The citizens in Borno state are shocked and disappointed at how what would have been a landslide victory for Mohammed Goni was fraudulently turned around to favour Kashim Shettima the ANPP gubernatorial aspirant, the INEC declared winner of the election on Saturday 26th April 2011.
From the street corners to restaurants and homes people are seen bemoaning the situation and looking at the seeming hopeless situation. The interesting thing about the scenario is that even average supporters of the purported winners are not really celebrating as they seem to feel deep down that they have not won fairly and squarely. We feel there are valid reasons for this state of affairs.While the PDP and the Goni Campaign Organization was counting on a fair election it would seem that the ANPP was from the word go ready to rig and bulldoze itself into power by hook or crook. It employed a combination of fraudulent techniques to coerce, intimidate and do what the PDP never anticipated given the supposed integrity of the INEC and citizen enthusiasm to vote and defend their mandate. These fraudulent techniques include the following:
-Outright briberery of the security personnel to allow ANPP thugs and agents to flout the movement restriction on election day and cause all kinds of confusion in polling stations across the state;
-Knowing fully well that the gubernatorial election would be lost to them in a free and fair election the ANPP and Kashim Shettima Campaign team designed a strategy that involves 1.the suppression of voters in Maiduguri and Jere-the most populated LGCs and where the citizens are fed up with another four years of ANPP government- and 2.the stuffing of ballot boxes by thugs and other ANPP cronies in most LGCs.
-In the case of Maiduguri and Jere this suppression was perfected by scaring the voters through bomb threats a few days to the election and sponsored fired shots in the air close to voters while they are lined up for voter verification.In addition massive amount of money was used to buy off election officials and the security officials.It was on record that the outgoing governor Ali Sheriff was seen in Gwange ward urging the security personnel to leave election venues ‘as they have been settled’.
-In many parts of Borno state INEC walls of incorruptibility were broken as ANPP officials were seen with ballot papers. Some were caught red handed stamping and stuffing ballot boxes. This fraudulent and shameful behavior was manifested even by the Borno State Attorney General-who was caught and briefly detained. This trend was repeated in many local government areas like Bama, Konduga,Ngala, Dikwa, Guzamala, Kala-Balge, Gwoza and Biu
-In Marte local government Area official and ad-hoc INEC staff were threatened with death or bribed to allow all sorts of atrocities to take place.
-The security personnel were captured on video photographs whipping PDP party agents in Dikwa after being stripped in a blatant act to cow down dissenters of fraud.
The problems with this fraudulent gubernatorial elections is several. First, Borno citizens would be saddled with a leader that they had not really elected. Secondly, having stolen the mandate Kashim Shettima, if sworn as the governor, might at in the nature of his Godfather Ali Sheriff and rule-not govern-with impunity,malice, and the continuation of corruption –addicted regime .Thirdly the same Ali Sheriff cronies would surround him as henchmen and beneficiaries of his ‘rule’ where we fear only families and friends of this clique would be personally enriched at the expense of development in the state. Our fears are well founded as Kashim Shettima was part and parcel of the Ali Sheriff government which could not boast of any tangible developmental projects in the state commensurate to the revenues that accrued during an 8-year period.
Four years are too much too precious in the life of a grossly development-starved Borno to allow a stolen mandate to rule hat long.Four years are too important to be left in the hands of a party whose members lack vision of development and who are teleguided by the likes of Ali Sheriff.