Opinion by Kabir Musa Ringim
Since the return of democracy in Nigeria in 1999, Jigawa state was governed by three governors namely Sule Lamido, Ibrahim Saminu Turaki and the incumbent, Muhammad Badaru Abubakar. They all did their best to change the face of once castigated state that used to come last in all human capital developmental indices. But Sule Lamido stands tall among them and mark his name as ‘the Father of Modern Jigawa’.
Lamido’s eight-year reign oversaw what many described as aggressive transformation in human, economic and infrastructural development. He changes the face of Jigawa from the poorest, least attractive and least known state to one of the most attractive states where humans live a decent life. To use his own words, Lamido described Jigawa, under his leadership, as a state with new human species where things are done differently.
Lamido’s administration from 2007 to 2015 transforms every sector, ranging from education, agriculture, infrastructure, economy, etc. The administration was ranked as one of the best, if not the best, ever seen in any state in Nigeria since 1999.
In 2015, when the All Progressives Congress (APC) overtook power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the federal level down to every elective position in Jigawa, Lamido and his men were left in ruins, crying over their downfall. The worst of it was the defeat of Aminu Ibrahim Ringim, the PDP’s and Lamido’s gubernatorial candidate in the election and the emergence of Muhammad Badaru Abubakar of the APC as the governor to lead the affairs of the state.
In 2019, as the incumbent, Badaru Abubakar, sought re-election and Aminu Ringim reemerged as PDP and Lamido’s gubernatorial candidate to wrestle power from the APC led administration. After the elections, Aminu Ringim lost again and things started to get rough between him and Lamido. Blames were traded between the two camps, allegations become severe, the once amicable relationship got frosty. In the end, there was no love lost between the two.
As 2023 elections draws nearer, Aminu Ringim and his supporters have decamped to the new and fast-growing party, New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP). This has left the main opposition party, the PDP, under Lamido incapacitated as several supporters have followed Aminu Ringim to NNPP.
One of the allegations made by Aminu Ringim’s camp before they decamped to NNPP was that Lamido plans to impose his son, Mustapha Sule Lamido, as the gubernatorial candidate. They claimed that Lamido never really wanted Aminu Ringim to govern Jigawa. According to them, Lamido deliberately scuttled Aminu Ringim’s ambitions to prepare for his son’s candidature at the end of Badaru Abubakar’s tenure in 2023.
As the saying goes, whatever is covered up will be brought to light, Aminu Ringim left PDP for NNPP and Mustapha Sule Lamido bought nomination and expression of interest forms to contest for 2023 gubernatorial elections under PDP. Even though the prospects of PDP in Jigawa dwindles by the departure of Aminu Ringim and the strength of the ruling APC, the atmosphere of Jigawa politics is heated up by Lamido’s ambition. People felt insulted, maligned and downgraded by the Lamido’s family.
Moreover, Mustapha Lamido is an inexperienced man with no single record of public service or political experience. He knows close to nothing about the state he is aspiring to lead and people accuse him of having no human relations and lack respect for the elders, especially the poor. It is a well-known fact that he is just a spoilt kid who got extremely rich when his father was the governor. He has never held any administrative position in local, state or federal governments. Neither has he ever held any position in any political party. His only political experience is that he contested for Senate in 2019 and lost.
In another twist, just recently, former Jigawa state governor, Ibrahim Saminu Turaki joined forces with Lamidos to revive his diminishing political enterprises. The trio were spotted recently at a political gathering and it was gathered that Turaki is eyeing a return to the Red Chamber. Whatever the calculation, Mustapha Lamido’s gubernatorial candidacy will not be sold to Jigawa populace, Turaki is already past his glorious days, as Jigawa people see him as a drowning man trying to get his relevance back. His addition into Lamido’s camp will never convince average person in Jigawa to rally behind, support or vote for Mustapha Lamido as the next governor.
The worst of it all for Lamidos is that the Jigawa people consider their (Lamido’s) dynasty as another face of modern-day slavery. They are condemning Sule Lamido’s moral decadence, from being the champion for the emancipation of the poor and downtrodden under the tutelage of late Mallam Aminu Kano, to a dictator trying to impose monarchy in democracy by making his son a governor. Perhaps, after Mustapha’s reign, Lamido will chose another son to succeed him and the cycle will continue with Jigawa people under permanent leadership of Lamido’s family.
But the burden is on the shoulder of all the Jigawa people. The state is not under monarchy or dictatorship; we’re under democracy and leaders will emerge through our votes. We should fight for our rights and freedom of our children, remain true to ourselves and take better actions that will bring about the better tomorrow for the next generation. We will fight this imposition and keep Jigawa under true democracy where a son of nobody can be somebody. We will neither relent nor surrender because no one else can mislead us and trump upon our liberation. Our choice is perfectly clear: we can’t allow monarchy in our democracy. We have several competent people with good character and track record of public service coupled with experience and exposure, capable of leading our state to greater heights.
Kabir Musa Ringim wrote from Hadejia, Jigawa State.