The 2019 governorship primary election in Borno State will virtually be the business of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) with 22 aspirants and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with three aspirants.
Borno’s APC will probably make it to the book of records for producing the highest number of gubernatorial aspirants ahead of 2019. All of them had paid N22 million each and obtained the expression of interest and nomination forms, filled and returned same to the party’s national secretariat. This is amidst allegations that many of them were simply sponsored to spoil the chances of others.
Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum
Prof. Baba Gana Umara Zulum, an engineer by profession is currently the Borno State Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement.
In spite of the raging allegations of the ministry’s shortcomings in some areas while rehabilitating Boko Haram-ravaged communities and the proper resettlement of the IDPs in their liberated home-communities, Engr. Zulum has been receiving commendation, with sources saying Governor Shettima is looking at him closely as likely successor.
The experiences he has acquired in managing the affairs of the majority of the insurgency-battered state population are seen to have boosted his morale and motivated him to join the race.
But the fact that he is seen as one of the “Kashim boys” has pitched him against some forces in Abuja who are allegedly working hard to take over.
Alhaji Adamu Lawan (Zaufanjimba)
He is the present Commissioner of Works and Transport and also a forefront aspirant on the ticket of the APC. He is a seasoned banker who has worked with Zenith Bank in various capacities.
Zaufanjimba is also seen as one of the “Kashim boys,” having worked in the same bank with the governor in the past. Those who want continuity in Governor Shettima believe that that could be achieved in Zaufanjimba.
Barr. Kaka Shehu Lawan
He is the Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, and also oversees the Ministry of Environment.
This widely acclaimed “Kashim boy,” who was the Special Adviser on Legal Matters to Governor Kashim Shettima before his appointment as the state Attorney-General, spearheaded the establishment of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), the brigade of youth volunteers credited with chasing out Boko Haram insurgents from Maiduguri, of which he is said to be the commander to this day.
The role he plays in maintaining the CJTF, the said enviable favour he enjoys from Governor Shettima and the immense support he receives from the youth are seen to constitute an ace for him among his fellow aspirants.
Some people are however saying Kaka Shehu is “too young” to be governor but his supporters believe that Governor Shettima was also “very young” at the time he became governor in 2011.
Sen. Baba Kaka Bashir Garbai
This prince of Borno was the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in the first tenure of Governor Kashim Shettima. He is widely alleged to have been “sent” to the Senate to “keep” the seat there in trust for Gov. Shettima, who will then, also allegedly, swap positions with him in 2019.
He is evidently highly popular, especially, allegedly, with the immense and “resolute” influence of the traditional ruling class across the Shehu’s domain.
The alleged ‘contract’ with Gov. Shettima and the royalty factor are said to constitute a formidable plus for him. But they may, it is so said, constitute a pathetic minus for him.
“It will not be possible that the governor of the state comes from the leading traditional institution of the state,” sources said. Besides, there were insinuations that other factors would work against him.
Alhaji Kashim Imam
The revered Borno politician is a veteran governorship contestant. His popularity with the Borno electorate and indispensable section of the Borno political class are formidable.
He is alleged to be in the race courtesy of ex-governor Ali Modu Sheriff. Analysts believe this will work against him, considering that the former governor and Governor Shettima have had protracted battle in the past and the outgoing governor would stop at nothing to have a worthy successor that will not disturb him.
Idris Mamman Durkwa
The retired federal civil servant is just foraying into partisan politics, presently emerging as the ‘most-preferred’ southern Borno candidate for the governorship on the platform of the APC.
Although he is seen as the candidate of Southern Borno zone, which craves for power shift from the North and Central zones after 40 years, he is alleged to be among those being sponsored by SAS.
Baba Ahmed Jidda
Amb. Jidda, another Borno politician and technocrat who served as SSG for both military and civilian governments, has been a governorship contestant for long.
He is currently Nigeria’s Ambassador in China but is also said to be backed by the alleged Abuja group of Borno elders.
Adamu Yuguda Dibal
The former deputy governor of Borno State is one of the Southern Borno leading politicians and eminent men.
Impeccable sources allege that he is backed by Governor Shettima, using political apparatuses in Southern Borno, to countercheck the force of SAS sponsoring men like Idris Durkwa. Whatever goes awry, he may pull more weight as a Southern Borno eminent man than as a Kashim Shettima crony.
He acquired immense fame and experience from his performance as one of the most reputable members of the House of Representatives between 1999 and 2007.
Although a younger brother of ex-Governor Sheriff, Mai is seen by the electorate as a diehard supporter of Governor Shettima.
Atom Mohammed Magira
He is a young prosperous entrepreneur not seen as possessing political antecedents. Although seen by majority of watchers as a ‘joker’ and one of the numerous ‘boys’ sponsored by Gov. Shettima to carry out some assignments for him in the primaries, he may be ‘shamed’ out of the governorship primary by whatever force that is in fierce battle with the governor.
Incontrovertibly one of the most politically knowledgeable and experienced politicians of the state, Gambo Lawan is also said to one of the governorship veteran contestants.
He is said to be one of SAS’ most credible cronies and most strategic generals in the political battlefield.
Sen. Abubakar Kyari
He is said to be one of the politicians that have “struck some deal” with Kashim Shettima towards the 2019 power swap.
He reportedly has the support of the governor for the primary, to play a strategic role in the battle of forces between him and SAS.
Mustapha Baba Shehuri
Presently, a member of the Muhammadu Buhari cabinet as Minister of State for Power, Shehuri is also said to be a serial governorship aspirant.
Babagana Tijjani Banki
Babagana Banki is the present Borno State Commissioner of Housing and Energy. He is also allegedly being sponsored by Governor Shettima to confuse the Abuja politicians.
Abba Jato Mohammed
Abba Jato is a retired immigration officer and a one-time member of the Borno State House of Assembly.
He is rumoured to be sponsored by the governor as being on the list of “trusted cronies and associates” of the governor to muster sufficiently formidable force to push out the SAS group.
This experienced sports administrator of the El-Kanemi Club fame is not seen as possessing any political experience. He is widely alleged to be one of the numerous sponsored aspirants to populate the scene of the primary election where the dark horse will emerge.
Dr. Bukar Abba
Impeccable sources say this academic is one of those sponsored by SAS and the Abuja Elders (Kingibe, president’s Chief of Staff Abba Kyari and others). If these Abuja “wise men” have their way, Dr. Bukar will sail through; if they lose out, he crashes out.
Engr. Kabir Wanori
Wanori, a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers is an advocate of direct primary election to select gubernatorial aspirant. It is not clear if he will remain in the contest more so as Borno APC stakeholders had stamped their authority on indirect primary.
Alhaji Mohammed Makinta
The quantity surveyor is one of the most conspicuous governorship aspirants on the APC ticket. He became seasoned in partisan politics by traversing many of the political parties since 1999. He is the Borno State Coordinator of Buhari Campaign Organization (BCO) for 2019 and the state Coordinator, Buhari-Kashim House-to-House Volunteer Organization for the 2015 general election.
Dr. Umar Alkali
Popularly called Mr. Nasco, is also a conspicuous aspirant on the APC platform. He is a retired Assistant Comptroller of the Nigerian Customs Service.
Senator Muhammadu Abba-Aji
He had won election as the Senator representing Borno Central Senatorial District at the 5th Senate when he became the Minority Whip between 2003 and 2007; and thereafter Presidential Adviser on National Assembly Matters to the late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua.
He, too is an advocate of direct primary election.
Alhaji Mohammad Imam
Imam, one of the PDP heavyweights in Borno State, is a second-timer in the contest, having first aspired before the 2015 election. Besides allegedly sourcing support from the members of the PDP Board of Trustees in the state, comprising Arc. Ibrahim Bunu, Mohammed Abba Gana, Sanusi Daggash, Shettima Mustapha and Maryam Inna Ciroma, Imam is reportedly representing the interest of SAS in the PDP.
This former Minister of State for Power is said to be powered by a network of connections controlled by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Alhaji Mohammed Bulama
Alhaji Mohammed Bulama, the Managing Director of the defunct Bank of the North, is a second-timer in the aspiration, having first aspired in 2015 on the platform of the PDP.