By Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
The Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Garbai El-Kanemi has said the top priority of anyone who wants to rule the state in 2019 should be massive development of destroyed public infrastructure and provision of jobs to teeming unemployed youths.
The paramount ruler, who hosted one of the governorship aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Kashim Imam in his palace on Friday, lamented that the Boko Haram crisis had left many infrastructure in the state destroyed and many people without jobs or means of livelihood.
He said the next governor of the state should put in place policies and programmes that would create jobs for unemployed youths and also fix the ruined public infrastructure.
The monarch said the Boko Haram insurgency had not only taken a devastating toll on the lives of Borno people but had also left the public infrastructure in a bad state of disrepair.
The Shehu said people seeking public offices must prioritise the rebuilding of Borno above any other concern.
The monarch, said Kashim Imam, being the Mutawalli (finance minister) of Borno, he should distinguish himself as a worthy ambassador of the people.
He praised the aspirant for being supportive of the traditional institution in the state and for ever being good to the people of Borno even as a private citizen.
He said: “The palace and good people of Borno are indeed very happy with your aspiration and wish you all the best in your campaign.”
He said: “Since your assumption of office as the Mutawalli many years ago, you have not only supported us at all times but your philanthropic gestures have been legendary. You have always reached out to us during the Ramadan and other sallah celebrations, and you have shared in our times of joy and in occasion of sorrow.
“Apart from that, you are also the brain behind the completion of our grand central mosque that before now, had been in the state of incompletion for over 30 years; but when you donated the huge sum of N200 million in 2011 the completion effort started and today with the ample support of the state government the mosque in fully completed.”
The Shehu of Borno however expressed worry over the state of joblessness, lack of infrastructure and general insecurity in the crisis bedeviled state.
He said: “We need you to look at the general state of dilapidation of critical infrastructures like roads and public buildings around our state.”
He lamented that: “From Maiduguri to Magumeri, to Mobbar, Abadam, from Dikwa to Kala-Balge, from Maiduguri to Bama up to Gwoza; from Maiduguri through Damboa up to Biu up to Shani, from Dikwa to Gamboru-Ngala and to Marte; from Monguno to Kukawa, and so on, all the roads are in the state of disrepair. Our people are suffering and the insurgency have made it worse.”
He tasked the governorship aspirant to “kindly look at these critical infrastructure and also look at the issue of job creation and employment for our youths so that they will not be lured into imbibing the alien culture of Boko Haram that have encroached into our land.”
Earlier, Imam said his vision for Borno was hinged on three thematic areas which cut across education for all, job creation and reconstruction of Borno State.
Imam added that “if we are given the mandate and with the blessings of the Royal Palace, we shall convene a critical stakeholders conference from where we are going to first take stock of our loses both human and infrastructure, then call for donor conference here in Maiduguri, then at the national level and then at the international level.
“We are also going to tackle the problem of lack of education and the economy.
“It is the poor economy and lack of education that gave birth of Boko Haram and not even religion or its extremism as it is being perceived.”
The APC chieftain promised that his campaign team will also mobilise support for the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said President Buhari did not need to campaign in the states of northeast Nigeria, especially Borno, to win the 2019 presidential election.
He said though Borno and other parts of the northeast were still being plagued with cases of daring attacks by Boko Haram gunmen which accounted for hundreds of soldiers being killed, but credit should be given to President Buhari’s government for “degrading the Boko Haram insurgency “and restoring security in the troubled sub-region.
He said: “The President, Muhammadu Buhari, does not need to campaign anywhere in the northeast especially here in Borno to win the 2019 election.
“As far as we are concerned, the President is here for the people of Borno, first and secondly for the northeast and then thirdly for the all Nigerians. And it is certain that one area of achievement that one cannot take away from the president is the successes that has been recorded in the area of security.
“The president has given leadership; he has delivered on his commitment to the people of Nigeria, the northeast and the people of Borno by bringing peace and security to our different communities.
“He has done so well, and people have to understand why the Northeast is being described as the president’s support territory. It takes only the people of the northeast who had seen it all to appreciate the president’s achievement in the area of security.
“We want to assure the President that he does not need to campaign in the northeast to win his reelection come 2019.”
“While we thank the president for helping us to win the war; we also express our gratitude as a people to our governor, Kashim Shettima who has also won the peace,” he said.