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Why Borno South is yet to produce governor 39 years after – Usman

What do you want to achieve with the Southern Borno Movement?We formed it to carry all our people along in the zone in our renewed…

What do you want to achieve with the Southern Borno Movement?
We formed it to carry all our people along in the zone in our renewed effort to govern the state because since its creation in 1976, we the people of the southern part have not governed Borno State. In this movement we have people, like Engineer Mohammed who was a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Hajiya Inna Maryam Ciroma who was also an ex-minister, the current Minister of Power, Mohammed Wakil, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume and other members of the National Assembly.
We also have representatives of all the political parties at the local government level because they are the grassroots politicians.  We have meetings with them and they told us they are very happy with the development and that if we can push it forward they will love it.
You know the governor of a state has the political power in his hands. And political power as you are aware is the major instrument that can be used in reducing poverty or in creating jobs or job opportunities or in fact in creating wealth for the citizenry . Most importantly, it places the holder of that power in a vantage position to provide the answer to the vital question of who gets what, when, how and why.
Of course that reason is why as at today, apart from the few citizens of Southern Borno who had the opportunity of working in big companies or organisations outside the state, most of the people are poor or at best  “just there “ because of lack of opportunity to enjoy the largesse from the power holder.
 If you look at it, up to 70 per cent of the civil service workers in the state come from southern Borno, yet leadership has eluded us in terms of governorship position all these years. Three governors have come from northern Borno, three governors from central but none so far from the south, so obviously it has affected us negatively.
Why are you people targeting 2019 instead of 2015?
It is too late; don’t forget that there is the present governor who is from central Borno he has already done his first term and he is now working for his second term. Also, we need his support for this project. Power shift is not something that we will get on a platter of gold; you have to work for it. It’s not something that people will give you willingly. Look at what is happening to northern Nigeria when we decided to give power to the southern part of the country. So this is the thing that is playing out, we have to work for it and when things don’t work out then we have to re-strategise.
Why not now, is it that you don’t have qualified people or why?
Is not that we don’t have qualified people, we have just like the other zones of the state. But don’t forget democracy is a game of numbers and don’t also forget that whether we believe it or not there is a lot of hanky-panky when it comes to population issue of census and so on and you find out that when it comes to census most local governments in southern Borno are short changed in the census, for example there was a local government in southern Borno which population 10 years ago is still the same today.
It is not that we the people of Borno south are sleeping when other zones are governing the state, no, there are other issues, don’t forget that politics is not only a question of numbers but also a question of resources and also it is unfortunate that a lot of people from southern Borno when it comes to poverty level they are down the ladder and I think that might have affected our chances.
Do you mean Borno south is the poorest senatorial district in the state?
I wouldn’t say so. When we say poor we have to qualify it. For example we have potentials in terms of agricultural development and once you have potential in agriculture you are no more poor and when you have potential in human resources and highly educated people you cannot also say you are poor.  But the people of other zones are better than us; they have people who can support them to sponsor governorship campaigns.
You people have been holding the position of deputy governor for long. Has this not impacted on your area?
I will tell you frankly that the deputy governor’s position in any state is a very useless position. They don’t have any power; the governor at any time can mess them up and that is what has been happening. As such whatever they want to do is at the pleasure of the governor. The current governor has done very well in that regard I must say. He empowered his deputy, Zanna Umar Mustapha, reasonably well – this is what I have observed. Because there was clamouring from his people that he has empowered his deputy and so on. He told them ‘look if I fall dead today it is my deputy that will take over therefore I must empower him,’ and I believe that is a good statement. But for other people I don’t think they have done that, like Ali Modu Sheriff,  he has never empowered his deputy, Adamu Shettima Dibal.
How is this insurgency affecting people from southern Borno?
It is really affecting us seriously. Generally southern Borno is agrarian; therefore a lot of our people are farmers because of our fertile lands. But with what is going on now, a lot of people are afraid to even go to the farms. The Boko Haram people have gone to the farms and killed people, so that has affected us very much.
When talking about agriculture you have to connect it with transportation and with the insurgency, the roads are not accessible. And whether we like it or not this insurgency started as a result of poverty and low literacy level and lack of enlightenment. When a person has nothing to do and someone gives him money and asked him to join him and do certain things it is very much likely that he will join, that is what happened in Borno State generally, I am not talking about a particular zone.
Chibok, where over 200 schoolgirls were abducted is one of the local government areas in Borno South. How disturbed are you?
Releasing the Chibok girls has become more of a national issue than a local issue, we don’t have the capacity and the federal has failed woefully in that regard. Media tend to emphasize more on the Chibok girls forgetting hundreds of people killed by the Boko Haram people. The Chibok girls just brought to limelight some of the problems we are facing but hundreds of people have died. So we have to look at it holistically not just the release of the Chibok girls it has to go beyond that; we have to get peace and tranquillity in the whole of the region.
INEC postponed the general elections over the security situation in the North-east, do you think elections cannot hold in your area?
Election can hold in our area, the postponement of the election I think was because they were scared of losing the election. INEC has told us the quantum of people that have received their permanent voters cards, we had the highest in the country, even if it is only 20 million that will vote let the majority of them go to the polls and choose who they want. And even in our area a lot of people have collected their PVCs, so this is not a problem.

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