Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State was born on August 30, 1948 at Bamiana Village in Jigawa State. He started his education in 1955 at the Birnin Kudu Primary School and later gained admission into the famous Barewa College in Zaria in 1962. At the end of his secondary education, he did a course in Railway Engineering at the Permanent Way Training School in the ancient city of Zaria. On graduation, he started work as a Quality Control Officer at the Nigerian Tobacco Company (NTC) in Zaria.
Lamido entered politics as a member of the left-of-center People's Redemption Party (PRP) in the Nigerian Second Republic. He became National Secretary of the Social Democratic Party during the Nigerian Third Republic, where he received criticism for his handling of the June 12, 1993 presidential elections won by Moshood Abiola, who was prevented from taking office.
When the military ruler General Sani Abacha announced his plan to return to democracy, Lamido was a founding member of the Social Progressive Party, and was National Secretary of the new party. He was imprisoned in 1998 by Abacha for criticising Abacha's plan to perpetuate himself in office. After Abacha's unexpected death in June 1998, General Abdulsalami Abubakar announced a revised transition strategy and new parties were formed to contest the 1999 elections. Lamido became a member of the PDP. He ran for Governor of Jigawa State in the 1999 elections at the start of the Nigerian Fourth Republic, but was narrowly defeated by the All People's Party (APP) candidate Ibrahim Saminu Turaki.
President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed Lamido Foreign Minister in June 1999, causing friction with Lamido's patron Abubakar Rimi who had been turned down as Obasanjo's Vice-Presidential partner and was lobbying for the Foreign Minister job. Tensions between Lamido and Rimi lingered on. In December 2003 the two disagreed over the choice of chairman of a committee to investigate the zonal chairman of the party, with the argument degenerating into what one delegate described as "unseeming behavior". In October 2006 Lamido described Rimi as "a contradiction of his political past ". However, during a courtesy visit to Rimi in December 2007 Lamido described him as a major factor that can not be ignored in Nigerian politics.
In June 2007, Lamido accused new generation banks of helping state governors to loot their treasuries, and called for tighter regulations. In July 2007 Lamido announced plans to spend N2 billion in the next six months on education, using the money to rebuild schools and provide basic teaching materials. The state also invested N450 million naira for training teachers teaching core courses in junior secondary schools. He initiated major construction programs, led by the Dutse Capital Development Authority and the Jigawa State Housing Authority. In September 2009 Lamido offered to provide free plots of land and basic infrastructure to investors in the tourism and hospitality business in Jigawa State. In December 2009 Lamido announced a plan by which beggars would be given a basic monthly payment to stay off the streets.
In December 2009 it was reported that Olusegun Obasanjo had started to lobby for Lamido to be the PDP's vice presidential candidate in the 2011 elections. Lamido ran successfully for reelection on 26 April 2011. He polled 676,307 votes, with runner-up Badaru Abubakar of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) scoring 343,177 votes.