Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Former Governor of Jigwa State and a presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Sule Lamido, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of exhibiting so much hatred and pursuing vendetta against his political opponents.
Lamido who spoke at the 15th Daily Trust Dialogue session thursday in Abuja, mocked the former Lagos State Governor, Ahmed Tinubu, urging him to consider leaving the All Progressives Congress (APC) which he said has derailed.
The presidential aspirant who used the better part of his speech at the event to lambast the APC, described the President Buhari-led administration as lacking in vision and coordination in the way it runs the affairs of governance.
According to Lamido, the alleged ugly side of President Buhari manifested itself during the administration of late Umaru Musa Ya’Adua when Buhari scorned him and never attended any meeting of the National Council of States simply because he felt bad over his defeat at the 2007 election.
Lamido said the president repeated the same character of hate and unforgiving spirit after emerging as president by haunting down PDP members under the guise of fighting corruption.
“Buhari never attended any meeting of former Heads of State while Yar’Adua was president. But he was the first person to arrive at the meeting after Yar’Adua’s death,” he said.
He said APC won in 2015 by creating disaffection among families, adding that in Gusau, for instance, Buhari supporters went from house to house flogging PDP members for voting against him.
Lamido further berated the APC-led federal government for the shortcomings in governance which he said had led to rise in criminality, rampant killings of innocent citizens, kidnapping and fuel crisis.
He described APC as a coalition of desperadoes who are out to hoodwink Nigerians.
The former Jigawa State governor jokingly mocked Tinubu’s absence at the event, saying: “Tinubu’s car may have been stranded in Lagos hence his inability to attend the event.”
On the 2019 election, Lamido said the focus would be an X-ray of what APC was and what it has become and achieved after the last three years in office.
Lamido who got a standing ovation after his over half an hour speech, said the ruling party was fast turning everyone to a wailer but that hopefully in 2019, the wailing would be over as the PDP that knows how to handle government would come back to rescue Nigerians.
Lamido said he expects APC and President Buhari to have the honour to concede in 2019 when Nigerians will vote them out, the same way Goodluck Jonathan and PDP did in 2015.
“2019 is going to be a defining moment for the PDP. In 2019, there would be no political borders as many of those who are in the APC will likely find space in the PDP to contest the election.
“APC is telling us what government should do after three years in power. They should tell us what they failed to do. They call Nigerians wailing wailers for complaining. Thankfully, wailing will be over in 2019.
“Today, APC members have joined the wailing wailers. Buhari is wailing. His wife is wailing. Sagay is wailing, Akande is wailing, everybody is wailing,” he said
However, Lamido’s verbal attack attracted the attention of the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, who promptly rose from seat to the podium to respond.
Mustapha who had earlier delivered the president’s speech, came back to reply Lamido, stating that if what he heard was going to be Lamido’s campaign message for 2019, President Buhari would comfortably win his reelection.
In his speech, President Buhari said his administration would not condone any act that would undermine the peaceful and credible conduct of the 2019 election.
He expressed the need to sustain efforts at building confidence in the country’s democratic institutions, especially judiciary and INEC.
“I also call on politicians and political parties to pledge their commitment to peaceful democratic process by urging their supporters to respect the electoral process and refrain from violence. All aggrieved parties should seek redress through constitutional means and respect for the rules of law,“ he said
In his opening remarks, Chairman of the Daily Trust Media Limited Kabiru Yusuf, said 2018 will make it 20 years of existence of the newspaper, adding that the paper decided to start the yearly dialogue because “politics is too important to be left for politicians alone.”
On his part, the national chairman of a newly registered political party, National Rescue Movement, Senator Saidu Dansaldua, said the current challenges facing the country is beyond partisan politics.
According to him, what is needed is for all patriotic Nigerians to join hands to rescue the country from collapse and being allowed to go the way of Somalia.
He said it was by opening up to all shades of opinion and adopting an all-inclusive approach that government can be able solve the problem afflicting to the country.
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, Dansaldua asked the INEC and National Assembly to do something about the proliferation of parties suggesting that there should be a law that will make it possible for any party that failed to garner a certain number of votes after the election to be deregistered.
Chairman of the event, former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Bola Ajibola, speaking on the state of legal jurisprudence in Nigeria, canvassed an initiative to allow the Attorneys General in all the states to serve as judges of the election petition tribunals and to be move around to states other them their own to handle elections cases in the 2019 general election.
“The point I am about to make is to allow the Attorneys General and Commissioner for Justice in all the states to handle as judges the cases of election petition by moving them around the states come 2019 so that none will preside over matters in his own state and will definitely serve in another state either jointly with a panel or alone,”he said.
Another amendment that the legal luminary suggested is to have the aspect of the constitution which requires a person to be qualified to be appointed as the Attorney General of the Federation after attaining 10 years in legal practice replaced with a requirement that such a person would have attained the position of Senior Advocate of Nigeria. He said that he is convinced that these category of persons are competent to handle the job.
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mamood Yakubu, who was represented by the National Commissioner for Voter Education and Publicity, Deji Soyebi, assured Nigerians that only the ballot would determine who wins in next general election in 2019.
“Only votes will count and determine the winner of elections in the country nothing else,” he said.
He put the number of registered voters at the moment at about 74 million, adding that the number of political parties is most likely to hit 80 before the election takes off.
The Editor-in-Chief of Daily Trust, Kabiru said the event was used as thanksgiving ceremony for its 20th anniversary. He said the dose of its annual lecture is on politics because of the importance of its critical role in the development of the country.