Nine governorship candidates of various political parties in Borno state contesting the Saturday, April 11 gubernatorial election on Thursday stepped down for the state governor, Kashim Shettima, the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress.
The nine candidates, who were duly registered and recognised by the Independent National Electoral Commission, took the decision to drop their ambitions and support Mr. Shettima after a meeting with him at the Government House, Maiduguri.
The meeting with the former candidates, which was supposed to hold Wednesday night, dragged into the early hours of Thursday as Governor Shettima was busy attending other political meetings at the Government House.
The politicians that were seeking to rule Borno state said they had taken the decision to shelve their ambition after a careful assessment of the situation in Borno State and how the incumbent governor had managed his affairs especially during the ongoing electioneering period.
“There is no point changing a winning horse”, said Rufai Monguno, the flag bearer of the Action Congress of Nigeria. “When we stepped up to answer the call of our teeming supporters to contest the governorship of our dear state, we had the welfare of our people and development of Borno state at heart. But we later realised that there was no use fighting over the seat when the incumbent governor, Kashim Shettima, has achieved all that we desired for Borno state, and has even better plans for the future of our beloved state.
“It was on that note that we came to the government house tonight to formally assure him that rather than contesting against him, we will mobilise all our supporters to ensure that he is returned as the next governor of Borno on the 11th of April. We hereby step down for him.”
Governor Shettima, who was pleased with the development, described the candidates’ action as “an act of statesmanship worthy of commendation”.
He assured them that his government would continue to strive for a better deal for the people of Borno state.
And to avoid any form of doubts over their action, the nine former gubernatorial candidates agreed to a request by Mr. Shettima that they formalise their withdrawal from the race by voluntarily writing a withdrawal letter signed by their party officials notifying INEC of their decision to step down.
The nine governorship candidates were Rufai Monguno (ACN); Ajiya Auno (APGA); Babagana Musa (CPA); Ahmed Galtima (NCPN); (CPA); Babagana Bakomi (LP); Abu Sakwa (CPP); Ahmed Alhaji Bulama (ACPN); Abba Modu (SDP) and Joel Joseph (deputy governorship candidate of Accord Party who stood in for his principle at the meeting).