The elections conducted in Borno State were won overwhelmingly by the All Progressives Congress, APC. Here is how it went, especially the campaign brickbats between a political godfather and his godson, writes correspondent, BEN AIDOKANYA.
In a twist of fate, the aim taking control of Borno State from the opposition, All Progressives Congress, APC and handing it over to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP by the former governor of the state, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, has somehow come to pass going by the outcome of the last presidential and governorship elections in the state.
The main opposition in the state, PDP, led by Minister of State for Power, Barrister Mohammed Wakil, Sen. Sheriff and other political irokos in the state, strongly vowed to take over the government house Maiduguri by May 29, 2015 as attested by various speakers at various PDP rallies held in Maiduguri during the campaign season, shortly before the elections proper.
While the PDP resolved to booth out the APC government of Kashim Shettima, they also vowed to make it a “task that must be done.”
One of the speakers, Kashim Imam, the PDP governorship candidate in 2011, described the choice of Kashim Shettima, as a “fundamental error of calculation ,” jointly made by him and Ali Sheriff, hence he apologised to the people of Borno on behalf of the two of them for and pledged to effect his removal next may.
The reasons for that according to PDP former flag bearer, is that Governor Shettima failed in his governance.
“Our good people of Borno, Ali Sheriff left about N60 billion in the treasury for Kashim, and if you add that to the amount that accrued to the state in the last three and half years of his reign it will amount to about N400 billion. But there is nothing on ground to justify this huge amount of money,” Kashim Imam said.
“They promised to build new hospitals, they promised to construct new roads etc, has there been any new hospital built nor new road constructed in any part of the state in the past three and half years, he asked the crowd who echoed No… in response.
“People of Borno, change in Borno 2015, has become a task that must be done,” he emphasised.
For Ali Sheriff on his own part, voting Shettima out could be likened to a story of one Mallam Shehu in a novel written by Cyprian Ekwensi titled, African Night Entertainment, who said , “forward ever, backward never,” in his quest for vengeance over the snatching of his beloved spouse.
Ali Sheriff said that it was high time Borno transformed from the opposition to join the party that controls the central government since the opposition is not “doing the state any good, adding that it was the main reason behind his defection to PDP.
“In any case, Borno State is losing each time we are in opposition, every time we are in opposition we do not benefit in terms of dividends of democracy as states under PDP. This is because it is natural that the central government would have to satisfy those states that voted them in,” said Ali Sheriff.
“If we are not, he went on, going to assist the central government to form a government, then they are not duty bound to bring the dividends of democracy to us,” he said.
He added that provision of security to lives and property was their responsibility but we would be in a better position to get their attention if we are part of the central government, I can say that the totality of my reason to join PDP is to bridge that gap between the people of Borno and central government, Sheriff added.
Governor Shettima in course of his electioneering campaign however seemed unprepared to join issues with his political godfather or any of his political opponents despite the accusations of failed governance.
He remained resolute in his campaign, urging the people never to be allowed to be deceived by Abuja politicians.
“My good people of Borno State, do not allow yourselves to be deceived or be mindful of the Abuja politicians who only come to the state when they need political positions but don’t care about your lives and welfare,” Governor Shettima told the electorate at the launching of food for all initiative held at Ngomari Primary School before the elections.
To sum up, it is known fact in the state that the incumbent governor, Kashim Shettima is a political God son of Senator Ali Sheriff who like a father to a prodigal child vows to remove him instead of pardoning him.
Sheriff beat his chest and vowed to deliver the state to PDP publicly during the PDP presidential rally at Ramat Square in Maiduguri, the capital city of the state.
“Mr. President, hold me responsible, if there is free and fair election in Borno and PDP does not win in the state,” Sheriff assured President Jonathan at the rally.
To some political observers in the state, the victory of General Buhari and Kashim Shettim as the APC president and Governor elects of Nigeria and Borno state respectively appears to be divine.
His words, “If we succeed in forming the government at the state leveled, it means there will be alignment of forces and elements of suspicion and doubt will likely be eliminated and the beauty of it all is that General Buhari was one of the governors of North East states.
He later became the governor of Borno State and he takes delight in telling people about his Borno heritage, one of his grandparents migrated to Katsina axis from Kwukawa. So he is very much aware of the terrain, he knows our problems and believe me, we will get better much better access to the corridors of power and much better attention than what is currently prevailing.”
Governor Shettima continued, “we shall have a very wonderful relationship with APC Federal Government if I happen to get re-elected and this is the same position that was canvassed by the PDP stewards that Borno needs to get into the mainstream of Nigerian politics by voting for the PDP. Now that APC has formed the federal government if we follow the same way I think that their argument has also been achieved naturally,” Governor Shetrima humorously told journalists.
The question now is, would Ali Sheriff and his group sheath their sword and work with the Kashim Shettima-led APC government for the development of the state?