Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State, in a chat with journalists on the sidelines of the Extraordinary Summit of the Conference of Sahel-Saharan States, CEN –SAD in N’Djamena, Chad on Saturday, April 13,2019, addresses the relevance of the event. On the domestic front, he speaks about the need for All Progressives Congress, APC politicians to remain supportive of the aspirations of President Muhammadu Buhari and the party.Though the Governor admits that appreciable progress has been made in the battle against terrorism, he says Boko Haram has not been finally crushed. The Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Newsdiaryonline, Danlami Nmodu,mni was there.#TrackNigeria –Excerpts:
Q:You are leading one of the frontline states as far as terrorism,insurgency and displacement of IDPs are concerned and this conference is all about security.How significant is Nigeria’s participation?
A: Sadly,we are in the axis of the Boko Haram insurgency.In fact, the nerve-cetrre is in the north east of Nigeria.I think we have to pay tribute to Mr President for attending this conference fundamentally because, this is something that affects the entire Sahel and Saharan region of Africa. And most importantly, there can never be development without security and there can never be security without development.The beauty of this conference is that they are adopting a very holistic approach towards addressing the whole challenges of insecurity bedeviling the region. And we believe that they will come out with far-reaching solutions to the challenges confronting us as a people.
Q:So what are your expectations?
A: My expectations are high.My expectations are, they will come out with a very robust security architecture that will address some of the fundamental challenges we are facing in the sub-region which through the joint efforts of the Multinational Joint Task Force, they have already started addressing it, especially along the shores of the Lake Chad.I think they deserve commendation, not condemnation.They deserve to be applauded,but a lot still needs to be done to nip in the bud, this war.
Q: So what is the present situation as far as Borno State is concerned?
A: Borno state, appreciable progress has been made.But none but a fool will harbor the illusion that the demented monsters, called Boko Haram, have been finally crushed. They are still there in the hinterland wreaking havoc.But believe me, alot has been accomplished.And with sustained efforts.. we believe that in the not too distant future, they will be consigned to the dustbin of history.But concerted effort is required, not only in one country, but across the entire Sahelian region from Mali, down to Algeria,down to Libya, up to Cameroon, Niger,Chad, concerted efforts.It’s not an issue that can be restricted to a single nation.It’s a cancer that has permeated the entire Sahelian and sub-saharan region of Africa.
Q:And the fact that it (Boko Haram crisis) has lingered this far,how would you rate the cooperation of neighbouring countries, especially with you at the nerve-centre of the crisis?
A: It takes two to tango.It is not proper for me to make pronouncement on the cooperation or non-cooperation of neighbouring nations because it’s within the province of the Federal authority to make such pronouncement.But as far as I can see, I have seen Chadian troops working with the Multinational Joint Task Force.I have seen Nigerien troops.So seeing is believing.The ground reality is that they are working.But a lot still needs to be done because Borno is the largest state in Nigeria, in terms of land mass.The north eastern subregion encompasses one-third of the total landmass of Nigeria.So to cover such a huge landmass with all the other contending challenges in the north west subregion, in the north central, in the south south, I think Nigerian Army deserves commendation.
Q: (Let’s digress) a little bit. As incoming senator elect,we want to know the position of members -elect of the national Assembly (from) Borno vis-à-vis the election of new leadership for the ninth National Assembly.
A: Well as far as Borno is concerned, we are in alignment with the aspiration of Mr.President and of our party. Whoever the Party endorses for any position, we would solidly stand behind such a person, because party discipline is absolutely essential for the sustenability of our democratic experiment.If everyone is to vote according to his own free will,believe me,it’s recipe for disaster,or confusion.So we have to align ourselves with the aspirations of Mr President and let it be said that a lot of us from the north, we tied ourselves to the apron strings of Mr President and came to the Senate and the House of Representatives.There are climes in Nigeria where people won(elections) because of Buhari and there are climes where people won in spite of Buhari.That should be at the back of our minds as we make informed decisions based on the resolutions of our party and the aspiration of the Centre; because there has to be a harmonious relationship between the executive and the legislative arms of the government and the judiciary as well because our level of advancement as a democratic nation, we have not reached a level whereby there will be unfettered (approach); there won’t be any influence and all those stuff.No even in advanced democracies, there are subtle influences of different arms of the government on each other… We used platforms, we did not come into the National Assembly as Independent candidates.No, we came in under the platform of a political party and we should be reasonable and honourable enough to align ourselves with the aspirations of our parties.