There are some facts about elections in Borno and Yobe states that the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Abubakar Atiku, didn’t know, and therefore need to be put to perspective.
The first factor is that in the 2015 general elections, about 17 LGAs and big towns were under occupation by the Boko Haram terrorists. They hoisted their flags in these towns and local governments, and had full autonomy and control of these territories in 2015.
For instance, Gwoza, Chibok, Damboa, Askira Uba, Rann, Segal, Jilbe, Wumbi, Mudu, Kaza, Kala-Balge, Ngala, Dikwa, Mafa, Bama, Bama-Goniri, Soye, Andara, Kote, Kashim-ri, Jarawa, Zangeri, Abbaram, , Tofa, Darajamal, Banki, Kumshe, Damasak, Gudumbali, Marte, Baga, Checheno, Mile 90, Cross Kawwa, Kawwa, Kukawa, etc were all annexed by the terrorists and hoisted their flags.
But today these territories are liberated except a few villages. Today, people are settled in these places. Because of the success recorded in resettling people back to their localities, political campaigns and voting subsequently took place in these areas.
The second factor is that in Borno State, the PDP went to the election divided with two parallel executives i.e Mahdi Badairi and Zannah Gaddamama’s factions, with so many legal battles and had parallel party primaries each claiming authenticity and legitimacy.
Third factor is that some elders in who are closed to the presidency convinced some influential PDP figures in the North East to defect to the ruling APC. That gives birth to the formation of North East Alliance for Buhari 2019. In Borno state, the Director General of Imam (the PDP Gubernatorial candidate’s) a grassroot politician in the person of Hon. Kaka Bolori, who also is the State Coordinator of Friends of Atiku (FoA), and many other big shots like, former governor and 2011 PDP Gubernatorial candidate, Alhaji Mohammed Goni, former party chairman Baba Ibrahim Basharu, another statesman Hon. Aji Masta Lawan, a political Strategist Abubakar Musa Bachillu and many party executives from the Gaddama faction decamped to the APC. That was a big blow to the opposition party in Borno state.
Many other influential people were taken away by the APC from the opposition PDP in the North East, among others includes; Senator Paul V. Wampana, M. C. Tahir (former deputy, governor of Adamawa state); Kobis Aris, former SSG to Adamawa state and many influential figures in the state. Also, in Gombe, Senator Saidu Kumo who was the North East Coordinator for Atiku Abubakar Campaign Council, left the PDP for APC.
The last and most important reason why Borno people would not vote for PDP is that a Borno man will tell you that the problem of the Boko Haram insurgency in the state is as a result of negligence of PDP-led administration and seen by many as a deliberate effort to inflict pains and suffering to the people of Borno state. These are some of the reasons why PDP candidate was rejected by the voters.
The total number of registered voters in Borno state is 2.3 million with 987,290 accredited voters in February 23rd, 2019 elections. Not even half the number of registered people voted on that day. The reality is that the people of Borno and Yobe states in particular and the North East in general simply have nothing to do with PDP anymore! The people of Borno and Yobe have developed natural dislike and stigma for the main opposition party the PDP and consider being in PDP as abomination or taboo.
There is also “Alliance” factor. Two prominent and respected Borno elders in person of Alh Abba Kyari and Ambassador Babagana Kingibe are the brain behind the formation of North East Alliance for Buhari 2019. The main objectives of the “Alliance” is to strip and weaken the already ailing PDP in the North East. This group is made-up of all segments, including religious leaders, political elites, business leaders, trade unions, market women, students’ unions, farmer clubs and associations, etc. The North East Alliance carried out massive House to House and Door to Door campaign across the region that resulted in the landslide victory to President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election. The North East Alliance had at least a minimum of twenty-five active vote canvassers per polling unit, including Atiku Abubakar’s polling unit, Ajiya unit 02 in Gwadabawa Ward of Yola North local government. While Mr. Atiku is complaining of losing the elections in Borno state, however, the people were equally surprised that PDP/Atiku scored over 70,000 votes in a state that translates to the less than 8 percent of the total vote casts.
Atiku should know that the people of Borno and Yobe states are firmly standing with Buhari.
Mr Bolori is the national coordinator, North East Alliance for Buhari 2019