Governor Kashim Shettima Photo: VOA Hausa

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Borno 2019: God, not ‘Abuja politicians’ will choose my successor- Shettima

By Abdulkareem Haruna

August 22, 2018

The Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, said on Tuesday that he does not have knowledge of the person that will succeed him come 2019.

He said he leaves the decision in the hands of God.

The governor was however emphatic that his successor will definitely come from amongst politicians of the younger generation, an age bracket he said some ‘top persons’ in Abuja are not comfortable with.

“I, Kashim Shettima, cannot choose a governor for the people of Borno State. Only Allah can choose a governor for Borno,” he said.

“Whether one likes it or not, Allah has destined who the next governor of Borno will be,” he said.

Mr Shettima who said this while hosting members of his cabinet and party officials to a Sallah lunch at the Government House, spoke in a tone that betrayed the fact that all is still not well within the larger APC family in Borno State.

The governor who came to power in May 2011 is already on his last year as the chief executive of Borno State having served for over seven years now.

This year’s Sallah celebration would be the last Mr Shettima will celebrate as a sitting governor.

He chose the opportunity to deliver what he called a farewell message and also address some of the issues concerning the politics of 2019.

The governor’s speech seemed largely triggered by what he described as ongoing comments from those he tagged as ‘Abuja Politicians’ whom he said have expressed displeasure that Borno State is derailing because governance is left in the hands of “inexperience younger generation”.

“Those Abuja politicians that are saying today that Borno is in the hands of little children, should be reminded that when some of them were governors they are not up to my age,” he said.

Mr Shettima, who is currently aspiring to become a senator did not however speak on his already settled ambition which is to take over the Borno central senatorial seat from the current occupant, Baba Garbai – his political ally.

Mr Garbai was also at the event when Mr Shettima made this statement.

In Borno State, everyone, including those considered very close allies and members of Mr Shettima’s kitchen cabinet are in darkness as to who is likely going to be the governorship candidate of the APC.

When the governor decided to host his colleagues at the Borno State executive council to a luncheon on Tuesday, many who attended were expecting some form of clarity on the issue of 2019.

The only clarity they got was that it will certainly be from the new political order that is powered by the younger generation.

“This might be my last bit lunch with you, but believe me Insha Allah, life is a marathon, and in the fullness of time we will have the cause to celebrate more occasions.

“Electioneering season is around the corner. I want to assure you that Insha-Allah we shall put in our best to see that we leave behind a lasting legacy.

“Sadly, uncomfortably but truthfully, there can never be two captains in a single ship. There are quite a handful of ambitious colleagues of ours, but only one can be a governor. And that governor has been ordained by Allah.

“Kashim Shettima has not power to appoint a governor. I have not power to elect or impose a governor. It is Allah in his infinite mercy that will select the governor for us, Insha Allah. Our prayer is may that person be a symbol of our unity, a beacon of exclusivity, a symbol of a resurgent Borno.

“We are moving from a period of insurgency to that of resurgence. Borno shall rise from the ashes of defeat to greatness”

Governor Shettima inferred that with the Boko Haram insurgency coming to an end, the coming electioneering season might be heralded with what he called political insurgency.

“I call on you all, let us unite as a people; we have survived an insurgency, but we should be very careful because soon those that have lost out in the power game of political leadership are itching to reignite a political insurgency in the state. We have to say no them.

“Where were they when we are going through the harshest time in our contemporary history of Borno? Where were they when we were living under perpetual fear of being attacked; when some of our colleagues have to change three cars before getting to office, just to evade an attack?

“I know of some of us who abandoned their houses and have continued to live in three different hotels here in Maiduguri. I know of you here who could not go to the mosques for prayers except they come to the government house to pray.

“But some clowns who have abandoned Borno for ages, those that have not even given a bowl of rice to assist our displaced people, are now taking the advantage of the peace we have suffered to build by saying that it is only them that will decide and install the next governor of Borno state.”

The governor also expressed his angst with those he called Abuja-based politicians masquerading as elders.

“These Abuja based politicians kept saying Borno is in the hands of children; I finished my secondary school in 1983, some persons finished in 1979, I was in form one and that person was in form four.

“He is just my senior by three years. Some finished secondary school in 1981 and I finished in 1983. But they fail to understand that age is the function of the mind; number is nothing; maturity is in the mind.

“Any person that will not give due regard to fellow human is the one that is immature.

“It is not the matter of being rich. Even one that is elected leader, is not in any way better or more illustrious than any other person.

“Even if it comes to being who is an illustrious son or daughter of Borno, we should know that amongst us here, we have the grand children and princes of the Shehus of Borno (Senator Garbai).”

He also had kind words for Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

“The vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, is not from the north, he is a Christian from the western part of Nigeria and a pastor of the Redeem Church (RCCG). But he, Vice President Osinbajo, mobilised resources and builds a state-of-the-art school for the Kanuri children of Boko Haram. And 90 per cent of the children to be in that school are of Borno’s Kanuri, Shuwa, Babur and Marghi tribed. And 90 per cent of them are Muslims.

“Where are the so-called elders of Borno who are saying the state is in the hands of kids; what have they done to the state. We know some of them that have four aircraft, we know they are rich. But the wealth that does not benefit your people, we the Kanuris say, is not better than grass.”

Ali Modu Sheriff

Although Mr Shettima did not name any of the “Abuja politicians,” his predecessor, Ali Sheriff, is believed to be one of those he was referring to. Mr Sheriff, a controversial businessman, is believed to be very wealthy. He returned to the APC after the Supreme Court declared he was not the rightful leader of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party. Mr Shettima is believed to be close to officials in the presidency and recently met with President Muhammadu Buhari.