By Maryam Musa
Members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Borno states on Tuesday at an organised event resolved to adopt indirect primaries to select candidates for next year’s elections.
The decision was reached at the end of the “critical stakeholders’ meetings” hosted by the APC.
The APC stakeholders in Borno State was led by the party chairman, Ali Dalori. They met at the multipurpose hall of government house, Maiduguri.
The Borno meeting was largely attended by elected and key appointees of the ruling party loyal to Governor Kashim Shettima who could not attend the all important event as he was in Berlin, Germany to attend a conference on Lake Chad.
DESERT HERALD can report that members of the other fanction of the APC in the state whom the governor referred to as Abuja politicians like Ali Modu-Sheriff, Babagana Kingibe, Kashim Imam, the Chief of Staff to the president, Abba Kyari, Abba Aji, Maina Lawan, and most of the gubernatorial aspirants under them are conspicuously absent at the meeting. There is presently so much tension in Borno State as the so called Abuja politicians are determined to install their own as the next governor while the incumbent Governor Shettima is confronted with the biggest fight of his political career.
While the local and grassroots level is being controlled by Mr. Shettima and backed by enormous resources and enough to challenge the gladiators that are operating under Sen. Ali Sheriff, the ‘Abuja politicians’ have the capacity through the national leadership of the APC to surprise the governor’s camp and to manipulate the emergence of their own gubernatorial candidate even if it will shattered the party. But so far, Governor Shettima too through his contacts and largesse at the national headquarters of the party has been assured but whether such assurances of ensuring that his anointed guber candidate emerge in view of his loyalty to the party can be guaranteed till the end is what pundits are very sceptical about. What is very clear for now is that despite efforts to create a different picture of the real situation in Borno APC, the party in reality is at the brink of disintegration and may eventually risk losing the sensitive and coveted position of the governor to the PDP, that is if the PDP puts its house in order ahead of the 2019 contest.
Another factor that may likely undermine the chances of Governor Shettima’s faction of the APC to produce the next governor is the seeming lack of cohesion in his political camp. While the Ali Sheriff faction can unanimously adopt and produce a candidate without rancour, that of Mr. Shettima is hugely divided due to individual ambitions of those close to him. The governor according to a gubernatorial hopeful in his faction has virtually assured almost everyone in his camp that approached him for either advise or support to contest the governorship. This has already sent wrong signal as there are already complains from others that the governor is set to betray them. They said as a leader, the governor shouldn’t have endorsed or encouraged the candidature of everyone and that he supposed to guide them not only to unite for a common purpose but to rally round one single candidate as the only option that can defeat the power and influence of the Ali Sheriff faction of the party. The atmosphere as it is in Borno APC under Mr. Shettima clearly indicates that at the end of it all there must be blame game and that such blames will centred solely at the leader of the party in the state who happens to be the governor.
Those at the meeting include the three senators, all members of the House of Representatives from the state, all members of the Borno State House of Assembly alongside other appointees and cabinet members of the state government.
The gathering came barely 48 hours after the party in Borno became enmeshed in controversy involving the supporters of Governor Kashim Shettima and those of his immediate predecessor, Mr Modu-Sheriff, over alleged move by the latter to manipulate the primaries using the direct delegate system during the coming party primaries.
The state’s Deputy Governor, Usman Durkwa, who was the highest office holder at the meeting, said he was there in his capacity as an observer.
The chairman of the party opened the session with a brief speech during which he emphasised the importance of the stakeholders’ meeting ahead of the coming APC primaries.
He said the meeting was a follow up to the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the APC during which, he said, states were given three options on how they could conduct primary elections.
“We were given three options which include direct voting, indirect (delegate) system and consensus voting. And it is based on that that we in Borno have decided to come together as critical stakeholders to endorse the option we have chosen.”
Shortly after that, various speakers spoke on the need to adopt the indirect delegate pattern of primaries.
A senator, Abubakar Kyari from Borno North, spoke on behalf of the other senators at the meeting; while Muhammed Monguno, a House of Representatives member, spoke on behalf of his nine colleagues at the lower chamber of the National Assembly.
The Speaker of the Borno State House of Assembly spoke on behalf of the 27 members of the state legislature.
All of them cited insecurity and lack of up-to-date APC membership register as reason for supporting the indirect delegate system of voting.
To seal the decision taken at the meeting, another senator, Ali Ndume from Borno South, moved the motion for the stakeholders to adopt indirect primaries.
His motion was seconded by a female member of the House of Representatives, Asabe Bashir.
While this has temporarily being achieved and is seen as a form of victory against the Ali Sheriff faction, keen political observers of Borno politics are quick to observe that the last has not been heard on the issue and conclude that the Ali Sheriff faction will not only react but will plot a way out even if through the back door.
The politics of the APC in Borno and who the party will eventually recognised as it’s governorship candidate will be an interesting one to watch. Already, in a bid to get elected by all means politicians in Borno are accused of having a hand in the re-emergence of ritual killings in the state. It is no longer news that sorcerers in Borno often recommend the use of human parts to desperate politicians for rituals as a means of emerging as party candidates and to be subsequently elected. A lot of politicians in Borno so much believe in such inhuman practice and are therefore blind during election season and are taking advantage of the immense poverty in the land, contracting people to kill. Cases of ritual killings in Borno as election approaches is already on the increase with no solution in sight.