20 February 2013

Nigeria: Cabinet Reshuffle Looms in Borno As Shettima, Sheriff Feud Deepens

Maiduguri — There is imminent cabinet reshuffle in Borno State as the cold war between Governor Kashim Shettima and his predecessor, Ali Modu Sheriff deepens, Daily Trust gathered yesterday.

Sources said commissioners regarded as core loyalists of Sheriff would be sacked. Embattled deputy governor, Zanna Umar Mustapha is also battling to save his seat.

Zanna's trouble hit the headlines on Monday after some youth from Biu town in southern Borno wrote a petition accusing him of dual loyalty because of his "excessive closeness" to Sheriff.

The group, Biu Progressive Youth Forum (BPYF) therefore called on Shettima to drop Zanna in 2015.

Another group, Southern Borno leaders of Though (SBLT), allegedly sponsored by the deputy governor, yesterday said the call for the removal of Zanna was a misnomer, arguing that the move would only heighten tension in a state battling with insurgency.

A source said Shettima might announce the cabinet reshuffle in the next few days to weed out "dissident commissioners" even as some of his loyalists expecting juicy portfolios were jubilating.

It was gathered yesterday that a commissioner, who is said to be loyal to Governor Shettima, was behind the plan to sack the deputy governor.

Our correspondent reliably gathered that while Sheriff is touring the 27 local government areas of the state to mobilize support for Shettima's replacement in 2015 because of irreconcilable differences, the governor on the other hand is repositioning himself to have a firm grip of the state by uprooting the loyalists of the ex-governor.

It was also gathered that the call for the impeachment of the Borno deputy governor was hatched at the government house allegedly by one of the special advisers to the governor.

A commissioner, who spoke to our correspondent in confidence said recent developments in the state might spell doom for the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and by extension, the new All Progressive Alliance (APC).

'The truth is that Governor Shettima may not know that some people want to use him against his boss (Sheriff). But this is like biting the finger that fed him. Frankly speaking, the governor should not in any way be seen to be fighting Ali Sheriff at this moment even if he is behind some of these things that are happening within his government", the commissioner said.

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