By Michael Olugbode, Maiduguri
A former Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Mohammed Abba-Aji,Â on TuesdayÂ declared his intention to vie for the governorship of Borno State on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 election.
He made the declaration while addressing Â journalists in Maiduguri.
Abba-Aji said he had been approached by many notable citizens of the state to continue the good work that the present governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, had been doing in the past seven years.
Abba-Aji who was Special Adviser to Presidents Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua and Goodluck Jonathan said Borno needs a great post-war governor to arrest the decline brought about by Boko Haram insurgency.
He described the present governor as a war-time governor who had done creditably well but needed someone equally good to take Borno into the post-war era.
He said he would pursue his gubernatorial ambition if given the ticket by the APC with â€œhonesty and commitment to the progress of the people rather than money,â€ insisting that he does not have a mighty war chest.
He said luckily enough with President Muhammadu Buhariâ€™s reform, politics will no longer be determined by the strength of money, noting that â€œone can even get on the road to prison rather than political office, if one spends more than allowed.â€
He said: “I don’t have the money to call myself a moneybag,” but I am proud that “we have gone past the time when people will come with bags of money to win elections; our people now need honesty and genuine commitment to their cause, and I have all these.”
He said if elected governor, he would concentrate on building a post-insurgency Borno State, especially reconstructing such necessary infrastructure as roads to facilitate the rapid resuscitation of the state economy.
“During the war (Boko Haram insurgency) military hardware and insurgents’ activities have ruined the roads. Consider, for example, Maiduguri-Dikwa-Ngala and Maiduguri-Damboa-Biu roads, which are dilapidated now. I will join hands with the federal government to reconstruct such infrastructure,” Â Abba-Aji said.
He maintained that the federal government expenditure in the state should now shift from war against insurgency to infrastructure reconstruction.
Speaking on Sen. Ali Modu Sheriffâ€™s reported defection to APC, he said â€œI believe Sheriff would have no impact in the performance of the party in the state in 2019.
“You make an impact when you come to a place that is not organised; but the APC in Borno State is the most organised chapter in Nigeria; it has no faction and there has never been any time when the national headquarters had any reason to come and investigate any misdeeds.
“So APC in Borno State is in such an organised state that anybody coming from anywhere outside will find it very difficult to destabilise it,” he maintained.