Borno LP gov candidate, APC differ over poll conduct
The Labour Party governorship candidate for Borno State, Captain. Ibrahim Mshelia, on Monday evening, accused the state Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, of inciting his supporters to unleash violence if they spot any resident voting for opposition candidates.
Mshelia, who made the claim at a press conference held at the LP Secretariat in Abuja, urged the ruling All Progressives Congress and the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to caution the APC governor.
While addressing journalists in Abuja on Monday, Mshelia accused Zulum of fanning the embers of violence with his unhealthy campaign utterances.
The LP candidate’s allegation is coming four days before the governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections.
He said, “During his campaign in Biu, Southern Borno, which happens to be my zone, the governor was publicly inciting the citizens to take to violence should the APC candidates lose at the polls.
“Prof. Zulum, who spoke in Hausa Language, said at the campaign: ‘During the forthcoming elections, we are voting for governorship. Stand up and make sure our votes are high. Let’s also have all the nine seats in the state House of Assembly in Southern Borno. I don’t want any of them to lose. I am the governor; I have apologised to everyone in this zone.
“But I would like to tell you something. Only God gives power. I don’t have the capability to give power. But I swear, in my capacity, I won’t leave anyone that will insult the traditional leaders to get into the House of Assembly. God gives power but if God gives them power, “Biri Mini, Kare Jini…”
While condemning the utterances, Msheila stated that he expected a more civil manner from the governor in the spirit of sportsmanship.
According to the politician, he was in the governorship race because he earnestly wanted to introduce good and inclusive governance in Borno State.
“I am in this race because it is my desire to elevate the quality of lives of Borno citizens and also to develop the human resources of the state. I strongly condemn this statement as electoral violence can breed unimaginable consequences and a governor should not be seen to promote election violence.
“I am peace-loving and I have been running my campaigns based on real issues and not issuing threats to opposition parties like the governor has done… some agents of political instability have perfected plans to turn the forthcoming elections into a battlefield and are just waiting to unleash violence. They think this is the only way to railroad themselves into victory. They must be stopped.
“…as law-abiding citizens, we have decided not to lock horns with the rejected and the desperate but rather walk the path of peace to assured victory.
“We, therefore, call the attention of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, and all the relevant security tangencies to ensure the full protection of lives and property in the coming elections by ensuring that there is a credible election, devoid of manipulations and violence,” he said.
Efforts made to reach the media aide of Governor Zulum, Malam Isa Gusau, proved abortive.
As of the time of filing this story, his line was still switched off.
However, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Felix Morka, called for restraint.
While stating that the issue should be addressed at the state level, Morka said he found it ironic that the LP candidate could be accusing the ruling party of a peculiar trait their supporters were known for.
He said, “Well, I think it is a local matter. However, what else will the Labour Party say about incitement – whether civil disobedience or violence? That’s what they keep doing and are known for. They need to be calm. The election is almost over.”