WHY WE BLAME RIGGING WHEN WE LOSE, BUT NOT WHEN WE WIN, BY LAMIDO
JIGAWA State Governor Sule Lamido is worried about politicians who move in and out of parties without principles. He said such politicians were practicing politics without character, tradition, and vision. He spoke with newsmen in Dutse after picking his second term ticket. John Akubo was there. Excerpts:
HOW do you feel about the decamping of some of your party chieftains after they lost in the primaries?
Democracy has character, tradition and some norms; personal interests or aspirations cannot define it. Democracy should be collective, something that people share and believe in and by so doing, allow the system to produce whoever they think is best for it. But this idea of people losing in a primary election and denouncing the platform on which they had earlier sought to be elected, is selfish; it denotes the imputation of certain desires that are not of common good. My worry is that as a nation striving to entrench democracy, we must know that there are basic obligations and behavior, which we must observe so that we will be able to promote what we cherish.
The usual belief is that people have been edged out and denied what they call a level playing field. In a party, which has its own tradition, rules and regulations, it is the party members who decide what should be. It should not based on what individuals think, so I feel sad that somebody should denounce the platform on which he has served for one term and fail to show that sense of honor, the spirit of sportsmanship to accept defeat rather than start claiming that they have been rigged out. If losing election means you have been rigged out then it means you rigged someone out when you won earlier and served for four years.
And that is why I feel sad that they are leaving the party because they have no excuse. Prof. Jibril Aminu was the linkman of the PDP in Adamawa State; all the PDP materials were kept in his custody and he was registering those he wanted. It was clear that at that time he refused to register Alhaji Atiku Abubakar because he was in charge then and defining the rules. If he could call shots and now he could not get the position, I think it would have been honorable for him to accept it as part of his contribution to democracy. It is not always when you lose that things are wrong. He should have abided by the decision of the party, but some one like Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa would now say he is leaving the PDP. Meanwhile years earlier, they have been beneficiaries of PDP.
In a previous interview you said that President Goodluck Jonathan couldn't run unless the zoning issue is vacated. What informed your change of view on that position?
When I held that view, I made it clear that the debate was purely a PDP affair and I said that no matter the odds, Jonathan would still win because it should be easy for the members of the PDP family to sort this out. And many people may not believe it but when we go to the national convention and he is elected, then that aspect is removed from him because the convention is the sole authority in his emergence. So whatever it is, it is PDP family affair, and we have a way to make what is illegitimate legitimate and legal; it is our own problem. We have people who are very responsible who believe in Nigeria's stability and we will not fail Nigeria despite what might have been the aberration or lack of compliance on the part of Jonathan. The convention commands the authority of the party and is superior to the party's constitution.
You don't possibly anticipate an implosion as a result of this family affair?
Look there is no human organisation that has no crisis, but you must have the capacity to contain crises to give you results. The PDP is a party that has Nigerian leaders at all levels, and they believe in the maintenance of peace and stability. No matter our internal differences, we will not fail Nigeria and when the chips are down, we will vote for the nation's unity and stability. Other parties are not faring better. If any other party is saddled with one per cent of the crises in the PDP, the party will disintegrate. So whatever anybody may say the PDP is the only party with the capacity to lead Nigeria; it has the followership, the commitment for national stability and it believes in Nigeria. It is not a one-man gang; in PDP you can pick anybody to be the candidate but if you pick one member from any other party and lock in somewhere that party will simply disintegrate or you put him there for three days the party is finished. So in our effort to evolve a political culture in Nigeria, democracy must be sustained by its own traditions and character because there are some things you cannot do and the idea of leaders who are so honored by their parties and by Nigerians to begin to behave like senseless people is unacceptable because it is our right to demand the right behavior. It is the right of Nigerians to demand that people who have been so honored by their party and Nigerians must behave correctly.
Were you surprised that your predecessor joined the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN)?
Senator Turaki Saminu was in the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) before he joined the PDP, so he can be as nomadic or as itinerant as he wants. I have no problem with that. He is free to go to any party; he is exercising his freedom of choice. We are not a government of blackmail.
There are speculations that the state government will refresh the charges of financial mismanagement against him…
No one should drag the government into that. I don't believe because a person has done what he feels is all right by him therefore the government should use other sources to harass or intimidate him out of vendetta.
In any election year, the security situation in the country has become worrisome with bomb blasts and bomb scares…
The crisis today in Nigeria is a very dangerous signal and all of us should be worried. And this is why we should unite to save Nigeria, because it is not the issue of politics or apportioning of blames to anybody. It is a very serious national phenomenon that must be tackled for us to have the Nigeria of our dreams. And for Nigeria to achieve its vision 20: 2020 we have to do away with the ugly trend and put in place effective national security. It is our collective responsibility; all of us must unite on this issue.