In a democratic country like Nigeria, opposition counts because democratic systems function with checks and balances. They also rely on transparency, accountability and responsibility. Opposition parties are inseparable components of parliaments and they also function according to the rules of the game, reassuring the application of those checks and balances with their contribution to government policies and constructive criticism. Democracies become complete with opposition.
Since 1999 when Nigeria returned to democratic rule, the goal line has been to run the country in an atmosphere of efficient reform, sound economic policies and good governance after many years of military rule. But that goal had virtually remained a moving target before the Buhari administration came to make the difference.
While smart opposition parties in other climes would take advantage of the sloppiness of the government in power to quickly rebrand itself, restrategize on a pragmatic way to win back the confidence of the people, and even go all out to attract intelligent leaders who can bring new ideas and direction to their political organisations, opposition parties in Nigeria are yet to convince Nigerians they can be trusted
Some are of the belief that lack of vibrant political opposition and scarcity of seasoned dependable politicians are responsible for the nation’s diminutive growth, while others believe that absence of development plan was responsible for that.
But is that the end of the road for the country? A close look at the political life, leadership style and experience of former governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido would no doubt keep hope alive. This is the kind of man the opposition should throw up to advance their aspiration to return to power. He is a nationalist and visionary leader who believes in one Nigeria irrespective of tribe, religion, ethnicity and region as well as a complete democrat who works for the interest of his people. His presidential ambition is to restructure our economy.
From Lamido’s exemplary leadership is also brought into the fore that leaders that had a taste of poverty always feel the pains of the masses. Their impoverished background is always a propelling factor for their resolve to uplift the downturn in the society. He remains a vanguard of nationalistic politics and he is among the few in the forefront of politics of detribalization in Nigeria.
As a leader, he has a large heart and tremendous humanism. That perhaps explains his views on why people whose education were paid with tax payers’ money should not personalize their achievements but should rather channel their successes to community development. As governor he transformed Jigawa State, which was once regarded as a rural state and was considered too backward among its peers, into a more acceptable place for everyone, with power, transport, waste management, and public service sectors, among key areas of priority.
Lamido’s approach to issues made him to weather the storm by bringing fresh new ideas that are ambitious in nature and his style of administration convinced everyone that that Jigawa State must transform from its state of hopelessness to its present level. He can equally bring hope to Nigeria and move the nation forward. His record of performance as governor and minister of foreign affairs no doubt stand out for him. He has convinced all that progress is quite possible, no matter the challenges.
Politically, Lamido was to Jigawa State what late Malam Aminu Kano was to the common man. In governance, he has remained an exemplary leader that has built a healthy and dynamic culture in the state’s administration. In politics, he has remained one of the leading and shining politicians in the country. While Lamido moved up the ladder of public service, he had consistently lifted up indigent students, provided cheap public health care to rural populace, a development that earned him the enduring loyalty of poor rural people and youth, who were not used to deriving much benefit from electoral politics. In fact, for his political maturity, impeccable records of performance and patriotism, Lamido was under pressure to salvage the country in 2019, which he can do in an extraordinary way.
When he was Jigawa State governor, he won the people’s interpretation of what governance is all about and ernee their confidence as well, a feat he could replicate in the country as a whole if the opposition gives him that chance.
As a smart, prepared and a serious politician, Lamido cannot just fade away quietly but would rather work for the nation and rescue the people who have been left out and left behind, in order for them to enjoy broader prosperity in return of their political obedience. The fact that, Sule Lamido has emerged as Jigawa State Governor after the rough times of Governor Saminu Turaki and was able to put behind the rough times and brought out the “Jigawa Dreams” into limelight cleared him as a decent and capable leader.
Lamido’s achievements, his virtues, qualities and vibrancy has made him one of the leading political figures in the country who can change rejected stones to a cornerstone and also look at local issues from global perspective. In learning from his experience and accomplishments which can be replicated in the country, Lamido’s programmes of investment in youths through vocational training and nurturing of their intellectual capital, with strong funding to further their education would be a key to unlocking Nigeria’s challenges. These are legacies that are hard to erase, as well as pointers towards making Nigeria Project a reality.
His presidential ambition was not out of desperation for power, but for genuine service to the people of Nigeria. His decision to contest for the number one seat in the country was out of commitment to fix the country and reposition it for greatness.
Lamido is one of the most consistent politicians, the country ever had. Unlike some politicians who keep changing parties like they change their dresses, Lamido has never changed his root. During the second republic politics in 1979, he was known and identified with PRP and from 1999 to date, he has been with the PDP. Apart from bringing infrastructural development, when he was Jigawa State governor, people, particularly the indigents would eternally remember him for, his educational policies and healthcare programmes. His leadership style, good governance, political accountability and honest management of the state’s scarce resources have indeed put him at par with his predecessors.
Ibrahim is national chairman, Northern Alternative Forum