Nigeria sick, needs justice, says Lamido

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Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirant Sule Lamido has described Nigeria under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari as “sick” and in need of justice.

He has also noted that the President’s action has succeeded in dividing the country.

Lamido made the remark when he appeared before the Southern and Middle Belt Forum led by Chief Edwin Clark, on Monday to field questions on his plans for the country should he succeed in winning the 2019 presidential election.

According to the former Jigawa State governor, Buhari has through his actions tried to bury the contributions of the nation’s founding fathers.

Lamido who described the leaders of the Southern and Middle Belt Forum as selfless who are concerned about the state of the nation, decried attempts by President Buhari to bury the contributions of founding fathers, who were the first to introduced integrity and honesty in the country’s vocabulary.

The presidential aspirant said, “I saw the caliber of people in this assembly (the Forum), they are our elders in this country, our second 11 generation.

“…This country is sick. Like you all know, the culture of governance is deteriorating because of absence of justice, which should be the anchor of governance, but it is not in Nigeria anymore. That is why you are seeing all these kidnappings, Boko Haram, killings in Taraba, Adamawa, Zamfara, Sokoto and all over Nigeria. This country is not being run under law and order, there is nothing like justice in Nigeria, therefore, Nigerians feel that this country is not good anymore. One single person has held this country hostage. These people (the Forum elders) all believe in Nigeria, they have worked for Nigeria.

“Now, this government is trying to bury the contributions of our founding fathers. Integrity and honesty are not new in our vocabulary. Before Buhari there was integrity, there was Tafawa Balewa, Obafemi Awolowo, Aminu Kano, Azikiwe – these are people of honour and integrity. He (Buhari) has never for once paid tributes to our founding fathers.

“So, more than anything you see we are going through a period of injustice. In other climes he will be impeached because he said he will work anywhere I got 95 percent and do less where I got five percent. What is happening now is because this country is sick, we are looking for justice. We want a Nigeria where everybody will feel a sense of belonging, not nepotism anymore,” Lamido said.

Eminent leaders at the meeting included Pan-Niger Delta Forum leader, Chief Edwin Clark, Afenifere chieftain, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, President-General of Ohanaeze, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, Middle Belt Forum President, Dr. Bitrus Pogu, among others.

The former Jigawa State Governor took questions, particularly on the restructuring of the country which the Forum is pushing for, and his plans to revive the economy in light of the exponential growth in population.

Earlier, Clark told Lamido that the Forum will only endorse an aspirant after everyone they had written to, including the President Muhammadu Buhari, gets the opportunity to be heard.

Nwodo, on his part, explained that the Forum took it upon itself to speak with all presidential aspirants, including the President, because “we represent a wide degree of social cultural organisations in Nigeria. Our people are deeply upset by the state of our country and certain issues, some of which we championed, have become very critical to them as to taking decision as to who to rule this country.

“We believe that our country is at a crossroad where leadership is critical to turn it around. We are reluctant to endorse a presidential candidate without giving him the opportunity to speak with us.

“The views that we represent are very obvious to you, we are irredeemably committed to restructuring of the federation of Nigeria, knowing fully well that our present structure is a great hindrance to the economic development of our country and unity. And economic growth is so critical now.

“Our questions to you are an attempt for us to have a deep understanding of your policies to be able to say that this is what Sule Lamido represents.”

Before the meeting went into closed door, Lamido on said he was willing to undergo any pain in order to serve Nigeria.

“My aspiration is out of pure commitment and if I get elected, my assignment will be how do we restore trust among Nigerians and then how do we restore security. Because, the truth of the matter is that our people are living in fear with the menace of Boko Haram, kidnapping and Nigeria needs the right leadership and that I will do with your support and cooperation…”

When contacted for his reaction, Minister of Information Lai Mohammed, described Lamido as “a politician seeking relevance, he doesn’t mean what he is saying. He needs votes that’s all.”

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina said: “We don’t respond to attention seekers, who have nothing else to tell Nigerians, except to seek to run down the President.”

Meanwhile, Executive Director of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, agreed with Lamido’s statement that Nigeria is sick and in need of justice.

“I totally agree that Nigeria is sick and requires justice from our elites. Because, any patriotic, progressive and honest Nigerian must be concerned with our situation in Nigeria and seek for collective efforts to address our socioeconomic and political development. The level of poverty and inequality, with raising violence and unemployment at both local, state and National level must be of concern to any decent Nigerian,” he said.

“Many people in leadership positions are still looting and, because of desperation to remain in power, little or nothing is being done to bring them to justice. Some politicians are out there instigating violence and depriving people of justice and a means of livelihood, so injustice is everywhere with increasing political corruption and lack of access to justice. Many Nigerians are living in terrible condition. Young people cannot afford to get admission into various higher institutions due to a collapse of education and corruption. Poor Nigerians cannot get affordable health care, [there are] human rights violation at all levels, with unemployment, due to a lack of industrialization and poor infrastructural development. Therefore, if you look at all these situations you must be worried about Nigeria because we have artificial problems caused by some unpatriotic leaders.”

Four aspirants (including Lamido) have so far appeared before the Forum at the Asokoro residence of Chief Clark.

The other three are former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, former Sokoto State governor Attahiru Bafarawa, and Sina Fagbenro of KOWA Party.