By Abdallah el-Kurebe, Editor
#TrackNigeria: Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno state on Tuesday said the All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders as well as stakeholders will not afford to make two mistakes ahead of the general elections scheduled to begin in February.
He spoke when he inaugurated the APC Campaign Council and different committees tasked with various activities in Maiduguri.
“There are two mistakes we should never make. The first mistake will be to underestimate our opponents in any party. There are those who assume that I, Kashim Shettima underrates opponents. They say so because they don’t know me well enough. I do not underrate opponents. What I do is to foresee opponents and neutralize them long before the contest. There were those who thought I was being naive by the way we have been handling things but as Allah would ordain it, the more they underestimate us, the more we succeed. And we succeed without being arrogant. We recognize that no one succeeds alone. So, I do not underrate opponents. In fact, I overestimate them and that is why I start working well ahead.
“Ladies and gentlemen, even with the immense popularity of President Buhari, I want us to campaign vigorously and mobilize votes for him. I also want us to know, that helping Buhari will not limited to getting him serious votes. It will also entail mobilizing and working legally to deny his opponents votes in the state. The second mistake we should never make is for anyone to nurse the intention of working against an APC candidate in anyway. As stake-holders you should bear in mind that, your political reputation will lie with your collaborative effort to win all elections within your area.
“For instance, loosing MMC, Chibok, Hawul, Askira Uba, Biu or anywhere to PDP will only make stake-holders from these local government areas to loose the legitimacy of bargaining for any political privileges within the APC in Borno State. More over, you should always bear in minds that electorates are not robots that you tell to vote APC in one ballot paper and vote PDP in another ballot paper. From history, anti party activities are never hidden and they have unpredictable outcomes. And I think one question we should wonder is what if we work against any of our candidates and yet he or she wins? When you work against someone as he or she wins an election, it automatically means that you are not relevant. I think it is wiser to help someone you disagree with to win the election so that at least, you have something to boast before such person. I have sounded these notes of caution not based on any particular realities but based on hypothetical possibilities that are inherent in Borno’s democratic experiences.
“I urge all of us to bury whatever grievances we have and work together. There are some candidates who were angered in 2015 after losing out. Today, they are flag bearers of our party. I urge us to work for each other. We should always remember that the APC is a vehicle on a journey with all of us on board. When a vehicle is moving with you, it will be suicidal to remove any part of that vehicle otherwise everyone will crash. Perhaps the person who removes the part of the moving vehicle, could be the first casualty. Allah Ya kiyaye!” the Governor said.
Shettima condoled the families over the collapse of an pavilion at Ramat Square, during the APC Presidential and governorship campaign rally attended by President Muhammadu Buhari in Maiduguri last week Monday.
“I will like to once again, extend our heartfelt grief over the tragic collapse of a pavilion at the Ramat square during the campaign rally. As we know, the collapse was due to high number of people some of whom took the adventurous risk of climbing the roof top. The initial brief I received from the honourable Commissioner of health the night of the incident, was that no death was recorded.
“The Commissioner also said the injuries were sustained by a number of persons and majority had been treated and discharged. Apparently the situation was worse since we later lost one or two persons. The Deputy Governor and our governorship candidate, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, had on our behalf, visited hospitals to commiserate with those affected.
“We mourn the demise of these fellow citizens and great supporters of the President and our party. We share the pains of their loved ones. We equally wish those injured a very speedy and full recovery” Shettima said.
The Governor however appealed to aggrieved members of the party reflect on the tragic incident at the rally to see the need to forgive one another.
“I think the tragic incident at Ramat Square last week should send a message to all of us. I am aware that a number of us have various degrees of grievances. Some complain about failed ambitions. Some complain about appointments, some about contracts. Some of those who have been elected or appointed even complain about the offices they occupy or certain expectations they had.
“Yet, there we had party supporters not known to most of us. People who probably transported themselves to Ramat Square. People who probably never met any of us here not to talk of being at the Government House. They simply were ardent supporters of our party. We invited them. They came and they died supporting our party. We didn’t even know them before they died for the party.
“That singular incident should make all of us here grateful to Allah for the opportunities He has given us to serve our people while earning our living. We should be grateful. And part of our gratitude will be to double our efforts in helping fellow citizens we come across. We must make it our duty to help our party supporters especially those at lower levels. Some of these people give their lives in support of the party as we saw last week.
“Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, it will also form part of our gratitude to forgive one another and work together for our party. For those of us being inaugurated as members of the campaign council, I will like us to make it our duty to see ourselves as being lower than our members and supporters, the electorates.
“Those of us being inaugurated should see it as responsibility to persuade all other stake-holders, all party members, all party supporters and all citizens. Every member of the campaign council should regard his or herself as a marketer that is out to sell brands.
“These brands are our candidates for Presidential, Governorship, National and State Assembly elections on February 16 and March 2nd, 2019” Shettima said.