By Professor Babagana Umara Zulum
In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful.
We must begin with profound gratitude to the Almighty, the giver of power, for guiding and strengthening the course of our political struggles in the last few months. We thank Allah for the relative peace and harmony and for His protection throughout the course of this political journey. We thank Allah for crowing these efforts with victory for the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Borno State under the exceptional leadership of our mentor, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima.
The All Progressives Congress, APC, has proved to be an movement in Nigeria and that movement is driven by the philosophy of selflessness in service which our re-elected President, Muhammad Buhari (GCFR) embodies. President Buhari’s principles have without doubt contributed significantly in how the APC has won the hearts of Nigerian electorates and the goodwill of genuine friends and well wishers of our country, the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I am grateful to President Buhari for the inspiration he brought to bear on the APC and all of us who got the opportunities to aspire for public offices. I am grateful to our electorates from all parts of Borno State: from the south to the north and the central, who came out in defiance of inconveniences to cast massive votes for the APC.
Ladies and gentlemen, we all can bear testimony to the fact that the mobilization of votes for the APC in Borno State did not happen by accident. There is someone who began mobilization from the days he kept calling for citizens to register as voters to the times he sent all stakeholders to their various local government areas to go and mobilize citizens towards obtaining their permanent voters cards. That person did not stop at that, he was the chief campaigner and the chief planner of the APC’s campaign. He led us to various local government areas, driving day and night in leading our campaign.
While His Excellency led our campaign in one front, his very hard working wife and our first lady, Hajiya Nana Shettima equally led an all female campaign from another front. Mrs Shettima led women to all corners in mobilizing voters for our resounding victory. I am grateful to the first lady and all the women who either joined her campaign team, received her or supported the women campaign in whatever way. There were women who also joined the Governor’s campaign including traveling to the most difficult terrains. Women played very significant roles to the APC’s success.
Ladies and gentlemen, join me in thanking His Excellency, Governor Kashim Shettima and saluting him for his uncommon wisdom and strength which Allah destined in leading us to victory at all levels.
The 100 percent victory of the APC in Borno State could not have been possible without the sincere commitment of the leadership of our party. Ladies and gentlemen, in Nigeria’s political experience, we have had instances of party leaders selling off the chances of their party’s for their personal gains. We have seen instances of party leaders being moles of opponents to sabotage their parties. I am happy and proud to say that in the case of Borno State, the APC has enjoyed in Hon. Ali Bukar Dalori, a state chairman who has never and will never compromise the chances of any APC candidate for any personal gain. I should even say that Hon. Ali Bukar Dalori is a no-go-area for anyone that wants to undermine the APC. I am proud of our state chairman just as I am equally proud of all our state executives; all our local government executives and all our ward executives and party members. I am profoundly grateful to each and every party executive at all levels. I am profoundly grateful to each and every party stakeholder and member for the various contributions made to overwhelming victory of the APC. In the ranks of party leaders and members, I shall, insha’Allah, forever remember and be grateful to party members and supporters who unfortunately lost their lives or sustained injuries in the course of our political struggles. I particularly recall the incident along Ngala, the collapse of a pavilion at the Ramat square during our Presidential campaign and any other instance I may not have listed. The lives of every citizen is important to us and share the grief of those who lost their loved ones. May Allah grant the souls of the departed eternal rest and admit them to Aljanna.
Ladies and gentlemen, one of the secrets of our campaign was the impartial blessings we kept receiving from our Royal fathers. Without taking side, His Eminence the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Al-Amin Elkanemi, OFR, was of tremendous support to us. He guided us with his Divine wisdom. We acknowledge the support of their Royal Highnesses, the Shehu of Dikwa, the Shehu of Bama, Emir of Biu, Emir of Askira, Emir of Gwoza, Emir of Shani and Emir of Askira-Uba. Our royal fathers led by the Shehu, demonstrated non partisanship and resilience in their advocacies for Peaceful conduct of the 2019 February 23rd and March 9th elections.
I will also like to acknowledge and appreciate the Borno Elders Forum who have been the conscience of our societies. The late chairman of the Borno Elders Forum, Ambassador Gaji Galtimari, the forum’s secretary, Bulama Mali Gubio, Mni, all members of the forum contributed in different ways without being openly partisan. I am grateful to them and I once again commiserate with the forum over the death of Ambassador Galtimari and the Waziri of Bama,Alhaji Kyari Sandabe. We shall insha’Allah always put them in our prayers.
I will like to recall that our campaign trail depended on the support we received from security establishments from the military, the police, the DSS, the Civil Defence, our civilian JTF, vigilantes and other volunteers. Without being politically partisan, these heroes of Borno played major roles in preserving our democracy.
Permit me to also use this opportunity to express my deep appreciation to representatives of Borno State at the National and State Assemblies from those serving to those newly elected.
I once again Congratulate all our newly elected national and state assembly members. I Congratulate His Excellency, Governor Kashim Shettima for his victory at Senatorial election. I once again congratulate Senators Mohammed Ali Ndume and Abubakar Kyari for their reelection. I Congratulate all our ten reelected and elected members of the House of Representatives and our 28 reelected and elected members of the Borno State House of Assembly. I Congratulate all of them and thank them for their support towards our electoral victory.
I am grateful to my friends and former colleagues in the Borno State Executive Council for their solidarity and support in ensuring victory.
Perhaps I should not forget to express my gratitude to my family and relations for their love, understanding and unflinching support throughout the electioneering period. I recognize and appreciate the support of my friends and close aides for standing by me throughout the political struggle.
I will to like to say that even from the beginning, members of the business community in Borno State stood with us and for us. At individual and group levels, business men and women from different entities threw their weight behind us and for which I am overwhelmed with gratitude to all of them.
I will also like to place on record, my sincere appreciation to the energetic young men and women of Borno who through various platforms such as the social media, house-to-house campaign initiatives, cultural and professional associations all contributed tremendously to this victory we are celebrating.
Let me reassure all the people of Borno State that their mandate of trust means so much to me.
Insha’Allah, I will remain highly committed to building and improving on all the institutional gains already laid by His Excellency, Governor Kashim Shettima, particularly his rebuilding and re-settlement drives.
Our administration of continuity will place security of lives at the top of all priorities. After all, the number one essence of government it to secure lives and create an atmosphere where citizens are not only safe but they actually feel safe.
Insha’Allah, we shall attach similar priority to provision of infrastructure and to rejuvenate the economy of the state. We will build the capacity of more youths and create more jobs for them. We will increase access to public healthcare, quality and affordable education. We will strengthen agriculture to create verse opportunities.
As someone who has had the privilege of being part of Governor Kashim Shettima’s success story in Borno State, I do acknowledge that achieving all these tasks I listed, will not be easy. Resources as scarce and needs of societies compete. However, I believe that where there is a sincere will, there will always be options to find the ways. We all have responsibilities towards the rebuilding of Borno State. By we, I mean every resident of Borno across party lines.
I shall be willing to work with everyone, including those who contested with us. I believe that what works better is cooperation rather than confrontation. We have seen this in the success story of Governor Kashim Shettima both in his governance and his politics. Politics without bitterness is the most ideal way to go, particularly in our kind of society that has suffered long years of tragic challenges. We need to work together as one family.
It is universal that politics involves disagreements whether on principles, ideologies or in trying to get the votes. Politics is a contest and grievances do emanate from contests.
Ladies and gentlemen, the 2019 elections are over. It is time to heal wounds and forge ahead to insha’Allah, a brighter future. I will like to appeal to all my fellow APC members who may have felt aggrieved, to please bury their grievances in the interest of Borno and its people. All over the world, even in the most advanced democracies, political parties still battle with challenges of Internal democracy. No system is ever perfect. Let us work together to improve the internal democracy of the APC to create opportunities for party members.
Beyond the APC, I invite and extend a hand of partnership to our opponents during the election contest, especially Alhaji Mohammed Imam of the PDP. Notwithstanding the margin in the governorship results, we should acknowledge and respect that Alhaji Mohammed Imam fought a good fight. I should also say that he exhibited some level of maturity in his choice of words during campaigns. He was not vicious in his comments and that is commendable. I invite all our opponents during the election to eschew bitterness so that we join hands together to continue the efforts already laid, in our collective obligations to fully restore the glory of Borno State so we regain our creed of being the Home of Peace.
Fellow citizens of Borno State, I will on a final note like to say, that no matter our passion and commitment, Allah will at the end, decide what happens. I appeal to all of you to constantly put us in your individual and group prayers. I besiege you to pray all the time that Allah guides us to be the kind of leaders that will justify your overwhelming mandate. On our path, I assure you that insha’Allah, we shall not betray the covenant of trust that binds us together. Bi iznillah, we will work for Borno and as I said earlier, I invite everyone to join me in the task ahead of us.
Long Live our dear Borno State!
Long Live our country, Nigeria!