The Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, on Saturday lambasted the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP-led federal government saying the 14 years of its rule in Nigeria is worse than the terrible experiences Africans passed through during the slave trade.
The governor emphasised that only the All Progressives Congress (APC), a party he described as “an idea that has come, which nobody can do anything about”, can salvage Nigeria from “political slavery.”
Mr. Shettima made this statement shortly after the inauguration of the state’s Interim Executive Council of the APC.
“Apart from colonialism and slave trade, nothing so terrible has befallen Nigerians in the last 14 years more than the emergence of PDP rule at the national level,” Mr. Shettima said.
“It is so sad that in the last 14 years Nigeria had at hand billions of dollars that is unprecedented in the contemporary history of this country; but this is a government that cannot boast of tarring more than 5000 kilometres of road across the country; a government that cannot boast of generating 5000 mega watts of electricity; and this is a government that cannot boast of creating 5000 jobs for millions of our jobless youths. For God’s sake, this party called PDP, in the first instance, has no business being in government of this country. We owe it a duty to generations yet unborn to the right thing.
“APC is bringing a wind of change that will put Nigeria, for the first time, on the path of growth and development,” he added.
The governor said for the APC to realise its dreams ahead of 2015, it must put its house in order and resolve all intrigues and internal wrangling.
Mr. Shettima, who is having a running battle of supremacy with his ex-political godfather and predecessor, Ali Modu Sheriff, was all through the event hailed as the leader of the APC by his supporters.
The governor, who appeared pleased with his ability to organise the inauguration, however cautioned his supporters that “there is no winner, no vanquish in today’s occasion; we are all one; and we should be seen to work together as one”.
Mr. Shettima also said he is very confident of victory in 2015 partly because of the calibre of personalities he has been able to lure into his party.
“Today we have people like Hon Mustapha Baba Shehuri, a former governorship candidate of the CPC in the state in our midst; we have the ACN flag bearer, Engineer Ibrahim Ali, I have the three PDP members in the state Assembly now with us; I have the former PDP flag bearer during the 2011 elections, Alhaji Muhammed Goni, now on the same page with me; I have five Reps members of the National Assembly now with me.
“You can see that as far as Borno state is concerned there is no single opposition except the ones we may have within. Please let us put our heads together and work for the common good of the people of Borno State,” he said.
The APC Interim National Secretary, Tijjani Tumsa, also called for unity in the party. He said by his position as the state governor, Mr. Shettima is the party’s leader.
He added that Mr. Shettima is not only a leader of APC in the state, but a national leader who had contributed to the formation of the party.
“The first communique that brokered the formation of APC was read by no other person but Governor Kashim Shettima. I urge all to cooperate with him in unity and cohesion so that our party can bring change in Nigeria and Borno state particularly,” he said.
Kaka Yale, the Interim State Chairman of the APC, said in his acceptance speech that he would preside as a fair leader who would give a level playing field to party members.
He commended Mr. Shettima for steering the state towards development despite the security situation there.
“However, the effort to bring back peace in Borno State can be much easier and faster if we can all work together…the path of peace cannot be achieved in the state and if we all remain at dagger drawn with one another. We should know that no man is an island, just like late MKO Abiola has said that ‘no one can clap with one hand,” Mr. Yale said.
A former member of the House of Representatives, Joshua Shara, also claimed the governor only had problems from a particular part of Borno.
“We in the Southern Borno and the Northern Borno have no problem; so let the Central put its house together so that we would not have problems as we move towards 2015, when we would by God’s grace elect Kashim Shettima as our governor,” Mr. Shara, now a Borno commissioner, said.
The drama of the event was when a political thug, before the arrival of the governor and the APC national officers to the venue, stood up and ordered the state’s commissioner of education, Musa Kubo, to get out of the hall; as the assemblage was not for supporters of Mr. Sheriff, the former governor.
It took the intervention of party officials and politicians to beg the thug to let the commissioner be.