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Why Tinubu will defeat Atiku in N/East — Borno dep. speaker

Engineer Abdullahi Askira is the current deputy speaker of Borno State House of Assembly. In this interview, he speaks on how he started his political…

Engineer Abdullahi Askira is the current deputy speaker of Borno State House of Assembly. In this interview, he speaks on how he started his political career, the APC’s chances in next year’s election and factors in favour of Tinubu/Shettima. Excerpt:

 

There seems to be a crack in the Borno State chapter of the APC ahead of next year’s polls. Are you not concerned? 

You see in the southern zone, if I tell you that there is no PDP, I am not honest. There is PDP, but since the emergence of APC government, they have never won a councillorship, let alone chairmanship. Go to the INEC office; the results are there. PDP never won a local government in Borno State. PDP in the state is not a threat to our victory; even in the North East, APC will win Atiku with a landslide. So they are losers, they always make an effort, a noise, but I assure you that we don’t have fear over the PDP winning elections. The candidates matter a lot. Senator Ali Ndume has been there three times now. For me, as deputy speaker of the assembly and as a politician, PDP is not a threat in Borno State but in Adamawa State, they are strong looking at it from 1999 to date. But PDP has never won Borno State. Just like Lagos State, we have things in common. From 2015 till date, PDP has not won a seat in Borno State.

But some members of the APC are aggrieved following the outcome of the primaries.  Are you not worried they could work against the party?

The little crisis you talked about is in-house; it is a family affair and it can be settled. The party had started reaching out to some aggrieved members. Fortunately, ours has been managed so well that you can’t hear it in the news because we have a governor who listens to everyone. If there are one or two aggrieved members, the party will address it before the election. 

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The PDP’s governorship candidate has vowed to dislodge Governor Zulum at the poll. What do you make of this? 

Even the PDP members know they don’t have a candidate. Go to the streets and conduct some interviews about him; nobody knows him. In politics, names go a long way, so we don’t see PDP candidates as a threat. Even at the national level, they were there in 2019 but we beat them down. So we are waiting for them to come up again, and we will beat them again. I believe PDP could have changed its strategy by now. If your product is not saleable, you change it. Like southern Borno, someone you beat twice and is coming again, what do you expect? It is the same treatment he will receive. So, when you are talking about Zulum, it is no go area for them. Gov. Babagana Zulum is a performer and he is committed to helping our people regain their lost glory. We are happy to have Prof. Zulum as our governor. This administration has rebuilt and resettled many communities; IDPs are now being resettled and he is developing our economy and putting us on the path of greatness. So Zulum’s re-election is a walk-over.  

Many have said the APC has failed in governance and has no reason to retain power in 2023. What is your take? 

We have done well in terms of infrastructure, tackling insecurity and others, so we are going to win all our elective positions in the general election. Politics is a game of numbers, and we have the number. So do we have a serious opposition both at the state and national levels? Now, we have twenty-one in our pocket already, the People’s Democratic Party has 14 and APGA has one. I don’t think with the present happening and support we receive from Nigerians, the presidential candidate we have, we are not afraid of PDP and others. They are not a threat to us because Tinubu is a force to reckon with politically, just like his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima. I believe we don’t have any fear. We are going to win overwhelmingly. We are sure that we are going to get 25 per cent votes in 30 states.