The Shehu of Borno, Abubakar Garbai Elkanemi, has called on politicians seeking to become governors of Borno to develop policies and programmes that would create jobs for unemployed youth and also fix the ruined public infrastructure in the state.
The foremost monarch said the Boko Haram insurgency has not only taken a devastating toll on the lives of Borno people but has also left the public infrastructures in bad state of disrepair.
The Shehu, who made this call yesterday, when he received one of the governorship aspirants in the state, Mr Kashim-Ibrahim Imam, who paid a homage visit to his palace, said people seeking public offices must prioritise the rebuilding of Borno above any other concern.
Mr Imam, a two-time governorship candidate of the opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) before he defected in 2011, is one among the over 20 aspirants angling to succeed the outgoing Governor Kashim Shettima, whose eight-year-term ends on 29th May, 2019.
The top All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain was at the palace to inform the monarch about his 2019 governorship aspiration.
Speaking in his palace, the Shehu said being the Mutawalli (finance minister) of Borno, the aspirant should distinguish himself as a worthy ambassador of the people, adding that Mr Imam has been supportive to the traditional chiefs and the good people of Borno even as a private citizen in the past years.
“The palace and good people of Borno are indeed very happy with your aspiration and wish you all the best in your campaign. Since your assumption of office as the Mutawalli many years ago, you have not only supported us at all times but your philanthropic gestures have been legendary. You have always reached out to us during the Ramadan and other Sallah celebrations, and you have shared in our times of joy and occasions of sorrow.
“Apart from that, you are also the brain behind the completion of our grand central mosque that before now, had been in the state of incompletion for over 30 years; but when you donated the huge sum of N200 million in 2011, the completion effort started and today, with the ample support of the state government, the mosque is fully completed.”
The Shehu of Borno however, expressed worry over the state of joblessness, lack of infrastructure and general insecurity in the crisis-plagued state.
Continuing he said: “We need you to look at the general state of dilapidation of critical infrastructures like roads and public buildings around our state. From Maiduguri to Magumeri, to Mobbar, Abadam, from Dikwa to Kala-Balge, from Maiduguri to Bama up to Gwoza; from Maiduguri through Damboa up to Biu up to Shani, from Dikwa to Gamboru-Ngala and to Marte; from Monguno to Kukawa and so on, all the roads are in the state of disrepair. Our people are suffering and the insurgency has made it worse.
“Kindly look at these critical infrastructures and also look at the issue of job creation and employment for our youths so that they will not be lured into imbibing the alien culture of Boko Haram that have encroached into our land,” said the monarch.
Earlier, Mr Imam said his vision for Borno is hinged on three thematic areas, which cut across education for all, job creation and reconstruction of Borno State.
Imam added that: “if we are given the mandate and with the blessings of the Royal Palace, we shall convene a critical stakeholders’ conference from where we are going to first take stock of our losses, both human and infrastructure, then call for donor conference here in Maiduguri, then at the national level and then at the international level.
“We are also going to tackle the problem of lack of education and the economy. It is the poor economy and lack of education that gave birth to Boko Haram and not even religion or its extremism as is being perceived,” he said.
The APC chieftain said his campaign team would also mobilise support for the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to him, Buhari does not need to campaign in the states of northeast Nigeria, especially Borno, to win the 2019 presidential election.
Though Borno and other parts of the northeast are still being plagued with cases of daring attacks by Boko Haram gunmen, which accounted for hundreds of soldiers being killed, Mr Imam said credit should be given to President Buhari’s government for “degrading the Boko Haram insurgency “and restoring security in the troubled sub-region.
“The president, Muhammadu Buhari, does not need to campaign anywhere in the northeast especially here in Borno to win the 2019 election. As far as we are concerned, the president is here for the people of Borno, first and secondly for the northeast and then thirdly for all Nigerians. And it is certain that one area of achievement that one cannot take away from the president is the successes that have been recorded in the area of security.
“The president has given leadership; he has delivered on his commitment to the people of Nigeria, the northeast and the people of Borno by bringing peace and security to our different communities.
“He has done so well, and people have to understand why the Northeast is being described as the president’s support territory. It takes only the people of the northeast, who have seen it all, to appreciate the president’s achievement in the area of security.
“We want to assure the president that he does not need to campaign in the northeast to win his reelection come 2019.
While we thank the president for helping us to win the war; we also express our gratitude as a people to our governor, Kashim Shettima, who has also won the peace,” he added.