Borno APC politicians blame one another for the blast.
An aide to former governor Ali Sheriff of Borno was bribed with a car and N5 million into withdrawing his earlier statement, the political adviser to Governor Kashim Shettima, Yusuf Adamu, has alleged.
Mr. Adamu’s statement came hours after Bako Bunu, Mr. Sheriff’s campaign manager of 12 years, denied issuing a statement that accused Borno Government officials of the January 14 bomb explosion that killed at least 43 people in the state capital. Scores of youth had taken to the street after the explosion, attacking persons and property linked to Mr. Sheriff, whom they blamed for the blast.
The controversial statement had absolved Mr. Sheriff of any complicity in the explosion and instead blamed loyalists of Governor Shettima. The governor is having a running political battle in the state with his predecessor, who helped him to office. Both men are leaders of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Tuesday’s statement by Mr. Adamu brings to fore the political machinations in Borno State were aides of the two principal actors express divided loyalty amidst the struggle for the control of the APC structure.
Mr. Adamu said Mr. Bunu did not only write that statement, but had also attended the grand rally that was organised to welcome the former governor when he visited the state last week, the first in 11 months.
Mr. Adamu, a former scribe of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party in the state, said he had also exchanged text messages with Mr. Bunu who had taken responsibility for issuing the statement as a demonstration of his loyalty to Mr. Sheriff. He claimed Mr. Bunu had equally raised an alarm last week that he had to flee the state to avoid the anger of some Borno government officials who were not happy with him for issuing the statement.
In the statement he sent to journalists via email, Mr. Adamu admonished the state governor “not to dance to the antics of fifth columnist, as it would plunge him into further political trouble.”
Read Mr. Adamu’s statement below:
“In the past one week, reports emanating from Borno state, since the explosion that rocked the state capital resulting in the death of over 40 people have not been impressive. The blast which came days after Sheriff made an impressive visit has generated controversies, against the background that the state government did not sanction it, and the attendant political uproar it generated.
“I find it increasingly compelling to speak out on the emergent crisis in my state, between my Governor, Kashim Shettima and our leader and former governor, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, following this development.
In my capacity as Special Adviser and a stakeholder in the state, I am worried by the seeming drift and the looming danger posed by the altercations going on amongst our leaders, and wish to caution against allowing political jobbers to sow seeds of discord between the duos, ostensibly to upset the political apple cart.
“I have offered several advice to my principal the Governor in private, just as I had called the attention of our leader and benefactor, senator Sheriff, on why we should not allow fifth columnists and desperate politicians to cause a division in the government we all suffered to establish.
“My attention has particularly drawn to the activities of one Bako Bunu, who earlier posed as spokesman for of the former Governor of Borno state, senator Ali Modu Sheriff, and the subsequent manipulation and compromise of the same fellow by top Government functionaries, to controvert his earlier statement on the explosion in Maiduguri on Eid – il – Maulud day.
I am aware of the activities of the said fellow, who had spoken with several journalists from a Nigeria GSM number08035182960 and 08098938003, while claiming to be abroad, and whom people practically met at Sheriff’s reception in Gombe and on Saturday January 11 and Sunday January 12th in Maiduguri. He was with us at Sheriff’s residence in Abuja at the time he was reported to have issued the press statement, having fled Maiduguri as a result of threats to his life for speaking out against the government. We have exchanged correspondences, in which he confirmed to me he issued the statement on the blast for which the Government was not happy with him.
“He had stated in the text message where he stated, “morning sir with due respect is to inform you I already live in Maiduguri. I will start my exam of PGD tomorrow insha Allah. I did not see oga SAS assist me in tabling my problem to him I assure you of 100% loyalty to you and him. Thanks. Bako.”
“He had also introduced himself to one of the commissioners, via a sms as the coordinator for SAS campaign and requested for financial gratification for his loyalty. It rather puzzling that a man could be at Sheriff’s reception, and preparing for exams the next day, and even issued a statement a day after the blast occurred in Maiduguri, could turn round to disown his statement, and even claim to be in Chad.
“We have been made to understand that top Government functionaries have offered the sum of N5 million and a car to the said Bako Bunu, as enticement to change his public statement, and some of them even accompanied him to the press briefing in Maiduguri on Tuesday where he attempted to deny the statement he earlier issued.
“It is with a great sense of patriotism and good conscience that I caution His Excellency, Governor Kashim Shettima to watch out and desists from associating with such very unreliable characters, and return to the path of glory by refusing to join issues with his benefactor. The wind it will generate will not do either party any good”.