…says Ibori not far from Uduaghan in APC
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – BORNO State Governor, Kashim Shettima, Wednesday said that President Muhammadu Buahri’s chance of winning the 2019 Presidential election was brighter than it was in 2015.
Governor Shettima who stated this while speaking with journalists in Maiduguri, President Muhammadu Buhari declared open the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Annual Conference at Maimalari Military Cantonment in Borno state yesterday, said most influential stakeholders in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015 have since dumped the party.
The governor also disclosed that his government had resolved to fight poverty in the state with his investments in education and agriculture insisting that his people have no business with poverty.
Asked to assess the chance of President Buhari winning the forthcoming Presidential election Shettima said “The Presidential election is almost a forgone conclusion by the grace of God. For my knowledge of Nigerian politics, I have been in the business of politics for the past twenty years and I know how the Nigerian political terrain works, 2019 is going to be different from that of 2015.
“In 2015, candidate Buhari got 169,000 votes in the whole of the South-east which was what he got in Maiduguri metropolis. But in 2019, the game has changed. Major players in the south-eastern region have joined the APC fold.
Emmanuel Uduaghan (former governor of Delta state) was the man who delivered 1.4 million votes to Jonathan in 2015 and wherever you see Emmanuel Uduaghan there James Ibori is not far off. And these are in the APC.
“All the three Senators in Rivers state are in the APC. The man who generated 1.3 votes for Jonathan in Akwa Ibom (Senator Godswill Akpabio) is now in APC. So, it’s one thing to pontificate on the social media and not what is on the ground as the reality.”
On the strategy his government is adopting to fight the twin challenge of poverty and insurgency in the state, the governor said “Education, to me, is the key to fighting poverty. The richest countries in the world are not materially endowed. South Korea, Singapore, so it’s just the normal policy of the government that is just alleviating the suffering of the people. Our major focus is on education and job creation through agriculture.
“We are the largest state in Nigeria in terms of land mass. Land is the most important of resources which when well handled can provide jobs for millions of people. We have no business being poor once we provide the leadership; once we provide the push and incidentally the person that may likely take over from me is head and shoulder above me in terms of intellect, in terms of exposure and ability so I believe he will continue where I stopped. So we are investing massively on education and agriculture. These are the two major tools we really want to use to fight poverty.”
Asked to respond to insinuations that the mammoth crowd that received the President on the streets of Maiduguri was rented, Shettima said “He (Buhari) came with the shortest of notices. How could we have hired such a large crowd. This is a Buhari country. He’s the single kinetic figure in Borno political firmament. It is not an issue of dispute; this is a Buhari country. He has a vice grip over the people on this side.”