The Jigawa state governor, Sule Lamido, has without doubt done a lot to transform the lives of the people of the state for the better since he assumed office. Any observer of the Jigawa landscape would surely not fail to notice infrastructural improvements in the areas of roads, education and health care that have impacted positively on the state. By so doing, he has proved his credentials as an advocate of the talakawa who is committed to improving their lot just like his political mentor, the late Mallam Aminu Kano.
When he leaves office, Governor Lamido will also be leaving another legacy which is his great love for the party that launched him to power; the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). That explains why he was at the forefront of the fight to reform the party along with other governors and the subsequent formation of the nPDP. It certainly was the pressure that they brought to bear that consumed the former party chairman, Bamanga Tukur and saw to the emergence of his successor, Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu, who is making efforts to reposition the party ahead of the coming general elections.
The governor, of course, has had to contend with the wrath of the federal government for his forthrightness and penchant to call it as it is. On a number of occasions his sons were arrested by the EFCC on alleged money laundering charges just as members of his cabinet were harassed by the financial crimes body over corruption allegations. The belief among many was that all these were attempts to silence him. His stinging criticisms many a times leave the Jonathan led government red faced.
Despite all these laudable efforts, we find very shocking his recent pronouncement to the effect that his successor as Jigawa state governor will be known by August. The governor who made the bold declaration while swearing in 25 new local government council chairmen and their deputies declared that: “The next governor would be better than me in terms of developmental projects in the state”. According to him, “the next governor of this state would be known by August and we would make sure he would be the popular choice of all and accepted by the majority who should be more than me in terms of developmental performance in the state, we made a 35-year developmental plan which would make the state a reference point in all developmental matters in the country”.
While we understand the governor’s apprehension over the need to have a successor who will not only sustain his good work but also improve on them, we fear that going by his declaration, the process of such a person’s emergence may deny others the opportunity to have a shot at the seat in line with democratic tenets even if they will not eventually win. In any case, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed in its time table that governorship election would hold in February 2015 after which the governor of Jigawa and those of other states would be known.
Lamido’s statement can be safely interpreted to mean that his successor will be from his party, the PDP. We are of the view that it is best the governor allows the people of Jigawa to choose who they deem fit to govern them; if it happens to be Lamido’s anointed then so be it. We recall that in neighbouring Kano in 2011, the incumbent governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, failed in his attempt to install a successor as the people of Kano state chose the current governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso. In any case, the governor can install a successor like many have done but there is no guarantee that such a person will do as he wishes. Examples of such are replete in the polity. Much as we commend Lamido for his achievements, we fear that such statements do not portray him as the democrat we believe he is.