As Modu Sheriff returns to APC:Who Controls Borno Politics? Modu Sheriff or Kashim Shettima?

By Ahmed Abu, The Nigerian Voice, Maiduguri

Borno state has again been thrown into another political tension and rancour with the sudden and tactical return of the Borno political icon and godfather, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff back to his original party which he was one of the founding fathers right from the APP down to the ANPP before it's subsequent merger with other political parties to form the APC.

Ali Modu Sheriff who is popularly known as SAS was three times senator representing Borno central at the national assembly before joining the governorship race of Bruno state along with Late Mala Kachallah and Matawalli Kashim Imam and others to emerged the State Governor in 2003.

A position he held and brokered record to be the first State Governor to be reelected for the second term in office in the political history of Borno state and until 2011 when he mobilized support for one of his kitchen cabinet and home boy, Honourable Kashim Shettima and installed him as his successor to continue from where he stopped in the governance of the state.

In fact, everything went on smoothly, fraternally and interestingly out of loyalty, obedience and trust for some years since then until the sad period when political lobbyists and gossipers interfered between the duo and respect, dignity and honour gradually disappeared between the former governor Ali Modu sheriff who is the boss and leader of the party and the incumbent governor Kashim Shettima who is the ruling governor and a friend if not boy to Ali Modu Sheriff.

The political enemies at last succeeded in separating them and the former started attacking the later publicly in the media and even verbally in Abuja and Maiduguri whenever the APC supporters and members gathered with Ali sheriff.

The situation became embarrassingly terrible that Ali Modu Sheriff developed hatred and dislike for Kashim Shettima. He was doing everything possible to avoid Kashim Shettima in every occasion and meeting. Even at personal and official ceremonies, they were cotton and fire. None of them would want to see or meet the other.

This metamorphosed into a serious clash of the Titans that led to the intervention of Borno elders and other political stakeholders of Borno state within and outside the state but to no avail as the center could not hold for either of the warring political big wigs that informed the former Borno state Governor, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff to defect to the opposition party, PDP to have a test of what the opposition party is against his boy.

While the incumbent Borno state Governor, Kashim Shettima who is popularly known as Honourable having come far from the banking industry during the second tenure of the former governor and his predecessor as State Commissioner of Finance to the former governor Ali Sheriff.

Because he joined the administration of Ali Sheriff as Commissioner and served in the ministries of Fiancée, education, local government and chieftaincy affairs, people and politicians addressed him as Honourable even till his electioneering campaign period and down the time of his leadership as governor,.

Everybody calls him Honourable, including his colleagues who were members of the State Executive Council (SEC) together with him before he became governor that he retained till date as state commissioners in his 7 years cabinet without reshuffling his cabinet even for once in the past seven years.

And there is no possibility that Kashim Shettima is reshuffling his cabinet before the end of his second tenure in May 2019 as he has only about 11 months to hand over to another democratically selected state Governor that will be declared winner of the 2019 governorship election of the state having governed the state for the second term.

This situation degenerated into another political tension when Kashim announced that he will also be handing over to one of his State Commissioners as his predecessor did. That has left the battle ring for about 5 contestants who have shown interest to run for the governorship race come 2019 leaving nobody in doubt that one will definitely emerge as his successor after the party primaries for the governorship race.

Although, the genesis of the rift between the former and incumbent governors centered on the leadership or control of the ruling party APC in Borno state which Ali Sheriff was a founding father and sacrificed a lot to see that the party triumphed and still govern the state by turning the state into a one party state or affair.

It is these efforts and control that the incumbent felt that he can not relinquish to the former governor after being sworn in as the elected governor of the state. The party rule that whoever is the elected governor of the state automatically becomes the leader of the party in that state.

Kashim Shettima felt he is the governor and the party leader who should control the party and govern the state while Ali Sheriff felt that no matter what, he installed Kashim Shettima and mobilized support for him as well place Shettima where he is today in a platter of gold despite all the criticisms and challenges. And he is still in charge while Kashim says no I am the one that is in charge of the state and party.

And the war is endless as people don't know what will happen next and who will be in charge of the party in the state now with the return if SAS to APC. Is it SAS or Kashim Shettima? Now with the return of Ali Sheriff and picking membership registration card at the ward level between Ali Modu Sheriff or Kashim Shettima; Who will be The Leader Of Borno Politics?

It will be recalled that the camp of Ali Modu Sheriff who is a former senator and governor himself is to be officially welcomed by the leadership of the ruling party into the All Progressive Congress (APC).

Given to the recent defection of the former national caretaker chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff to the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), many eyebrows have started raising in the political arena of Borno State.

The reasons for the eyebrows is that there is the great possibility that the sudden return of the former governor of Borno state will spark an interesting battle for supremacy between the incumbent governor, Kashim Shettima and his predecessor, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff.

Although, the political relevance of the popular former senator and governor seems to be gradually branding off but Borno politics us unique in terms of use of money to win votes and interest of voters or supporters as spread of cash is a strong weapon or tool that Senator Ali Modu Sheriff uses whenever he wants to achieve any political ambition.

And worst of it all is that the success and emergence of Governor Kashim Shettima as the governor of Borno State in 2011 was as a result of the efforts, sacrifices and support of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff who was believedto be the lion heart of Borno politics and kingmaker of the state to make Shettima as the governor competitively.

Similarly, following an interim squabble within the APC ruling party over the leadership of the ruling party, APC, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff decided to defect to the opposition party, Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) where he emerged the National Caretaker Committee Chairman of the PDP and had a clash with Senator Ahmed Makarfi caretaker committee of the same party which was resolved by a supreme court judgement.

As the 2019 general election is fast approaching, the question now is how will the political environment of Borno state look like with the brewing battle between the two king pins. Will the anticipated clash not affect the chances and successes of the ruling party or create avenue for the opposition to take over the mantle of leadership of the state.

In fact, many are expecting lot of dramatic scenes like that of the Kano state between Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and Senator Rabiu Kwankwanso.

There is also the possibility that the fight between the duo again may divide the ruling APC similarly to that of Kano state to gamer support for the opposition party, PDP taking over the mantle of leadership at last.

Because each of the two political warlords will be willing to produce or cone out with the next governor of the state that will also control the state chapter of the ruling All Progressive Congress.