The governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, on Tuesday called on aggrieved members of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) who are not happy with his government to be loyal to the party and not meddle in anti-party activities during the coming elections.
Following the recent party primaries, many members of the APC in the state, especially those that aspired for different positions, accused the government and party leaders of forcing them to step down for most of the incumbent officeholders. While those that went into the primaries said the party leadership didn’t give them a fair contest.
In order to manage the disgruntlement in the party, the governor last year directed the ruling party to inaugurate a compensation committee to address the grievances amongst the aspirants that lost out.
Though meetings were held, it is not clear if the committee had been able to resolve the anger amongst the aspirants.
The governor also acknowledged that there are other members of the party, whose grievances predated the party primaries – especially those that were edged out of appointment or government patronages in the last seven and a half years of his administration.
Speaking on Tuesday while inaugurating the Borno APC 2019 campaign council, Mr Shettima said irrespective of how aggrieved they are, it would be a costly mistake for party members to work against their candidate in an election.
Mr Shettima, who chairs the APC campaign council,l told members that future patronage of party politicians by the government would be measured by how well they had done in delivering the winning votes for candidates within their electoral units, wards, and local government areas.
“As stakeholders you should bear in mind that, your political reputation will lie with your collaborative effort to win all elections within your area,” Mr Shettima said.
“For instance, losing MMC, Chibok, Hawul, Askira Uba, Biu or anywhere to PDP will only make stake-holders from these local government areas to lose the legitimacy of bargaining for any political privileges within the APC in Borno State.
“Moreover, you should always bear in minds that electorates are not robots that you tell to vote APC in one ballot paper and vote PDP in another ballot paper. From history, anti-party activities are never hidden and they have unpredictable outcomes.
“And I think one question we should wonder is what if we work against any of our candidates and yet he or she wins? When you work against someone as he or she wins an election, it automatically means that you are not relevant.
“I think it is wiser to help someone you disagree with to win the election so that at least, you have something to boast before such person. I have sounded these notes of caution not based on any particular realities but based on hypothetical possibilities that are inherent in Borno’s democratic experiences.
“I urge all of us to bury whatever grievances we have and work together. There are some candidates who were angered in 2015 after losing out. Today, they are flag bearers of our party. I urge us to work for each other.
“We should always remember that the APC is a vehicle on a journey with all of us on board. When a vehicle is moving with you, it will be suicidal to remove any part of that vehicle otherwise everyone will crash. Perhaps the person who removes the part of the moving vehicle could be the first casualty,” the governor said.
A number of aggrieved party members, especially those who contested and lost the governorship primaries are currently in different courts battling to convince judges to either cancel the result of the primary election or declare them as candidates in place of the APC flagged bearer, Babagana Umara, who polled overwhelming votes to emerge candidate.