Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima has faulted claims that the north and south west ganged up against the minorities in last Saturday’s presidential election.
According to him, Ibos from the Southeast were silent forces that played significant roles in the victory of General Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Shettima said contrary to some claims that Buhari was elected by four geopolitical zones without the southeast and the south-south, leaders of the APC in the southeast stood very firm to stop the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from coming out with outrageous votes from the southeast as was the case in 2011, stressing that it was this singular act which ensured that votes garnered by Buhari in other geopolitical zones were enough to return him as President elect.
The Governor spoke in Maiduguri while addressing supporters after his return from Abuja to join other leaders of the APC ahead of Buhari’s declaration as President elect.
“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.
“One is to give votes and the other is to prevent opponent from rigging and both have equal relevance. In the 2011 elections, the PDP got a combined figure of about 7 million votes in the southeast, some of these states recorded or so they claimed, having almost 100 percent voter turnout.
“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. 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.
“This is also the case in some parts of the south-south. In Bayelsa, the PDP could have recorded 600,000 or so votes but they got less than 400,000 because of the efforts of our men in Bayelsa who stood firm. In Edo State, Buhari wasn’t far from President Goodluck Jonathan in terms of votes. And then, 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 percent 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”, the governor said.