ALI MODU SHERIFF DEMYSTIFIED
By Abdul-Azeez Suleiman
All processes of nature are characterized by the law of diminishing return. It gets to a point where big efforts yield small results.
This phrase has never been so accurately exemplified than in the case of the just-concluded All Progressives Congress primary in Borno state to nominate a candidate for the state’s governorship in 2019.
Ali Modu Sherrif, pompous self-acclaimed Godfather of the politics of Borno, was all out to manipulate the process and impose a lackey to succeed Governor Kashim Shettima in 2019.
But Governor Shettima, following genuine consultations with Borno elders and leaders, settled for 48- year-old Professor Babagana generally acknowledged for his intellect, capacity and indefatigability.
Shettima and the Borno elders arrived at the decision to endorse the gubarnatorial candidature of Professor Zulum to fast track rapid social and economic transformation of the war ravaged state.
Zulum, a Professor of Irrigation Engeneering, was until his endorsement as a gubernatorial candidate, a Commissioner for Rehabilitation Reconstruction and Ressettlemet (RRR).
A former Borno state Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement, he is also a member of National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPS).
Characteristically, Shettima, politely announced the consensus of the stakeholders to back Zulum, out of the 21 aspirants cleared by the APC to contest the party’s primaries held on September 30.
With that pronouncent, Shettima threw his whole weight behind Zulum, an engineer and fellow of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS possessing an intimidating curriculum vitae.
He was born in August, 1969 in Mafa Local Government area of the state. After his elementary and secondary education, he went to Ramat Polytechnic, Maiduguri, where he obtained a National Diploma in Irrigation Engineering in 1988.
From there, he proceeded to the University of Maiduguri to Study Agricultural Engineering between 1990 and 1994 after which he attened his mandatory NYSC service in Katsina State. He obtained his Masters Degree in Soil and Water Engineering from the University of Ibadan from 1997 to 1998.
He came back to Maiduguri to his Alma-Mata to undertake a doctoral degree which was successfully completed in 2009 in Agric and Environmental Engineering.
All along, he has been serving his state in various capacities as a technical officer up to the rank of a principal water engineer with Borno State Unified Local Government.
In the year 2000 he took up an appointment with the University of Maiduguri as an assistant lecturer in the department of Agric Engineering, he went through the ranks to become a Senior Lecturer in 2008. He later became the Rector of Ramat Polytechnic, Maiduguri.
In 2015, he was appointed Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement by Gov. Shettima, a position he held till early this week when the Borno State Executive Council was dissolved.
Sheriff on the other hand, typically unmindful of the considered decision of the stakeholders, schemed for Mr Dukwa who later proved a mismatch for Zulum.
Even before the bell sounded for voting to commence, most of the other aspirants withdrew and shifted their support in favour of Zulum.
And then when the polls proper were concluded, Zulum won and has since been declared the APC governorship flagbearer in Borno.
According to the returning officer, he got 4,432 votes beating Module Sheriff’s boy, Idris Durkwa who got 115.
The third aspirant Gambo Lawan made two votes, and a fourth scored ujust one vote. A total 317 votes were ruled invalid, after 5032 delegates voted in the primaries.
If this does not serve as a clear signal to Sheriff that his time is up, and Borno is now departing from the antics of detached politicians, then certainly nothing would.
As Sheriff is left to ponder how his assumed political might in the state was demystified, Zulum and Governor Shettima are already getting set for victory in next year’s general elections.
(Suleiman, a journalist writes from Abuja)