Editor's note: Public affairs analyst, Joe Mutah, writes on the forthcoming governorship election in Borno, with emphasis on the chances of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Professor Babagana Umara Zullum, who is a key official of the outgoing administration of Governor Kashim Shettima.
The sheer determination and the unity of purpose being exhibited by chieftains and supporters of the APC in Borno state have actually underscored the desire of the party to retain the leadership of the state and also mobilise massive votes for its presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari.
Immediately after the primaries that produced Professor Babagana Umara Zullum as the flag bearer of the party in the state, Governor Kashim Shettima embarked on fence mending to ensure that the APC prosecute the campaigns as a united and indivisible entity. Shettima’s efforts have largely achieved a resounding success, which saw some of the governorship aspirants collapsing their campaign structures into the APC governorship campaigns.
Having governed Borno since the return of democracy in 1999 as the APP, ANPP and the APC, the party has embraced the vision of Governor Shettima by not leaving anything to chance. Instead, the party has mounted aggressive campaigns across the state in order to consolidate its victory and achievements.
On the other hand, the PDP, which is supposed to be the main opposition party in Borno is yet to put its house in order due to the factionalisation of the party.
The Zanna Gaddama faction, which has the legitimacy of INEC and the Usman Badeiri camp are still in court to determine the authentic leadership of the PDP. While they await the judgement of the court, the campaigns are ongoing and the d-day is fast approaching.
Besides, the weight of the PDP as a veritable platform of the opposition in Borno is doubtful mainly because its rank is populated by the so-called “Abuja politicians,” who had actually abandoned the state and its people in the wake of the Boko Haram crisis but only to return for the elections.
At the moment, the APC in Borno pledged to mobilise 2 million votes for its presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari out of the 2.3 million registered voters. In spite of the fact that the PDP candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is from the north-east, the campaign by his party, the PDP, has failed to gain traction in Borno.
Some political analysts posit that Alhaji Abubakar can never get any votes in Borno because despite being from the same geo-political zone, the PDP candidate has never visited Borno to sympathize with the people over the deadly attacks by Boko Haram. Nobody seems to remember whether Alhaji Abubakar ever sent any support in aid of the victims of the attacks in the Internally Displaced Persons camps across the state.
The main issues that will be debated in Borno by the political gladiators are security, social welfare and the rebuilding of the destroyed communities and the resettlement of displaced persons.
At the centre, President Buhari’s administration has decapitated the Boko Haram insurgents and put them on the run. All communities annexed by the insurgents prior to the advent of the administration have been reclaimed while sustained efforts are being made daily to cater for the welfare of the displaced persons by the federal and Borno state governments.
The effort of President Buhari to replenish the Lake Chad through the transfer of water from the Congo Basin is unprecedented. This singular effort will restore the means of livelihood to millions of people who depended on the Lake Chad for survival.
On his part, Professor Zullum has been at the centre of the reconstruction and the resettlement programme of the Borno state government having pioneered the ministry of reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement with remarkable achievements to showcase. His understanding of the terrain and close connection with the people make him an easy sale.
With academic credentials to flaunt and abundance of credibility having served with unblemished record, Professor Zullum comes as a natural leader, who has the capacity to consolidate on the achievements of Governor Kashim in peace building, social and infrastructural development.
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