*… narrates ambush of his entourage that killed two policemen
By Ndahi Marama, Maiduguri
Southern Borno senatorial aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Idris Gatumbwa Mamman, has expressed shock over alleged imposition of candidates during primaries in the district.
In a press statement in Maiduguri, Mamman described the process, beginning from the state House of Assembly, House of Representatives to senatorial primaries as marred with irregularities.
The statement read in part: “Worrisome is that the whole exercise in the zone, beginning from the House of Assembly, House of Representatives to the senatorial primaries, was not conducted in a free and fair atmosphere.
“It was marred with irregularities and imposition of candidates to the detriment of the Electoral Act and democratic participation.
“This was not the first time I am contesting for a position on the platform of the APC. You may recall that in 2018, I contested for the position of the governor of our dear state, and was short changed in the process by the powers-that-be during the primary election which produced incumbent Governor Babagana Umara Zulum as candidate.
“An assassination attempt was carried out on my entourage on Sunday, May 22, 2022 at about 9a.m. by yet to be identified gunmen who laid ambush along Maiduguri-Damaturu road, in between Jakana and Mainok villages.
“In that ambush, two policemen in my entourage were gunned down on the spot, while several others sustained gunshot injuries.
“Besides, my personal vehicle was shattered with over 12 bullets, while the attackers set ablaze one of the vehicles.
“More so, I am worried that a day to the primaries, hundreds of security personnel were mobilized by the state government to Biu town as government officials took part in aiding the whole process of stopping delegates from exercising their franchise.
“Meanwhile, I have already made up my mind not to be used to shed people’s blood because of politics, as the blood of any Southern Borno person is not worth my aspiration.
“I watched the process with dismay as it was characterized with irregularities and imposition of candidates against the wish of the people.
“Worse still, at the last hour, there were changes in the delegates’ list from all the nine local government areas of Southern Borno by the powers-that-be with importation of some people or outsiders being used as delegates who affirmed candidates of their choice to the detriment of other aspirants and their supporters.
“Surprisingly, I received a text message from Governor Babagana Umara Zulum a day before the party primaries, which made me to conclude that the governor, who was supposed to be neutral, had taken sides against my aspiration and the wish of Southern Borno people.
“The governor’s text read: ‘Good morning my brother. I came back from Abuja yesterday and we have decided to provide support for the incumbent Senator Ndume to emerge as the candidate.
“’However, power belongs to Allah and he gives to whom he will. Where feasible, please accept our decision and if not feasible, I hold no grudge against you. Thank you’.
“But with my determination to represent my good people of Southern Borno, I decided to move on with my ambition to contest, despite all odds.
“Contrary to the Electoral Act 2022 provisions, where the party is to hold a special congress in the senatorial district with delegates voting for aspirants of their choice in a designated centre, unbelievably, we noticed that the exercise was designed to be held separately in each of the nine local government areas under the full supervision of officials appointed by Borno State Government with high degree of impunity and without the presence of the electoral committee.
“With these unwholesome developments, I wish to categorically state that the whole process is a charade, as the outcome has already been undemocratically predetermined, which infringed on my constitutional right. It also against the 2022 Electoral Act’s provisions.
“I, therefore urge my teeming supporters to remain calm and law abiding, as I continue with consultations on the way forward to come up with a critical position to seek for redress.”