It is an understatement to posit that the configuration of Borno State in terms of senatorial zones, federal and state constituencies has placed the Southern Senatorial zone of Borno at a serious disadvantage. Complacency during successive local government creation/reform exercises (the defunct Biu NA actually resisted being broken into more LGAs in 1976), national population censuses and “fate” literally conspired to leave the Region with one senatorial district out of three and also three (3) members out of the ten (10) federal house representatives from the State.

The composition of the state assembly takes a similar pattern. Such is the inherent mould that shapes the South’s political fortunes. Undoubtedly, this scenario continues to pose serious challenges to the people’s aspirations for equity in the affairs of the state, given the fact that Nigeria’s democracy is about “winner takes all”. It is In fact a zero-sum game.

Thus, until such a time that political education and awareness have had reasonable impact on the electorate as obtained in UK where whites elected Rishi Sunak, an Indian as PM and Obama a black man in the USA, in Nigeria the contest for power shall be dictated by ethnicity and religion in the foreseeable future, unfortunately. It would therefore need pragmatism and strategic alliances for Southern Borno to prevail politically. And the reasons are not far fetched.

The voter-strength of Southern Borno going by the 2006 census figures had left much to be desired. Incidentally it is from these figures that extrapolations/projections/estimations are made regarding electoral matters. A reality that is contrary to what is being bandied around by social media “activists” that the zone has what it takes to single handedly win the number one seat in the state.

According to the gazetted 2006 census Borno has 4,171,194 (roughly 4.2 million) souls.The nine (9) LGAs in the South weighed in at 1,252 678 (about 1.3) million as per the breakdown below;

  1. .Askira/Uba = 143,313
  2. Bayo = 79,078
  3. Biu = 175,760
  4. Chibok = 66,333
  5. Damboa = 233,200
  6. Gwoza = 276,56
  7. Hawul = 120,733
  8. K/Kusar = 56,704
  9. Shani =100,989.

The total population therefore as indicated earlier is 1.2 million or approximately 1.3. This leaves the two homogeneous Central and Northern Borno senatorial zones with 2.9 millon (roughly 3 million) population. And it is from these official figures that the population growth over time as well as voter segments are projected and derived respectively.

With this stark reality one wonders how Southern Borno’s quest for “equal rights and justice” (curtesy Peter Tosh) could be achieved through solo political moves as advocated in some quarters. Such patriots are quick to point to the large number of Southern Borno residents in the state capital Maiduguri but forgot that there are large sympathisers and/or persons of Northern/Central extrapolation living in parts of Damboa and others too. Besides the impacts of common faith can not be totally discounted. So in comperative terms, the voter strength would remain roughly in the ratio of 1:3, plus or minus. Until there is a new census, that may establish otherwise, the electoral process in Nigeria shall be guided by these variables.

The essence of this analysis is to say Southern Borno politicians, activists and lovers of equity and peace should be guided by the need for political alliance and strategic partnership through which a winning margin could be realised. There are many liberal Kanuri and Shuwa who understand and are prepared to work with Southern Borno people. Late Asheik Jarma did it with Birma Umar Sanda of blessed memory. Amb.Saidu went far through alliance before he was prevailed upon to deputise for Muhammad Goni. Ali Pindar Kwajaffah almost became the Maiduguri Metropolitan Council Chairmanship through political engagements across board.

These were lessons that one hopes would be the guiding principles of the ground swell of political awareness sweeping across Southern Borno. Politics is a gayme and as such tactics and strategy matter. We can afford to be wiser.
_A.G. Abubakar


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