By Adamu Muhd Usman
“I have a history to protect, a reputation to promote, a heritage to maintain and an attitude to exhibit, failure is not part of us.”
—Sule Lamido on BOBA symposium lecture in Dutse Aug 3oth, 2014
In many parts of Nigeria, those described as “settlers” live in fear for their lives, their property and their citizenship rights. Alhaji (Dr.) Sule Lamido, former Jigawa state governor believes in national unity as a matter of political and ideological principle. He said on many occasions that peaceful co-existence, mutual understanding, political stability and unity of purpose are necessary ingredients for the rapid progress of any state and of Nigeria as a whole.
His stand will not be faraway from the experiences and posts he held. former national youth leader, a former law maker, former state party secretary and state party chairman. He was one time a national party secretary (SDP). Lamido was a former foreign affairs Minister, former state governor and 2019 PDP presidential aspirant
In many parts of this country, except in Jigawa State where Sule Lamido served as the governor of the state for eight years went out of his way to assure non-indigenes living in the state of their equal status as Nigerian citizens.
He told non-indigenes living in the state when he was the governor of Jigawa that their rights as Nigerian citizens would be protected as a matter of right and not as a special privilege (nepotism).
Nigerians, he said, are free to live wherever they chose and their rights are guaranteed by the constitution. While this right is sometimes abridged by authorities in some parts of the country using various forms of subterfuge, in Jigawa State it is guaranteed in theory and in practice.
Lamido spoke about the incident when non-indigenes were asked to leave the state or forced to register in some states. He said those asking Nigerians to leave or register in their own country were sending a wrong signal that was not healthy for the unity of the Nigeria.
Lamido said, a leader must understand that leadership is about understanding the people who are being governed with a view and commitment of protecting their dignity, lives and properties irrespective of their religious or ethnic background.
He said in order to promote peace and unity in this country; every Nigerian must have freedom of movement and to live anywhere he chooses without intimidation, victimization, humiliation or deprivation. He also emphasises that, everyone must be law abiding citizen.
Lamido more than preached mutual coexistence; he felt the non-indigenous people need to feel at home. When he was the governor of Jigawa, he allocated plots of lands with cash donation to all non-indigenous groups living in the state capital, Dutse. Non-indigenes are having the opportunity and access like the state indigenes of free medical care, scholarship for their children, political appointments, employment and what have you. Since 2007 there was no time you hear about an incident when non-indigenes in Jigawa state were asked, threaten or attempted to leave Jigawa simply because of intimidation, riot, or fear of unknown etc up till now because Lamido has led a foundation.
Even communal or farmers/herdsmen clashes was not experienced in Jigawa when Lamido was in charge of the affairs of the state.
During the occasion of plots allocation in Dutse when Lamido was the governor, the representative of the non-indigenous groups responded with encouraging words of his own, thanking the governor for transforming the state in the eight years of his administration (2007-2015)
He said that indigenes and non-indigenes live in peace in Jigawa State and he assured that this will be sustained.
Lamido has given sense of belonging to all the Jigawa people; he has also open doors for all Nigerians to come, visit, interact, transact, work and live freely without fear of threats and dispossession. In Jigawa, you will see the Igbos, Yorubas, Angas, the Ijaws, Kanuris, Idomas, Tivs, Jarawas, the Nupes and the Jukun etc. This is a clear sign of selflessness, nationality and good leadership shown by Lamido and is a confirmation that, there is peace and unity in the state. Security, peaceful co-existence, equality, welfare and good salary packages made and attract Nigerians to resign from their various states to come and seek for employment in Jigawa state.
Jigawa State under Lamido has become a rallying point for all Nigerians, in fact day- after- day, all sort of people are trouping in the state either for visits, meetings, Business, or even leisure.
For instance during Lamido’s tenure many groups, associations, forums, organisations visit Jigawa state for one reason or the other. Even the premier Barewa Old Boys Association (BOBA) was in Dutse, the Jigawa state capital from August 29- 31, 2014 for their 2014 Annual lecture and Dinner.
Though Lamido is alumnus of the collage, however, the choice of the Jigawa State for that year’s AGM by executive was to satisfy their curiosity on the success recorded by one of their own. All, left the state testified that the face of Jigawa State has been transformed in the seven years by Lamido.
Throughout the meeting, the members were seen gaping with surprises that despite the lean resources of Jigawa state, Lamido was able to bring development to all sectors and the overall impact has been profound and felt the people.
They commend him greatly for his dynamic administration in which he established schools and hospitals, Jigawa state radio and television station, constructed roads, state secretariat, Malam Aminu triangle event centre and water schemes etc.
BOBA believes that, economic activities have received a huge boost and the foundations have been laid for rapid industrialisation. They saw a first class airport built by Lamido to facilitate the easy movement of goods and services and to facilitate the coming of investors who are set to cash in on Jigawa State’s rich potentials on agriculture and minerals.
The association extolled Lamido for establishing Jigawa State University at Kafin-Hausa in order to afford state indigenes more access to higher education opportunities. Half of eligible candidates of Jigawa origin who seek admission into higher institutions fail to get it due to lack of opportunities, hence the very warm welcome with which Jigawa citizens received the establishment of the state university which was named after him, ‘Sule Lamido University’ Kafin-Hausa (SLU)
Lamido always pray for peaceful conduct of any elections in the country and urge Nigerians to live in peace and love one another.
Some might say that these issues that he raised are self evident but they bear reiteration and emphasis from a man who saw it all due to present happenings in the country. Lamido’s message about unity of purpose should also attract more than a passing interest from Nigerian citizens. This great stalwart of the old PRP and one of the PDP founding fathers knows what democracy and citizenship with a unity of purpose look like.
Adamu writes from Kafin-Hausa, Jigawa state