“It is very clear that former governor Shekarau has lost his mental balance since he left the APC and joined the PDP”.
Strong negative reactions have trailed former Kano State governor, Ibrahim Shekarau’s comment about the three states under Boko Haram siege and emergency rule: Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. Mr. Shekarau had said that it was more important securing the three states and indeed the northeast than conducting elections there in 2015.
This got many residents of the state upset; as Mr. Shekarau, currently being vilified as an agent of the PDP-controlled federal government, is accused of carrying out the bid of his pay masters by politicising the Boko Haram insurgency and the general insecurity in the northeast region. Speaking to journalists in Maiduguri on Saturday, a renowned Borno elder, Bulama Mali Gubio, said that “it is very clear that former governor Shekarau has lost his mental balance since he left the APC (All Progressives Congress) and joined the PDP (Peoples Democratic Party)”.
“Ibrahim Shekarau is a disgrace to the north as a whole. As a matter of fact with this statement coming from him on crucial matters like this, he has lost what remains of the little integrity in his person as a northerner,” Mr. Gubio said. Mr. Gubio, who is also a former Head of Borno State Civil Service, pointed out that Mr. Shekarau’s comments that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, cannot conduct elections in volatile states is capable of denying most states of the north from holding the said elections as well.
“If he is insisting that elections would not hold in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe because they are volatile states; then he should note that it means elections would not hold in his state, Kano, because it is also one of the volatile states. In fact if Shekarau’s statement is to be taken seriously, it means there won’t be elections in Kaduna, Katsina, Plateau, Benue, Sokoto, and Nasarawa states, because all of them are volatile as it is now. “So what Shekarau is suggesting is that there would be no elections in the whole of the north; and it is only a mad man that would prescribe the disenfranchisement of his people, just to please his pay masters.
“It is in the interest of the country at large for government to honestly confront the problems of insurgency and tackle it once and for all, rather than politicising it. We should remember Nigeria is a country made up of components and if one part of the country is sick the rest cannot pretend to be well”.
In his reaction, the pioneer chairman of the PDP in Borno, Ahmed Ashemi, also expressed his anger at the comment of Mr. Shekarau. “His comment that elections cannot hold in states under state of emergency was not only intended to please some people at the highest level but also capable of sending a very wrong signal that could lead to chaos”.
“It is an ill-conceived assumption or foreclosure of opinion that we in Borno and sister states of Adamawa and Yobe are not going to experience peace in the next nine months despite the efforts being made by the federal government through the security operatives.
“It is wrong and unbecoming of Shekarau to say that even with the provisos that ‘if peace is not attained’. For God sake, the elections we are talking about are to hold in February next year, and we are in April today,” Mr. Ashemi wondered. Mr. Ashemi alleged that the former Kano state governor is being used to play politics with the issue of insurgency.
“I am a card-carrying PDP politician, but I will never allow anyone to politicise the current security challenges in the northeast; I believe the issue of security affects all of us; and we have to put hands together regardless of politics, religion or tribal inclines to fight headlong the issue of insecurity, rather than playing politics with it.
“It will rather be very unfortunate for a man of that stature to stoop so low as to politicise such a sensitive issue in order to please somebody. I hope that is not what Shekarau is doing; if that is what he is doing, I condemn it as an individual, as a leader in my community and I condemn it in totality as a citizen of the Northeast who is so affected remotely and closely by these insurgency”.
“The federal government has its sources of information that are superior to our own; and if the federal government truly thinks that elections cannot hold, such decision can only be taken when the time for the elections comes and not now. We don’t want to hear any contemplation by anybody now that there wouldn’t be elections in any of the three states under emergency when we still have more than nine months to get to the elections. We want to believe that the Federal government is really serious about crushing the insurgency and bringing about a lasting peace in the States.”