Nigeria: Despite Boos, Borno People Love Buhari, Says Shettima

13 February 2020

The boos poked at President Muhammadu Buhari when he paid a condolence visit to Maiduguri, after an onslaught by Boko Haram, has been said not be a true reflection of the trust the people of the state have in the president.

Kashim Shettima, a former governor of the state, now a serving senator of Borno central, said this at a media briefing in Abuja on Thursday.

President Buhari had in the 2019 elections scooped 90 per cent of the votes from Borno State, having pledged to defeat insurgency in the country.

But while the popularity Mr Buhari enjoyed a year ago seemed to have dwindled when residents thronged out saying the president should go, Mr Shettima maintained that people of Borno are on the side of the president.

"Yes, we have challenges. Certainly, we have reached the nadir in our crisis, and we are going to bounce back as a people. The people of Borno love Buhari. Maybe their expectations were over-exaggerated," Mr Shettima said.

"People thought he (Buhari) had a magic wand. He doesn't have one. But I believe it is a temporary hiccup. The people of Borno, the people of the northeast still passionately love Buhari."

Mr Shettima said by appointing two Borno sons -- Tukur Buratai as Chief of Army Staff and Babagana Monguno as National Security Adviser -- Mr Buhari has "done extremely well for the people of Borno," and the northeast as a whole.

"The people and the government of Borno are fully behind the President, are fully in support of our security establishment who have lost lives while serving the nation."

Asked if the presidential blame on the leaders of Borno went down well with him, the lawmaker recoiled, saying the president couldn't have made such statement.

"I doubt very much if the president blamed the people of Borno or the Borno elites," he responded. "He might have made a general statement on the need for people to align themselves with the aspiration for restoring peace in the northeast but I doubt if the President blamed the people of Borno."

Mr Shettima, nonetheless, called for unity among Nigerians to battle the plethora of challenges facing the country.

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