Ahead of the forthcoming general elections, history seems to be in the making as 35-year old Mustapha Sule Lamido Jr., mobilises youths to change the political old order in Jigawa State. Mustapha, who is elder son of the immediate past governor of the state, Alhaji Sule Lamido, Jagoran Talakawa (defender of the poor), is Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidate for Jigawa Central Senatorial District.
Perhaps on account of the strength of the demographic strenght of the party’s candidate, an unprecedented crowd attended PDP Jigawa State campaign flag-off rally last Thursday, where flags were handed to all candidates for the February 16 and March 2, 2019 elections.
It was the icing on the cake for the political achievements and leadership acumen of the former governor when his son’s candidature became the cynosure of all party men and women.
Lamido senior had exhibited uncommon statesmanship when, at the tail end of his tenure as governor, he scorned all entreaties to retire to the Senate like his fellow ex-governors do.
Why should I become a Senator after serving as a governor? Should I divide myself into three?í was his legendary declaration that sealed pressures on him to seek a seat in the Senate. That pressure was, however, shifted to his son, whose charity and camaraderie among his peers, found occasion in the Not Too Young to Run law.
Against that background, Lamido Jr has proudly been proclaiming that his ambition is about his own political carrier not his father’s.
The overwhelming display of support and massive crowd at the rally was much like a note of warning from his enthusiastic supporters that with Mustapha they were taking over.
Also, it was a statement of endorsement and payback time for the PDP family in Jigawa in recognition of Lamido’s refusal to abandon the party and defect like his former group of seven governors.
In his remarks at the rally, Lamido, who participated in the PDP presidential primary in Port Harcourt, told the crowd that it would amount to degrading the occasion to build the rally around his son instead of the party’s candidates for the coming election.
The spirit of participation and allure of victory seems to energize Jigawa youths who see Lamido Jnr as the first fruit of other auspicious developments in the polity.
When The Guardian moved round the Jigawa Central Senatorial, it learn of the wider acceptability of Lamido Jr stemming from the reality that youths have taken his ambition as their personal project.
Mustapha’s handbills, posters and billboards dominate every available space along the high way and on the walls of private residential buildings.
In an interview, the PDP Senatorial candidate could not hold back his excitement, explaining that what happened at the rally was an indication that nothing would stand on the way of youths, saying that the expected victory would be historic in Jigawa State.
Stressing that all that matters to him is service to humanity, he gave God all the glory for making his candidacy possible, adding that the failure of the ruling party contributed to the quest for a review of the political situation in Jigawa State.
He said: ìFor the past three and half years till now that election is due, APC is yet to show what they have done for the people of Jigawa State other than hunger and deprivation.
“If you go into retrospect, during the eight years administration of PDP, the party had a strong manifesto, that showcased what was democracy, a manifesto that took into account the unity of our country and also effected a very good leadership that ensured the standard of living of the people was priority.
“Since the advent of democracy in 1999, the country has a two page history, which was PDP’s 16 years leadership and APC’s leadership for three and half years. So as the saying goes, when a man has a second wife he would know which one is better.”
He said Nigerians now know better and are yearning for PDP to come back, adding that having realised their mistakes for voting a party that does not have concern for the common man, the people want to make amend.
While insisting that those concerns prompted unprecedented massive turn out of the electorate to the PDP flag-off rally, Mustapha noted that the gathering did not consist of PDP members only, but Jigawa people who are not even talking about party, but what will save them from the stranglehold of the clueless APC government.
“Our people have suffered so much hunger in the past three years and seven months that they can no longer afford three square meals a day.
The hunger has caught up with the majority and the people are now united by hunger and poverty.†The greatest crime in any nation against humanity is hunger. People have realised in Jigawa State that they have to return PDP to power.”
On the youth momentum building around his candidature, Mustpha Jr. disclosed that since more than 50 per cent of the world’s population is dominated by the youths, the same applies to Nigeria as the youth constitute 70 to 75 per cent of its population.
He regretted that the APC administration did not give youth opportunity to participate in decision making, adding: “The administration has neglected the youth that brought them to power in 2015.
When they won election in 2015, they had nothing apart from the youths. They gave them the mandate by voting massively for them and they protected their votes and ensured the votes counted.†
“The neglect of the youth in Jigawa particularly is something of serious concern; I have come in contact with them.
If you listen to their lamentation and what has befallen them you will be taken aback to wonder what future is there for the youth?†You don’t see their own future, so my foray into this contest is not my affair alone but for the entire youths of Jigawa State and not just those in Jigawa Central Senatorial district alone if I am elected.”
He said most of the youths have taken his candidature as their personal projects, adding, ”They see my reflection in them and I see theirs in me.
As a young person I know the problem with our age bracket. I know the crises they are being confronted with daily.†Again coming from the same generation with them they see a ray of hope in my candidature.
Besides in the country at large, we have not been able to secure the future of the youths.
On the apprehension over the issue of free and fair election going by what happened in some by-elections and other elections in Ekiti and Osun States, Lamido Jn challenged the ruling party to be more honorable.
“I will say the APC clinched victory through a free and fair election guaranteed by the same PDP they are vilifying today, he charged. ìI think APC also owes Nigerians that fairness and credibility in the election.
“The isolated elections that were conducted in some states in the country were marred by allegations of rigging and vote-buying but they must understand that the world is watching.
“Nigeria cannot afford to have any election of lesser standard than what we had in 2015.
If they cannot improve on it, at least, they should maintain the same standard. The onus rests on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that same free and credible election that brought him on board is allowed.
That is the only legacy Buhari can give Nigeria having benefited immensely from the sacrifices of the PDP administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
He said Osun and Ekiti elections witnessed massive rigging and ëvote-buyingí because they were isolated. However, he observed that 2019 would take place simultaneously on the same day and time.†
According to him, “The president, every governor would be facing their own battles in their various wards and states.
It is not like the isolated elections where the ruling party would mobilise governors of other states, with deployment of over 40,000 police and troops of the Nigerian military to help them win the election at all cost.†
“In those isolated cases, the people of the state’s concerned were usually intimidated to the extent they were scared from exercising their franchise or constitutional rights. This time around it is not going to be business as usual for the APC.”
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