By Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
The Borno State congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC) held without hitches with all the incumbent executives returned unopposed.
The congress was held at the Elkanemi Sport Centre under heavy security and had in attendance all the prominent politicians in the state.
The only notable absentee was the former governor of the state and erstwhile chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Sheriff, who recently rejoined the party he helped to form after a sojourn in the opposition party.
Against all expectations that with Sheriff now in APC, the congress would be keenly contested between his loyalists and the governorâ€™s men, the election into the post was only contested by outgoing executives.
This is an indication that the party may still be in the strong grasp of Shettima who may be interested in having a trusted ally as governor come next election.
The congress was peacefully conducted by officials from the national headquarters of the APC and monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
A staunch supporter of the governor, Ali Bukar Dalori, was returned to his seat as state chairman.
Bello Ayuba, Mohammed Babandoki and Hajja Fati Kakinna who are amongst other key supporters of the governor were also returned as state secretary, state youth leader and state women leader.
All other elected state executives are known to be loyal to the governor.
A total of 37 state executives were elected. In previous congresses held two weeks ago, Governor Shettima’s key loyalists were elected as executives in each of the 27 local government areas and the 312 wards of the state.
Zanna Zakariyya, a former speaker of Yobe State Assembly who served as chairman of congress committee from the APC national headquarters, listed the names of candidates who had indicated interests for various positions before he openly and repeatedly asked in different languages if there was any aspirant who was interested in contesting any seat to come forward and his or her name was not mentioned.
Other officials took turn for almost 30 minutes asking similar questions if any aspirant was shut out. When there was no objection, officials of the congress read the APC guidelines and constitution which required affirmation of all consensus candidates by delegates.
The APC state executives were reelected after affirmation by delegates for a term of four years. â€ŽStakeholders accompanied Governor Shettima to his residence in celebratory mood congratulating him for reaffirming his control of the APC at the dtate, local government and ward levels.