A former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, has said Nigeria’s political system is going through strange and challenging times, and has claimed those in power are using poverty to intimidate and woo opposition members to their fold.
The former governor said the former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, and former defence minister, Musiliu Obanikoro, were “victims” of the menace, as both men defected from PDP because APC planned to arraign them before a court of law, after revealing their bank account balances to them.
Mr Lamido was speaking on Thursday while inaugurating the election campaign committee in Dutse, Jigawa State capital, in an arena filled with people.
His claims were massively acknowledged by the crowd.
“Now in this current political dispensation, if you steal public funds and ‘stash’ them in the bank and you are a member of opposition, they will tell you to come back to APC. They will forgive you, but if you refuse, they will prosecute you. That is how Messrs Akpabio and Obanikoro were forced to leave PDP for APC,” Mr Lamido said.
Messrs Akpabio and Obanikoro could not be immediately reached for comments.
Mr Lamido said the ruling party, APC, was using poverty as a weapon to weaken the opposition.
“Nigerians are suffering. For three years, they did not do anything. Now that they sense defeat, they have started giving out money.
“This is not the type of politics we learnt. Previously, it is the people who financed their own cause and if a leader disagrees with the people, they will call him to order. Now, politics has become a business venture for politicians to make money,” Mr Lamido said.
He also broke his silence over the defection of the aggrieved members of the party to APC, in Jigawa State.
Mr Lamido urged PDP defectors to return to the party.
He said the aggrieved members of the PDP should remember what the party has done for them, reconsider their decision, and return to the party in order to rescue the state.
“Go and meet them, notify them that power, wealth and authority comes from God Almighty. Remind them of the position they held during PDP’s reign. Ask them to refresh their faith. It is not by their power that makes them what they are, but the will of God.
“Let them know that the young ones are learning from their actions and words. Let us not teach the next generation the habit of betrayal and disrespect, but love, trust and respect,” Mr Lamido said.
He said the aggrieved members should know that they have been together for long.
“We are one people, with one historical background, in the same state. Let us work once again to rescue Jigawa,” he said.
Mr Lamido also urged PDP members in the state to desist from campaigns of thuggery and violence, but rather, engage their opponents in an issue based campaign.
“Show them what PDP has done in the state. Let them know we are all one family, irrespective of political affiliation.”
Mr Lamido charged the members of the committee to work for the success of PDP in the state and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
“Also it is your responsibility to go and woo Governor Muhammad Badaru to PDP because he will not survive the task ahead,” he said.
Eight election campaign committees were inaugurated at the event.
They are expected to work under the apex committee chaired by Ahmad Algazali while Sule Lamido, Aminu Ringim, Salisu Mahmuda among others, will serve as members.