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This Is My Time to Become Borno Gov – – Amb. Jidda

This Is My Time to Become Borno Gov – – Amb. Jidda

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Amb Baba Ahmad Jidda

Amb. Baba Ahmad Jidda is Nigeria’s Ambassador to China. He had variously served as Secretary to the Military Government (SMG) in Borno before the Fourth Republic and was Secretary to the State Government (SSG) during the days of ex- Governor Ali Modu Sheriff and then during the first tenure of Governor Kashim Shettima. In this interview, Jidda who had vied for the governorship of Borno in 1999, said he is back in the race nearly 20 years after fully ready for the job. Excerpts:

You are in the race for the Borno State governorship where we have over 20 aspirants. Don’t you feel threatened?

Well, the more, the merrier. Most of the aspirants are well known to the people of Borno and at the appropriate time, the people and the party would decide the best amongst all of us who would lead the APC to success. If you’re going to war, you need a strong and forceful commander who would lead the way to victory. The APC and our leader, the Borno governor are very much aware of my solid credentials and I am confident they will do the needful when the time comes.

This brings us to the issue of direct and indirect primaries. Which do you think is best suited for Borno and other APC states?

To start with, I am a member of the Board of Trustees of the APC. While I was in China, our party took the decision to adopt indirect primaries. As part of the political family in Borno, I accept the decision of the party. However, I want to say that the governor as leader of the party, would have to use his intuition and wisdom to come out with the correct and acceptable candidate. Knowing him for so many years, I have no doubt that he would take the correct decision.

Personally I believe that there is little difference between both the direct and indirect systems. At the end of the day, the government which has the structure of the party and local governments would almost certainly prevail.

You have vast experience in terms of service in Borno and Nigeria at large. Specifically, you worked with both former governor Ali Modu Sherriff and the outgoing governor, Kashim Shettima. What do you think you would bring to bear in the event that you secure the ticket of the APC?

The truth of the matter is that I have learnt a lot, and working with Ali Sherriff and Kashim Shettima has vastly refined and enhanced my experience. I have supported both of them to succeed in their administrations. By my upbringing and training, I can’t vilify or castigate my governors. Governor Kashim Shettima, especially, has given me all the respects and he has very high regard for me. For the four years I served him as SSG, I really cannot think of anytime that I had serious regrets. I would like to appeal to them to reciprocate for what I have done for them, especially Governor Shettima, to whom I was an anchor during his second term battle.

I really worked hard for his campaign as I sat in the counting centre for 48 hours in order to get his results despite the opposition pressure. We stood firm and made sure Governor Shettima won his election as he did. This is payback time. A good turn deserves another. I expect Governor Shettima who is now the party leader to take a hard look at our relationship.

For the sake of the people of Borno, we want him to give us the opportunity to avail our experience and proceed from where they have left so that we can improve the security situation. A typical example is Kashim’s reconstruction effort, for which he created a Ministry for Reconstruction and Rehabilitation. It is a very good ministry that I would continue with because our people need to have peace and get their buildings, houses, hospitals, and education reconstructed so that they can return to their homes.

What additional value are you taking back to Borno because you are the Ambassador to China which has the largest population in the world?

Honestly speaking, I am happy being in China because I met a lot of investors. There was a particular investor with whom I had dinner; he told me that he has about $2 billion that he wants to invest in any state of my choice. Unfortunately, Borno didn’t fit because of the security situation and the investment had to go elsewhere. That’s why should I become the governor of Borno State I would continue to plead with Mr President to conclude the war against insurgency so that we can attract these investors.

I know the Chinese investors and they know me very well and at any point in time I will use my position to get them to Borno State.

If you have opportunity to meet all the other aspirants for the governorship, what would you tell them?

I would plead with them that yes, all of them are qualified to be governor but I am more mature and have gathered more experience. I would plead with them to concede to me and they would all be appropriately positioned because salvaging Borno is a collective responsibility. I would carry all of them along; together, they would take their positions and make a collective blueprint for Borno.

How about the people of Borno?

I want to let the people of Borno know that there must be some divine connection to my aspiration to be governor after this gap of 19 years. I have gathered a lot more experience in running public affairs and will bring that to bear in the economic, social, political and security revival of Borno State.

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