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2023: Atiku Abubakar Knocks Borno Government

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2023: Atiku Abubakar Knocks Borno Government

By Collins Mbakwe

Atiku Abubarkar Umar, a former aide to Kashim Shettima, ex-Governor of Borno State and running mate to APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, is the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) candidate for the Maiduguri metropolis council House of Representatives seat.

In an interview, the former student union activist expresses concern that political offices in Bono State may be turned into a royalty or family inheritance, with some families seeing it as their birthright if the people fail to stop the old politicians.

Furthering, he expressed regret that the State govt has commenced clamping down on opposition parties’ activities in the state ahead of the 2023 elections.

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According to him: “You know, democracy is not about individuals, it is about the whole people and freedom, why we fought the military to return Nigeria to a free democracy is because we believe 6hat the people should have a say in determining what concerns them, have their freedom and rest of mind in the administration of their wards, Local Government, state and country at large.

But actually, I don’t think the case of Borno as of today reflects all these. In Borno, democracy had not really taken its place. What goes in the state in the name of democracy is not in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act and the guideline released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

For instance, for a Governor o come out and order that nobody should buy forms for any of the elective offices unless he approves doesn’t make such a state democratic. Can we call that democracy? no, that is an absolute dictatorship. And that is what we are coming to address with our candidature in New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP). I have left Borno APC in peace and have moved ahead to fight for the liberation of my people in Maiduguri, through the NNPP

What are you doing so far to improve your campaign in your constituency?

I have sat down with my team and we have arrived at several campaign strategies, which we will unfold when the campaign begins in September.

But at the moment, we are preoccupied with some youth empowerment programmes which are currently going on under our watch. For example, we initiated a football tournament which involves all the 16 wards in my constituency.

We designed this to keep the youths busy, take their minds off social vices and also curb the security challenges in the city, in which our youths may be involved. We have made our youths to be busy because the tournament has attracted much attention in Maiduguri, as all the stages of awards, from the best players to the eventual winner of the tournament would attract fabulous rewards including taking them on scholarships to train oversee

Unfortunately, the tournament has been abruptly put to hold in the middle by the state government, who were afraid of the popularity and goodwill it has given some us. The government ordered the closure of the two tournament venues, which we all paid for and legally obtained, just a ploy to frustrate us.

They claimed that they wanted to commence renovation work at the centres when we had paid and used for the group and quarter-final games

It was taken for political reasons, nothing more than that. Till this moment, have they commenced the renovation that they claimed was the reason?

Why did they accept our money for use of the venue, if they were to renovate them? They were much afraid of us and the popularity of the tournament as it attracted so many goodwills for us ahead of the 2023 elections, hence they could not allow it to continue. I think the tournament sent a signal to them. They would have stopped if it were in their own favour. Officially we secured the venue after payment, we had our receipts and official release letter from the management of the Sports centres for use.

Outside the oversee scholarship, which we have commenced the negotiation, we budgeted about N2.5m to complete the tournament, but our main target was to keep our youths busy and take them out of social vices, especially in this period of heavy security challenges in the state and our country at large

One of the reasons I left was because I found out that there was no democracy in our state, I have never seen any light for the people of Borno under the APC. Our youths are in pain, no development any sought, and we have remained behind despite all the money that comes into the state, including the effort of donor agencies. I made up my mind to leave the APC about three years ago and pursue a political change that would be of immense benefit to the people, rather than the individual

We are very strong in Borno. Let me tell you, we are realists and anything that is realistic will work out perfectly. We must not go through the back door, as it has always been in the past.

But now, I and my people are saying we must remain realistic to our push, no more getting anything through the back door.

We are concerned with what they have, whether Vice president, three or four-time senators, we are out the people. We believe that these people have had their time and it is time to give way to others who see the people as the real owners of the state. If we allow them to continue, it will get to a time when their children will begin to view the positions as their family inheritances. In no small time in Borno, political offices could become royalty if we don’t act now. It should not be.”

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