OBASANJO & SULE LAMIDO’S DOUBLE SPEAK
BY BILYA USMAN ABUBAKAR
The garrulous Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido was in the news again, this time he was quoted as saying that President Yar’adua is learning from former President Obasanjo’s mistakes. According to a Daily Trust new story on page 7, Thursday August 21 st, 2008, Governor Sule Lamido had accused former President Obasanjo of being “aggressive,” “non-conformist” and “lacking respect for constitutionality.”
Many readers must have been struck with disbelief that such utterances came from the mouth of Alhaji Sule Lamido who once treated former President Obasanjo with idolatrous devotion. So Obasanjo could make mistakes after all? How Sule Lamido came to this realization so suddenly remains curious to many perceptive observers, especially those attempting to understand the saviour complex theory created about Gen. Obasanjo by the Jigawa State Governor and other like-minded die-hards of the Ota farmer.
While former President Obasanjo was holding sway as Nigerian’s brutal civilian dictator, the Jigawa State Governor was one of the yes-men feeding his ego and attributing to Obasanjo virtues he never actually had. Discerning Nigerians knew that he did not hand over power to civilians in 1979 because he is inherently a democrat; instead he did so out of fear.
Sule Lamido and his fellow travelers on the train of sycophancy had repeatedly told Nigerians that the election of Gen. Obasanjo as civilian President was the greatest good to come to Nigeria, despite the fact that the country witnessed more insecurity, poverty, unemployment, hunger, epic corruption and the worst level of political intolerance.
To prove his stubborn and absolute loyalty to Obasanjo, Alhaji Lamido was even ready to sacrifice friendship of many years to please his new dictatorial master in Aso Rock. Forgetting his long political association with Alhaji Abubakar Rimi, he attacked the former Kano State PRP governor with such acerbity that many people were wondering whether Lamido was seized by some demon. Next on his firing line was former Vice President Atiku Abubakar whom he excoriated in the rudest language unbecoming of decent politics.
He particularly accused Atiku of being an ingrate because Obasanjo transformed the former Vice President from “nobody” into “somebody”. Lamido was so drunk at the bar of sycophancy that he forgot that power comes from God and not from “Superhuman” political master like Obasanjo. The friction between Atiku and Obasanjo then was on principle and the need to stick to the constitution. But Sule Lamido overlooked such issue and justified all the actions of Obasanjo against his former Deputy.
In fact, Lamido was not ready to hear even the mildest criticism of Obasanjo without jumping to his defence the next day or minute. Under Obasanjo’s rule, Nigerian politics lost its excitement because of the former President’s penchant for acquiring control by force rather than consensus. Like vermin in the cornfield of democracy, the former President destroyed the original positive public image of the PDP by crushing internal democracy and declaring a death sentence on the freedom of choice. Coercion replaced consensus and the restructured PDP, moulded in Obasanjo”s image, destroyed the democratic principles on which the original founding fathers conceived its formation.
As Obasanjo was systematically destroying internal democracy and imposing his will, Sule Lamido was never on record as ever criticizing the crude deviation from the principles on which the PDP was founded. Instead, they were clapping as the dictator was decapitating democracy! While Nigerians were groaning under harsh conditions of poverty, insecurity, hunger, despair and unemployment, Sule Lamido never once called on Obasanjo to put a human face on his policies. Cowardice is alien to any genuine PRP stalwart which Lamido claims to be.
If he honestly believed Obasanjo was making mistakes, why didn’t Sule Lamido speak up then and damn the consequences? And the fact that he didn’t do so means that he is morally timid. Gen. Buhari, Atiku Abubakar, Abubakar Rimi and several critics of former President Obasanjo were not spare by Lamido in his defence of his former master.
To the surprise of many Nigerians, Alhaji Sule Lamido is now singing a different tune, admitting for the first time that Obasanjo is not a saint after all. But then why was he defending the former President even against genuine criticisms? Was Lamido not defending Gen. Obasanjo despite all his perceptible foibles and questioning the patriotism and motives of those that disagreed with the former President? Harry Truman, the late American President, was used to advising those around him to tell him the truth even if it might cost them their jobs. But such principle never counted in Lamido’s mind as he was busy defending Obasanjo even as the former President was making obvious and costly mistakes.
Former President Obasnjo was a like naked emperor; everyone knew he was in his birthday suit but he was the only person who didn’t take notice. Obasanjo’s critics were like the innocent boy who told the king he was naked when every other person around was afraid to say so. Lamido busied himself telling the world that his emperor was clothed when the reverse was the case. Sule Lamido’s latest volt-face on Obasanjo has cut off a major strand of whatever remained of his credibility. He once vouched for Obasanjo’s incorruptibility and lack of greedy material ambitions. Lamido’s inconsistency and recantation of Aminu Kano’s principle for truth is disgusting enough to make the late PRP Leader turn in his grave.
BILYA USMAN ABUBAKAR
No. 15, Usman Nagogo Road, Funtua