By Adamu Muhd Usman
He spoke for no more than two minutes. Yet, the message that Jigawa State Governor Alhaji Sule Lamido delivered at the North West Zonal Rally of the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] in Kaduna last Tuesday, March 11 was far more important than its short length suggested. Some of the world’s greatest speeches were also among the shortest on record. Sule Lamido was the first governor who was invited to the podium to deliver a goodwill message. Appropriately, because everyone around acknowledged that he is a party Founding Father, one of the original Stoics that defied the brutal military dictatorship and formed a patriotic group of committed democrats that later formed the nucleus of PDP.
In the past year, a lot of water passed under the PDP bridge. It went through a crisis such as it had never experienced in its nearly 15 years of existence. It culminated in the defection of 5 governors and several other important politicians from the party, though PDP also gained important players as a consequence of the 5 governors’ defection to APC. Alhaji Sule Lamido was an important player in those events. In fact, he has been an important player in the party’s affairs from the day it was founded, so what he has to say always attracts attention from those genuinely interested in seeing that the party forges ahead.
He spoke about three things only. That there should be total reconciliation in PDP; that there should be unity of purpose within the party, and also that party members should learn to accommodate 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. Under its new leadership led by Dr. Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu and with the formal defection of nPDP members, PDP has outwardly achieved peace and reconciliation. We thank God for that, but Governor Lamido is a man who knows that the process of uprooting and remedying the ills that led to the crises in the first place has only just begun. It is important to continue this process rigorously and not to just beat the drums of victory. Where others saw the sweet smell of peace roses, Lamido smelt the sweat of hard work that lies ahead.
Lamido’s message about unity of purpose should also attract more than a passing interest from the party’s leaders and members. This great stalwart of the old PRP knows what a party with a unity of purpose looks like. Intense camaraderie, feverish party activity, sharp political focus and rigorous internal democracy are some of the elements that this PRP old timer must be thinking about when he uttered those words of wisdom at the PDP zonal rally.
Then there was his message of party members accommodating one another. A political party is built to last for many generations. It has its ideology, its structures and its internal control mechanisms; otherwise it is open to every citizen. It is a great assembly of different viewpoints, personal styles and aspirations, and its strength lies in every party member accommodating all other party members no matter their differences in background, political history and personal aspiration. Those were three very important elements that some people could easily overlook amidst the dance and gaiety that was the PDP zonal rally in Kaduna. But one man never removed his eyes from the ball. Therein lays the wisdom in Alhaji Sule Lamido’s two minute speech in Kaduna.
Adamu Muhd Usman is Special Adviser to Jigawa State governor on Media