From Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri
Speaker of the Borno State House of Assembly, Abdulkareem Lawan, has declared that the leadership and more than two-thirds of members of the Assembly were fully behind Governor Kashim Shettima.
The Speaker, who spoke to our newsmen on phone from Makkah in Saudi Arabia where he was performing the lesser hajj, noted that the Assembly’s concern at the moment is how to reclaim peace across the state to put an end to the gale of killings and political unrest.
He said that the claim by the House Majority leader, Idrissa Jidda, published by a National Newspaper recently that most members were defecting to PDP with former governor Ali Modu Sheriff, was entirely his own personal opinion and does not in any way reflect the position of any of the remaining 27 members in the assembly and the leadership.
The Speaker added that Jidda “told a big lie that is just his opinion. As we speak right now, I’m with 19 members of the Assembly here in Makkah and all of us are not happy with the majority leader’s false claim. Other members have been calling me from Nigeria expressing their unhappiness.
“We all have the same position which is to fully stand by the Governor, Kashim Shettima. The leadership and members of the Borno State House of Assembly are one hundred percent behind Governor Kashim Shettima, we are not moving an inch to any where. We are fully behind him. I know the opinion of more than two-thirds of the members, I don’t know the opinion of the leader and he is free to go to any party of his choice. We are in a democracy but he shouldn’t speak for others, he should speak for himself. If what I read is what the leader said, then he told an outright lie, this I can say”.
He noted that the matter is not the major priority of the lawmakers, rather they have focused on how best to complement efforts of the relevant authorities to restore peace in the state.
“The issue is not even in our mindset. What dominates our minds as members is how to support the State and Federal Government to restore peace in Borno state. We are far more worried about the killings and destructions in Borno State and not politics of 2015.
“Most of us are here in Saudi Arabia and we are seriously praying for peace in Borno and for the stability of the State. This is what we have been doing since 2011 and this is what should agitate the minds of any true Borno man or any true Nigerian. What we want is stability.
“We have worked very closely with the governor; we have supported him with the right appropriations to take measures that have helped in bringing relative peace to some parts of the state and we are working round the clock with the governor always creating the legislative framework that the executive arm needs in our joint effort to address the insurgency problems.
We are very very worried about the deaths and destructions of communities. This is our major headache and not the issue of defection and 2015 and I am speaking the minds of most members, we work as a family, we are a team and I don’t see how can loose support for Governor Kashim Shettima that has been doing everything humanly possible to address the problems since he came in”, he emphasized
A member of the Assembly representing Dikwa state constituency, Mohammed Zakariyya who also spoke to journalists on phone from Saudi Arabia, corroborated the speaker’s position.
“Virtually every member was very unhappy with the Majority Leader for misleading the public based on his individual interest. We are not happy at all; we feel betrayed by our own colleague. Why should he say that when he knows this is not true and it is very impossible for us to do that?” Zakariyy asked.