By John Akubo, Abuja

In this interview with JOHN AKUBO after screening at Sokoto Governor’s lodge in Abuja, Alhaji Mustapha Sule Lamido, a governorship aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Jigawa State, has challenged past leaders and incumbents to show what their so-called experience has brought to Nigeria. He said good training in leadership is what the country needs.

What have you done that prepares you for the job of the governor?

People always talk about experience, but I ask, those that have ruled with their so-called experience where have they taken us? Where are we today? The current administration that people claimed to have so much experience that would take Nigeria out of poverty, and make Nigeria stable, where have they taken the country to?
What is needed is a passion for leadership. In Jigawa we need people that are committed to leading down to the grassroots, leadership that has a passion for people’s welfare. Most of the leaders that have this so-called experience, if you look at their profile they have been there for decades recycling themselves while they have taken Nigeria back to the stone age with their greed.

What have their experiences done to change the narratives? 
We that have been brought up from the house of leadership, have been at the grassroots level. We can communicate with the masses, that we understand their pains, we visit them, know what their troubles are. We are the people that can communicate with them hence we are the right people to take over leadership for the right governance. 

People are being killed in the Northwest, what has the government done about it?
If you look at the past leaders of this country who are still in circulation at various positions, what have they done for us? They have bastardized the system to the extent that we don’t now have a future. So people like us have been guided, we have been groomed when it comes to leadership, we have been connected. You don’t have to hold political office before you have the experience.

The problem at the state level and at the federal is the lack of trust and disunity among us, it is the cycle of not understanding what the problems or the programs are.
Once you have a leader that knows what the problems of the people are then you will see that the country would move in the right direction. 

You talk about grooming for leadership. You have a father who was a two-term governor, who was a foreign minister. Are you relying on your father for this position?
I will say, nobody can separate a father from a son, likewise a mother and her son and whatever you become in life it is from the roots where you are coming from. It is about how they nurtured you to become what you are in life.

I was brought up in the house of politics, the house of leadership, right from when I was a little boy I used to see people around our house and when I kept asking my mother where my father was, she will tell me he is not in the house, he has gone out. Why because he was out to serve people through politics. He was always out there to serve people, so whenever I got closer to him, I came to understand what responsibilities are, what leadership is all about and that is why till today I keep sitting around him and when it comes to the leadership he puts me through.
Outside what I got from my father, I’m a human being, I’m a Nigerian, I have my own dreams and my own aspirations. Whatever it takes, I now know what the responsibilities of leadership are, I now know the solution to problems, I now know when somebody is having a problem in a particular constituency, village or local Government area, how to solve the problem. Let me say I am from the University of Sule Lamido’s mentoring and guidance. That can never be taken away from my life’s history. I am from that university, I am a student of that university and I believe students of such universities will never fail when it comes to leadership. I am coming from the political house of Sule Lamido. So coming out of that house that has never been known with failure, it has always been about governance, it has always been about people, service to the people. And that’s what I bring.

You are coming seven years after PDP was voted out by APC. How optimistic are you that PDP will recover?

When I emerge from the party primary, I can assure you I’m on ground. In Jigawa the PDP government did well and it moved ahead of time but when the APC took over they bastardised the system, the structure, and everything was messed up. With the current situation in the country, the economy is so bad, poverty at the highest level, insecurity at its peak, what else can the citizens of Jigawa and Nigeria think about the ruling APC, except to vote them out at all levels? I don’t have a problem doing that in Jigawa. 
Before the coming of PDP, Jigawa was not on the map of Nigeria. There was no government in Jigawa, when you look at the map of Nigeria nobody knew what Jigawa was all about after its creation in 1991. When PDP mounted the saddle it brought Jigawa to limelight and Jigawa was known across the globe. People started visiting Jigawa because there was good governance and there was development. Jigawa citizens were proud to be associated with the state. Unfortunately, everything has now been bastardised. There is nothing going on in Jigawa State, development is so low, the economy is so bad, empowerment is very low, and unemployment is at the highest level.
The citizens of the state want a change of government to bring people who have the commitment to lead. People want that proper leadership, which is found in PDP, they want PDP to come back irrespective of whoever emerges. It is about leadership, it is about governance. So PDP is going to produce a very strong candidate and that candidate is me because I’m a very loyal member of the party in Jigawa State.

This party is what we know and what we know is service to humanity. When you talk about PDP in Nigeria as a whole, Jigawa State is one of the founding pillars of PDP. People come to Jigawa to learn what leadership is all about.

You have been screened in readiness for the primary election, how would you rate the exercise in terms of compliance with the electoral act?
In that respect, I think the party has done a very wonderful job. With the new electoral act, the party has done an excellent job.

Culled from The Guardian

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