With less than 20 days to National Assembly elections, the battle for the seats of Borno State in the both chambers is seriously heating up the political space of the state, especially in the state capital and some local government areas that are accessible.
One peculiar issue with elections in Borno since the Boko Haram uprising, which created Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps, and made some local government areas not habitable, is that elections are conducted within the camps, the capital city and in the local government areas that peace has returned and IDPs resettled back by the government.
Already, the campaign trains of most of the political parties are already taking turns to visit some of the local government areas with promise of better days to come.
However, while the campaigns and the elections are gathering momentum, one sure thing political pundits have said is that some suprises will emerge at the end of the elections.
As a matter of fact, some of the thinkers are of the opinion that the track records of the candidates will determine their performance at polls, and not necessarily the fact that the state is being governed by the party at the centre, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
According to them, apart from the governorship position, which opinions said the candidature of Professor Babagana Umara Zulum of the APC might clinch due to his track record through the ministry of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Ressettlement, which took him round the state and endeared him to the hearts of the electorates, all other candidates, the party might field are vulnerable to defeat by either, the people’s Democratic Party (PDP), the main opposition in the state or any other party depending on the popularity of the candidates.
This is not to say that the major challenger of Professor Zulum for the governorship election , Alhaji Muhammad Imam is not a threat. As a matter of fact, Imam have command of youths in the state and has always been the fear of the ruling party at elections.
For instance, in 2011, the then governor of the state on the platform of the then defunct All Nigerians People’s Party ( ANPP ) , senator Ali Modu Sheriff , despite succeeding in making his preferred candidate, the present governor of Borno state , Kashim Shettima to clinch the governoship seat, which he is rounding off, Sheriff lost his Senatorial ambition, to an unpopular candidate of the opposition people’s Democratic Party (PDP), Ahmed Zanna Mustapha who never had a serious campaign for his election, this pundits described as a protest vote, of which Borno electorates are known for.
And that played out in some of the seats for the House of Representatives and even State Assembly in the 2011 elections especially , with the National and state Assembly seats in the Borno Central. The National Assembly and state Assembly seats in the Borno Central was swept away then by the opposition PDP to the detriment of the then ruling ANPP.
Thus , in the 2019 election for the soul of Borno Central at the National Assembly , the battle for the seat is going be a tussle between the incubent governor of Borno state, Kashim Shettima for the APC , and a former Senator and former aide to late president Umar Musa Yar’adua , Mohammed Abba-Aji.
Though, Abba-Aji, was then in 2007 , a member of the then ruling PDP , but defected to the APC where he earlier declared his intention to vye the governoship seat of Borno in the 2019 gubernatorial election, before backing out and defected back to his former party, the PDP and picked the Borno Central senatorial district ticket of the party to battle the incubent governor, Kashim Shettima, who picked APC ticket for the said election.
Notwithstanding that the PDP in Borno is factionalized between Usman Baderi faction and the Zanna Gadama faction, candidates of the zanna Gadama faction which senator Abba-Aji belongs, and picked the ticket are in the Independent National Electoral Commision’s ( INEC ) list recently released to the members of the public, haven recorgnised the primary elections conducted by the faction.
So being that the contest which had already been predicted by Political pundits in the state, to be the second hot battle after the governorship election in the Borno 2019 elections, that will see the former aide to late president Yar’adua on National Assembly matters, who was a former senator , selling his achievements during his former days to the Borno Central electorates for votes.
While the incubent governor, Kashim Shettima, in addition to the machine of incubency, is already assembling his records of achievements in the past 7 and half years, which include various expansive modern mega schoools scatred strategically in the state, with the massive reconstruction of destroyed structures within the state by the boko haram terrorists ,as well as ongoing road construction and projects in both the central Borno senatorial district and other parts of the insurgency troubled state .
Therefore, in less than 20 days to come, the two gladiators will test their might and influence on the electorates for the Borno Central senatorial seat at the National Assembly.
Not left out in the battle for the soul of Borno Central to the National Assembly is the contest for the seat of Borno Central for the House of Representatives ,between the famous Maiduguri Metropolitan Council ( MMC) boy, presently representing MMC at National Assembly, Allhaji Abdulkadir Rahis for the APC, and the new face of MMC politics, Mr Abdulsalam Kachalla ,popularly known as “bomboy” by admirers, for the PDP.
While Hon kadir Rahis is banking on his membership of the ruling APC in the state and his popularity among the youths in the state, the Young Kachalla ( bomboy ), will be banking on sudden popularity he is gaining everyday even among youths and some elders in the zone.
As if bearing in mind that he has much to do to unseat kadir for the seat as an incubent, Abdulsalam Kachalla’s Campaign machinery has been so visible ,as the campaign train keeps roving round the MMC and environs ,soliciting for votes from electorates ahead of the election.
Another fierce contest for the 2019 general elections in Borno, is that of southern Borno Senatorial District, where senator Ali Ndume of the APC will be slugging it out with Kudla Satumari of the PDP.
In the election ,while senator Ali Ndume will be banking on his incubency at the National Assembly and his years of representation, as well as political experience , Kudla Satumari will be banking on the yearning of the people, whether to continue with Ndume who has been doing his best for the Senatorial zone or desire for change of representation .
Satumari too , like his MMC counterpart is not relenting on his mobilization of supporters for a possible dethroning of Ndume, which will definitely be a huge task . Either Ndume or Satumari, the conscience of the electorates from the zone will direct them come February 16, 2019, on the direction to follow.
As for the northern Borno Senatorial District, the contest is between the northern Borno ” Ajebo” big boy, senator Abubakar Kyari of the APC , a serving senator ,representing northern Borno senatorial district at the Senate, and PDP’s Hon.Isah Lawan Kangar.
Senator Abu Kyari , as he is fondly called, is among the 14 governorship aspirants that stepped down their governoship ambitions for Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, for the APC governoship ticket in Borno.
Shortly after stepping down for Professor Zulum, Senator Kyari quickly declared his ambition to return to the Senate after presenting his normination of interest form to the party.
Even though his emergence is presently a subject of litigation at the federal High Court Maiduguri , where the APC woman leader in Borno, Fati Kakenna who contested the Senatorial primary election with Kyari ,is asking the Court to disqualify Kyari and declare her the winner of the primary election , on the ground that Kyari who earlier obtained form for governorship seat cannot come back to contest the Party’s senatorial primary with her.
Kangar of the PDP on the other hand contested the primary election with Kyari and Kakenna under the APC , but quickly after the primary, defected to PDP and obtained the party’s Primary ticket to contest for the northern Borno senatorial seat . Though PDP in Borno is factionalized, kangar is in the faction of Zanna Gadama faction of the PDP presently recorgnised by the INEC.
So, the election for the northern Borno senatorial district will be determined by support to Kyari from the ruling APC, haven sacrificed his governorship ambition ,by agreeing to step down for Professor Zulum, as well as political experience from the National Assembly, and level of acceptance of the candidates before the electorates . Also, the fight between Kyari and Kakenna in the court , if not well managed will be a boost to the candidate of the opposition PDP in the election.
There are a number of other contituences that might spring suprises in the forthcoming election ,and this will be decided on the strengths and weeknesses of candidates than political party affliation.
This is owing to the fact that electorates ,haven tasted the hardship associated with the boko haram insurgency , seen to be more conscious, as the way to make choice of candidates.
As time keeps ticking towards the election days , the various Political parties especially, the major parties are busy meeting social, religious , youth groups among others to seal a deal for votes.
The word, major political parties used, is because some others are merely existing by name and not visible or campaigning in the state, even at this critical time.