At last Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State can now heave a sigh of relief, having been vindicated recently by the Supreme Court, which affirmed his victory in the April 26, 2011 governorship election in the state. The judgement was followed by massive celebrations in Maiduguri, the state capital, especially the areas that are noted as the strong hold of the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) in the state. The scenario according to observers is not different in all the 27 local government areas of the state.
Also, congratulatory messages, sponsored by local government chairmen, corporate organisations and individuals have dominated both local radio and television in the state, all in celebration of Kashim’s victory at the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, on the side of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, the Supreme Court Judgement, which was not in its favour hit them like a thunder bolt because they never expected the judgement to go that way. Many of the stalwarts of the party in the state, who spoke to LEADERSHIP on the condition of anonymity said, the judgement was unfair alleging fowl play in the whole exercise.
The state secretariat of the PDP was like a grave yard immediately after the apex court’s judgement, as everywhere was deserted, except few party thugs hanging around the premises. One of them who managed to speak said, “You can’t meet anybody here.
We are tired of this party call PDP in Borno. Many of us said we are going to leave the party because the leaders of the party here in Borno are not serious, and that’s why the ANPP has been winning them.”
“Look at this case now, we have lost it. My brother we are not happy at all as the judgement didn’t favour us”.
However, it would be recalled that, the court case against Shettima, which started from the election petition tribunal in Maiduguri was subsequently relocated to Abuja due to prevailing security challenges in Borno.
To ensure that his mandate was not usurped from him, the ANPP and its standard bearer, Governor Kashim had challenged the decision of the court of appeal that ordered a retrial of governorship petition by setting up a new panel.
Until now, the fate of Kashim has been unpredictable on whether the case would be in his favour or not. But the Borno state secretary to the government, Ambassador Ahmed Jidah, who is overwhelmed with the judgement of the Supreme Court, opined that the ruling was very much expected, adding that, the apex court had once again strengthened Nigerians’ confidence in the judiciary.
The ambassador regretted that the People Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in April 26 governorship election in the state, Alhaji Muhammadu Goni, was misled by his party top-shots in going to court so that he could be ridiculed.
“Imagine somebody at the age of 70 years contesting governorship election. I have advised him severally as a senior brother not to contest but Goni insisted; now, look at where it has landed him, due to wrong advices by some people”, the SSG said.
The SSG reiterated that ANPP had no cause to contemplate losing the case because, during the election, the party did very well, to the extent that, they had a difference of over 80,000 votes between the ANPP and PDP”.
Meanwhile, Governor Shettima has noted that the appeal at the Court of Appeal and that of Supreme Court was a big challenge to the state government.
Speaking through is commissioner for information Mr. Inuwa Bwala, the governor said, government would not relent in its transformation agenda, as well as providing more dividends of democracy to the people. He said that his victory at the Supreme Court would better the lot of the people of the state.