Nigeria Needs Nationalist President to Build Trust, Says Lamido – THISDAY Newspapers
By Bennett Oghifo
Former Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido, has said Nigeria needs a nationalist as president in 2023 to heal the great division that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has caused.
“We desire a country where there is peace for every Nigerian. What will we do to restore common bond/trust among Nigerians?
Answering his rhetorical question, he stated that democracy was one of such ways, but added that democracy should be able to heal or solve the nation’s problems.
Lamido said even America, which is seen as the bastion of democracy in the world, is offended if other democracies do not align with their interest, stating that “they truncate democracy in other countries that are not in tune with their foreign policies. They did so in Nigeria in 1990, they did so in Palastine and in Egypt.”
He said, “Democracy should be able to address your needs. In Nigeria now, people talk about the right to vote, the right to aspire,” and that to enthrone trust and peace, we in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) shut out other zones from contesting for the presidency and we then allowed a particular zone which then agreed to give us the president. The PDP is a party of leaders and people who have the interest of the country at heart and believe in fairness and justice.”
He said they agreed to rotate the presidency to the South-west and “that alone made the impact, because the other two political parties, AD and APP, when they had their conventions, Olu Falae emerged as AD’s presidential candidate and Ogbonaya Onu as APP’s.
He said having seen the wisdom in what the PDP had done, Falae was picked to represent APP and dropped Onu.
However, in the PDP the focus was to identify a Yoruba Nigerian President,” and not a Yoruba president that would cater to the interest of his people, he said.
“Every time we say give us a president they will either give us Olu Falae, or Abraham Adesanya or Bola Ige and by their history, by their disposition and by their pronouncements they are not really seen as pan-Nigerian candidates. We said no, we will not accept.”
He said they then opted of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo because “we know Obasanjo who has a track history of being a pan-Nigerian; somebody who ruled Nigeria after the civil war and has been their for Nigeria “
During the election, he said Obasanjo promised to be there for all Nigerians and that was what we wanted, that is somebody who will be there for all Nigerians and not for a particular section of Nigeria.”
He said two years into Obasanjo’s administration in 1999, Nigeria was thoroughly healed, thoroughly reconciled and thoroughtly restored and our image and our role in the world. We were respected and we wielded tremendous influence and in Africa and in the world we became a leader for the black race.”
Lamido said all these gains were washed away when the Buhari admistration took over. “Now all these gains have been washed away because of the APC government. It has restored issue of division between a father and a son, between a brother and a brother,” stating that APC only has capacity for mischief, they have destroyed Nigeria.”
On the quality of person that should emerge as president in 2023, he said the question to ask is whether the nation was “fully healed that we now go for merit?” That is the question, because in 1999, there was a reason to sacrifice quality and go for something that will be able to assuage, percify and restore love. Now, after 20 years, are we fully reconciled?”
He said the nation could go for merit if Nigerians claim that have fully reconciled, stating that “after 20 years we should be able to go for quality but then you see the party in government has vilified everybody and has destroyed our common bond and we are back where we were in 1999; that is why this clamour for North and South, Christian and Moslem.”
Lamido said it is after full reconciliation that he would say the kind of person he wants to be president.