PDP to join forces with the opposition to form the APC, Lamido with his Niger State counterpart, went back to their vomit and recanted all the criticisms they levied against the impunity in the PDP and subsumed themselves once more in the same leadership and conducts they had previously pilloried. What was ruling this volte-face was nothing more than selfish interests. Lamido, being the opportunist he is, like an average PDP member, felt more secured anchoring his nest in the PDP that had the keys to the country’s central bank and the enormous power of incumbency going to the 2015 election than banking with the tenuous coalition which the APC was then. The selfish man, which had ruled Lamido’s voyage in politics, was what was at play when he decided to retrace into the PDP. But God moves in a mysterious way as PDP sank with Lamido and all those that betted on the invincibility of an incumbent PDP.
My focus in this report however is not on the multi-faced politics and personality of Sule Lamido. I am rather focused on his recent outcry in an interview in a national paper that Nigerians see PDP members as demons which they loathe touching and that he is deeply worried about that. By the way, Lamido says he is contesting for the 2019 presidency, even as he is facing multiple corruption charges with his sons. So he should be concerned about the notorious perception his party draws from Nigerians today. He hopes to fly the PDP flag in that election so he should be rightly concerned about how Nigerians, the electorates, perceive his party. His fate in that contests rests on this perception so he should rightly feel concerned. Lamido, in the interview, said that this noxious perception presents a great challenge to him and other concerned leaders of the PDP as the 2019 election approaches. I wish him and his party men good luck in that enterprise. At least they are not behaving like their party chairman, Ahmed Markarfi who recently made a boast that the party that is floating on life support will win the presidency, all state governorship seats and all national assembly seats in the 2019 election. He is not reveling like Fayose or Fani Kayode who have made loud boasts that their rickety party, which today is a little fraction of the party that APC comprehensively trounced in the 2015 election, will capture power in 2019.
Lamido is being realistic in bemoaning the bad fate of his party and the notorious perception Nigerians hold of PDP members. He is not pretending or indulging in the self-flattery that still rule some of his party men like Markarfi, Fayose, Fani Kayode, Wike, etc. He is being frank and this is a credible route towards making a credible quest for power than indulging in a vacuous moonlighting as some of his fellow PDP members are doing.
But for him to make a credible impact in redressing the negative impression that is giving him and his fellow concerned PDP members some worries, Lamido must do well to locate where the rain starts beating him and his fellow PDP members. He must first admit that the negative impression Nigerians hold of PDP members majorly stems from the carnivorous leadership the party superintended for a whole 16 years. This noxious impression peaked in the last six years of PDP’s leadership of the country. He must admit that the deification of corruption which became the guiding philosophy of PDP’s corrosive governance of the country accounts for its terrible image amongst Nigerians today. He must admit the reckless impunity the party demonstrated while in power, the rank cluelessness and purblind mediocrity it laundered here are responsible for the horrible impression Nigerians hold of PDP and its members. He must locate these in the comprehensive defeat the PDP suffered in 2015 despite emptying the country’s treasury and employing so many deadly and desperate means to swing the election to its favor.
Then Sule Lamido, if he is serious of correcting the notorious impression Nigerians hold of PDP and its members, must locate the solidification of that bad notion to PDP’s post-election activities and behaviors which sees playing the opposition as indulging in repulsive fabrication, marketing and dissemination of abhorrent lies, hate, ethnic incitement and empty propaganda against the government of the day. He must locate the worsening perception of PDP and its members in the bitter, acrimonious and acutely frustrated activities of some of his party men like Fayose, Fani Kayode, Nyesom Wike, Reno Omokiri and others who are fixated on indulging in persistent vending of jeremiads and falsehood as opposition politics. Lamido must know that they more his fellow PDP members spew ill-digested venom as unflagging tactics against the government, the more Nigerians loathe them and mass around the present government. He should understand that PDP’s worsening perception is exacerbated by its annoying belief that trading in often childish lies and fabrications, sponsoring deliberate hoaxes to present President Buhari as a sectional leader are self-deprecatory antics that will not only conscript PDP and its fortunes but present its leaders and members as vindictive anarchists that want to set the house on fire just because PDP lost power.
So, if Lamido can identify where the shoe pinches his party, he will take up the charge of Ibrahim Mantu, a leading PDP member, that the party must apologize to Nigerians or its egregious failures in leadership. He can then seek a new image for his party as a repentant party that had realized its mistakes and are ready to turn a new leaf instead of a bitter, hate vending divisive, vengeance-seeking party that is ruled by a bitter passion to pull down the house as had been PDP’s vocation since it found itself in the cold in March 2015. The visage of Wike, Fayose, Fani Kayode, Omokiri, ranting angrily at every issue and seeking to manipulate every issue to present a sectional, religious coloration or fabricating and selling howling lies as political propaganda will only continue to worsen the present sorry state of PDP and if Sule Lamido is really concerned about the notorious perception of PDP members, he and his fellow concerned members of the prostrate party must work on these or continue to acquire more opprobrium from Nigerians who not only suffered the brunt[SU1] of PDP’s corrupt leadership nut continues to tolerate the efforts of its minions to rub more salt into our festering injury.
Peter Claver Oparah writes from Ikeja, Lagos. You can reach him at [email protected].