By Segun Odeleye
The interview took place before last night’s meeting with Pres. Jonathan, but in a chat with Muh’d Zangina Kura of Leadership newspaper, the Jigawa governor, Sule Lamido, was critical and undiplomatic in his appraisal of the president.
At a point during the interview, the governor who recently described PDP chairman Bamanga Tukur as a virus, had this to say about the president’s leadership.
READ: “Your Action Amounted To Political Coup And Secession Against The President”: Tukur Responds To Lamido
“To us we are on a rescue mission, because what we are seeing today is a mad man inside petrol filling station with lighter in his hand, the threat he poses is very lethal and would not spare anyone,” he said.
He alleged during the interview that the arrest of his two sons was politically motivated.
“This arrest of my children on alleged corruption or stealing or whatever they call it, is nothing short of political miscalculation and an attempt to jolt me to change my political philosophy and succumb to the selfish interest of an ordinary human being as against the wish of my God and betterment of Nigeria.
“Let me inform my detractors, in the last 30 years of my political struggle, I was harassed, arrested persecuted by those who saw my struggle as a threat to their interest, but I endured and refused to cow down. So at my age now with all my past experience it is a big mistake for anybody to think of using any form of threat against my family, or my life or anything else to taunt me.
“I am not proud or conceited, but I can unequivocally say, in terms of good governance, justice, fairness, and judicious use of public funds; what we are doing in Jigawa state is exceptional in contemporary Nigeria. Many people including President Jonathan, past and present political and traditional leaders had testified to that.
“But today in what appeared to be a political knife, some body called Jonathan from Bayelsa state with another person called Lamorde and some police officers tried to tell the world that they love Jigawa people and also they are concerned and keen in protecting state treasury better than me. This is very ridiculous.”
The governor took it a step further by taking a swipe at Bayelsans, insinuating that the culture in the Niger Delta state permits stealing and corruption.
According to him, “It is true every people have their own culture and traditions and wherever they found themselves, they must exhibit it. It is known to the whole world how a United Kingdom court arrested and tried former Bayelsa Governor Mr Diepreye Alamiesiegha on stealing of his state money. After the court found him guilty, the people of the state came out in defence of their child by protesting against the court action, they said the money he stole was Bayelsa state money, therefore they have forgiven him, and also warned against any attempt to arrest him by any national or international institution, this accentuated how some people behave.
“So imagine somebody with this background, now has guts to come down to Jigawa state where we have the belie and culture in which every form of stealing is absolutely repugnant and punishable, claiming he came to help us in protecting and securing our money from thieves, you know from onset the man lacks moral value for such job.
“Besides, of all the 36 state governors in the country and the federal government, it is only Sule Lamido that EFCC found corrupt, who connived with his children and looted his state money,” he said.
In a further attempt to exonerate himself and his sons from wrongdoing, the governor said that even President Jonathan had testified in the past that there is judicious use of public funds in Jigawa state.
“During Jonathan’s visit to my state in which he commissioned various projects in the state, he said the Birnin Kudu local government secretariat which we built at the cost of N400million, if it were in his state such project would not cost less than N2 billion, also the new Dutse NYSC permanent orientation camp built at the cost of N800million would cost over N2billion. However when he commissioned the new state secretariat he called all Nigerians to come to Jigawa and learn the judicious use of peoples’ money;” he said.
It should also be pointed out that the governor himself paid similar glowing tributes to the president at those times as well, but now criticises him, a testament to how transient political relationships can be.
Gov. Lamido also talked about the politics of 2015.
He said: “On the issue of contesting for any seat I never ever said somebody should not contest, what I insisted is that, there is legal and moral way to get any seat, and anybody who wants to contest election must follow due process, must be transparent way with full obedience to party and Nigeria constitution.
“It is totally wrong and reprehensible for anybody to think of using police, judiciary or other illegal way to get power, we fought against such idea in the past and we would vehemently continue to oppose it.
“So, if fighting against injustice, breach of trust and flagrant abuse to the party and Nigerian constitution, and also preaching to adhere to the rule of law is corruption, I would continue to live on this.”
He claimed that he had been expecting this kind of reaction from Aso Rock ever since they “started this struggle against President Jonathan’s move to perpetuate himself in power through illegal ways.”
According to the governor, he told his fellow governors in the movement that, “this man at the corridor of power who is so blind on his selfish interest would use any avenue to fight back, including threat to our lives, power, political interest, wealth and even our family would not be spared in his move to crush us.
“But to us the struggle is not about party or personality, it is a struggle to save the peace and unity of Nigeria, by preaching and insisting to entrench justice, fairness, fair -play and rule of law in our democracy and leadership system. This is essential for the survival of this country as a single entity.”