Ex-Borno Governor’s campaign coordinator denies issuing statement on Maiduguri blast

Kolo allegedly blamed state government for Tuesday’s blast.

Bala Kolo, the chairman of the campaign organisation of ex-Borno State Governor, Ali Sheriff, has denied issuing the statement that accused the Borno State government of complicity in last Tuesday’s bomb blast in Maiduguri. At least 43 people are believed to have died from the explosion.

Mr. Kolo, who has been a campaign coordinator for Mr. Sheriff for over 12 years, said his name was used as a signatory to the statement without his approval.

The statement had accused the Governor Kashim Shettima-led government of planting the bomb to ridicule the former governor, a leader of the All Progressive Congress, APC. Mr. Sheriff had visited the state last week, three days before the explosion; his first visit in 11 months.

“I chose to address the press today (Tuesday) to refute the statement that was issued in my name and sent to journalists, which said it was Borno State government officials that planted the Tuesday bomb. I also absolve the former governor of Borno, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff of any accusation,” Mr. Kolo said.

Mr. Kolo, who was flanked by some political appointees of the Borno State government during the brief press conference, stated that he was out of the country when the incident happened and was surprised to see his name attached to the statement.

“I knew nothing about the statement, even though I have been with former governor Sheriff for over 12 years as the coordinator of the youth wing of his campaign organisation. He is our leader, which is not disputable, but for somebody to drop my name and pitch me against our governor is something I cannot accept,” the politician said. “I am a loyal member of the APC and obedient to its leadership, so I should not be dragged into any controversy.”

Asked why it took him a week to deny the statement, Mr. Kolo said, “I was all the while in Chad on a visit, I just returned back home on Monday.”

He also denied being coerced to make the denial, saying, “I have no fear of anyone at all; because my conscience is clear.”

Mr. Kolo also said he hoped the Borno governor and his predecessor, Mr. Sheriff, would resolve their differences. Both men are members of the APC, and Mr. Sheriff played a major role in his successor’s election although both men have since fallen out.

“Though politics is a matter of one expressing his feeling and interest, I hope that our leaders would be able to sort out what ever differences they had so that our party would forge ahead as one family,” Mr. Kolo said.

Sheriff accused of blast

Hours after the blast last week Tuesday, some residents blamed Mr. Sheriff for the explosion. His personal property and vehicles of his supporters were vandalized by enraged youths.

The controversial statement was subsequently released in which Mr. Kolo, speaking for Mr. Sheriff, was quoted as blaming Borno officials and APC politicians in the state for the blast and the subsequent attack by the youth.


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