By NBF News

•Modu Sheriff
Governor Ali Modu Sheriff of Borno State has said contrary to speculations, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is not a threat to the return of his All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), to the Government House, Maiduguri, on May 29.

He said though his party was preparing for serious gubernatorial campaigns ahead the April polls, the PDP is nevertheless a threat to its success:

'The PDP was never our threat and it cannot be in this election because the party is finished already. The only person that has been putting life into the party is already leaving, so what else is there again? He asked apparently, referring to the reported exit and defection of the party's two-term gubernatorial candidate, Kashim Imam to ANPP.

In what could be regarded as official confirmation of the rumoured defection of the PDP leader, Sheriff disclosed that Imam's supporters have already moved to the ANPP to finally reduce what remains of PDP since the last gubernatorial poll. He said he was not shaken in any way by the emergence of the former governor of the state, Alhaji Mohammed Goni, as the PDP gubernatorial candidate, boasting that the ANPP has a better candidate that can match whoever the opposition parties presented: 'Neither PDP nor CPC is a match to us. Though, we've not started campaigns, but I have to say this to set the record straight.'

Speaking on the emergence of the ANPP governorship candidate, he said the Commissioner for Health, Kashim Shettima, was endorsed by the party before the rerun last week, having considered his role in stabilizing the administration in 2003:

'It is sad we lost Fannami Gubio and then look for a replacement. But I remember one thing that I will never forget throughout my life. Kashim was the man who assisted us to pay salaries when we came into office in 2003 because there was no money. He was the one that never allowed us go through embarrassment of unpaid salaries to Borno workers and he did it without personal gain. From this, I believe this man can comfortably lead our state without problem.'

He said Kashim's experience in the banking sector which spanned two decades placed him at a vintage position to manage the state's scarce resources without borrowing to execute projects that would impact positively on the people. The governorship hopeful, according to him, has the leadership qualities to improve on the legacies of his administration if given the mandate to lead the state, adding that Borno people would enjoy his wealth of experience as a manager of resources: 'This is what he was doing in the bank before he was brought to the state executive council as Commissioner for Finance, then Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Education, Agriculture and now Health. He is our next governor, Inshal Allah.'

While admitting that the task ahead of the party was daunting, Sheriff warned the party leaders and supporters to prepare for hectic gubernatorial campaigns, saying 'when it starts, there will be no morning, afternoon or night. It is going to be total and every party man and woman should be prepared for these campaigns because it is going to be a serious business.'

Twelve chieftains of PDP in the state also defected to ANPP for what they called a political decision to save their people from injustice. Top on the list was Alhaji Waziri Imam, younger brother to Alhaji Kashim Imam, the 2003, 2007 governorship candidate of PDP. Imam was also a governorship aspirant at the recently-concluded PDP primaries in the state, but lost to Goni.

Others included the PDP chairman in Damboa Local Government Area, Alhaji Kabo Alhaji Abau, his deputy, Alhaji Bukar Mala and Kolo Warne, Damboa Central ward chairman, Mustapha Kolo.