Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State
By Yemi Adebowale
Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State has expressed surprise about speculations that he was nursing an ambition to contest the 2015 presidential election allegedly in a joint ticket with Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State.
Presidential campaign posters of the Jigawa governor and that of Amaechi cropped up on some vehicles in some states few weeks ago, but Lamido in an exclusive interview with THISDAY on Monday in Dutse denied knowledge of the posters saying, "I have never seen them, so I don’t know who is behind them. I have no idea who is doing it.
"People are being very cynical, people are being very mischievous. When I am asked this question, I take my time to answer it. You know, I don’t play into the hands of those cynics in terms of what they think I am. I have never seen those vehicles in my life."
Lamido said if he was interested in the 2015 presidency, he would go about it decently: "I think it is a bit indecent, by my culture you don’t say I want this. I come from a political party called PDP which has rules and regulations, which has structures and which is created for the Nigerian people to be able to lead Nigerians and therefore it is the PDP itself which will give us a candidate whether Mr. A or B or C.
"Nobody who has been there, knew that he would be there, including Obasanjo. So, you don’t come out and say you want to be Nigerian President because in PDP we abhor that kind of thing because the party was not formed for you. The party was formed for Nigerians and Nigeria’s interest and therefore what we do is: what do we give Nigeria? It is for the party to say."
Asked what his reaction would be if called upon by the PDP leadership to run in 2015, the governor said: "PDP as a political party in this country was formed with a clear mission. It was not formed for any person. So, stop making this issue of presidency personal. It is not a personal thing. The PDP is a party with a system that produces leaders.
"You see, as a political party, there is culture and tradition of how to do things. Late Umar Musa Yar’Adua never came out; Jonathan never came out and Obasanjo didn’t come out. Because it is a huge party which looks at Nigeria as a country with various cultures and therefore work on a kind of consensus. We talk of ‘what do we give Nigeria first, not what do we give you as an individual.’ We are not giving you, we are giving Nigerians. We have this law of working out a consensus on who is occupying it, Mr. A or B. And by the time it is done, everybody agrees."
Asked if he had suffered any form of repression based on the feelings that he has a presidential ambition, he said: "I am simply irrepressible, nobody can repress me, nobody. Feel free to attempt, to either cow me or blackmail me or harass me, that is your problem. That one na you sabi. I fear no foe in my life. I fear nobody."
The governor has this message for Nigerians still hoping that he would join the 2015 presidential race: "I am flattered. We are 160 million Nigerians and they are talking about me; oh it is flattering."
The Jigawa governor was also not happy about insinuations that the Governors’ Forum had become too powerful, describing the allegation as very sad. "What do you mean they are too powerful? You want us to be weak? If we were weak, would we be able to produce Jonathan? Didn’t we produce him?
"We assembled at the Eagles Square, didn’t we? We assembled there at Eagles square for a single declaration; it was the governors. Now if we are weak, will people believe in us? When it came to the primaries, they were all there but the governors said vote Mr. A and they voted."