Sule Lamido, former governor of Jigawa state, has sought to explain the poor performance of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 general election in northern Nigeria.
The former ruling party lost governorship in all northern states apart from Taraba and Gombe — and won presidential election only in three out of the 19 states, compared to seven in 2011 and 12 in 2007.
Lamido told Weekly Trust on Saturday that many northerners did not have the freedom to vote their choices because of the branding of the PDP as a Christian party.
“In the build-up to the last general election, PDP was vilified, intimidated with religion, falsehoods and propaganda through Facebook postings. Rwandan genocide pictures were posted as Boko Haram victims. PDP was blackmailed into silence,” he said.
“When you queued to vote in the north, people viewed you as an infidel. You were all there and these things happened in a country where freedom should be the operating word. APC man can vote APC but if Lamido votes PDP, he is a Christian, he is a pastor.”
Significantly, APC had also accused PDP of branding it as a Muslim party.
Many PDP leaders labelled APC “Muslim Brotherhood” and “Janjaweed Party” ahead of the 2015 elections.
Lamido praised the appointment of Ali Modu Sheriff, former governor of Borno state, as the acting national chairman of the PDP as the party seeks to re-position itself ahead of the 2019 elections.
He said: “Modu Sheriff has a long standing political history. All those making noise are product of political invention. Sheriff has been in politics and defeating PDP at the poll since 1999.
“He was in the ANPP and worked for the alliance that brought together incompatibles. I mean, how do you put (Alhaji Abubakar) Atiku, (President Muhammadu) Buhari and (Chief Ahmed Bola) Tinubu in one political pot? How do you cook them? No, tell me. You can’t cook Buhari and these two in one political pot.
“When they were forging alliance with ANPP, Sheriff was the arrowhead. They were celebrating him when he was in APC, working for APC. He was a very wonderful person. But, when he joined the PDP, he became a Boko Haram member. Who is saying so, of course, the APC members because they are scared of him? He knows them damn too well.
“I think, today, Sheriff is the best thing to have happened to PDP. It is a huge good will, he has a huge followership. He is somebody who is courageous, inspirational and he can say: look, APC go to tell. APC is thoroughly scared because they know him and what he is capable of doing. He will come to Jigawa sometime next week.
“We will come out en masse to welcome him and assemble the biggest crowd ever in Nigerian politics. We want to force them (APC) out in 2019 because they have no agenda and manifesto to govern.”