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Gov Shettima Gives Credit To Igbos For Buhari’s Victory
By Musdapha Ilo, Maiduguri
Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State has said that the contributions of the Igbo people to the victory of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Muhammadu Buhari, has not been properly acknowledged, asserting that it cannot be gauged only by the votes he scored in the South east geopolitical zone.
The governor said that, as far as he was concerned, the people of the South east were the silent forces that tilted the balance of victory in Buhari’s favour as leaders of the APC succeeded in preventing the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, from cooking up outrageous figures at the presidential election as was the case in the past elections.
The governor made his views known on Wednesday in Maiduguri on his return from Abuja where he joined other leaders of the APC to witness Buhari’s declaration as winner of the presidential election.
He reasoned that if the PDP had been able to come up with huge number of votes in the South east states, it would have affected the eventual outcome, in spite of Buhari’s good performance in other zones.
Governor Shettima, therefore, submitted that Buhari’s victory was the contribution of all parts of Nigeria and not just from the four geopolitical zones where he garnered the most votes.
“Buhari’s election was a pan-Nigerian movement. I have heard some political analysts making some wrong conclusions that the Ibos in the Southeast didn’t contribute significantly to Buhari’s victory but I think they are missing the point because there are two key contributions to winning elections,”Shettima stated.
Explaining his reasoning, he said “One is to gives votes and the other is to prevent opponent from rigging and both have equal relevance.”
Continuing, Shettima pointed out that the PDP got a combined figure of about 7 million votes in the southeast in 2011, recording 100 per cent of the vote cast in some states
“But in 2015, Ibos in the southeast especially our leaders in the APC stood very firm, some of them put their lives on the line, resisted all kinds of humiliation and at the end, they prevented another seven million votes from coming out,” he said.
“In Ebonyi the PDP got less than 300,000 votes, in Abia, the PDP got less than 400,000, even in Enugu the PDP got about 600,000 votes, in Imo also the PDP got less than 600,000 all these were against the big numbers of 2011. We all saw what happened in Rivers, if that was repeated in the southeast it would have been a major source of concern for all Nigerians but the Ibos did very well by resisting every step against Buhari so they are heroes as far as I am concerned,” the governor stated.
Stretching further his argument that Buhari’s victory was a national event and not a product of ethnic or religious considerations, Shettima observed that the vote for the President – elect cut across the traditional religious divide in Nigeria.
“If one looks across religious divides, Buhari was voted by all religious groups. He wouldn’t have won Ondo if only Muslims voted for him, he wouldn’t have won Benue or get the required 25 per cent in Edo and Ekiti.
“All of these point to one thing that Buhari was voted by all Nigerians and this is why he has promised to carry the entire country along, he has pledged not to rule but to govern and this is the principle of the APC, he is laying the foundation of the change Nigerians need and that change is not about which party is in power, it is about the changes in the security of lives and property, the changes in the living standards of Nigerians.”