On Friday, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno state led a few other governors under the auspices of Northern and Progressive Governors Forum to Makurdi where they paid a courtesy and condolence call on the governor of Benue state, Samuel Ortom.
The visit was to sympathise with the government and people of Benue state over the violent clashes in the state which has resulted in over 80 deaths this year alone.
Apart from the expected condolences and call for Northern solidarity in good and bad times, Shettima made three interesting claims during his speech at the event.
- The solidarity of the Northern governors and their unspoken creed:
He said Northern governors resolved during one of its previous meetings to “step up our commitments to member States. We agreed to work under an unspoken creed, that what affects one Northern State, affects all the 19 Northern States. We resolved to stand by each other whether in moments of grief or in those of happiness.”
- If the North East can do it, so can Benue:
“None of us here can claim to understand the challenges of governing Benue State better than you because as they say, he that wears the shoes, knows where it pinches. Ours as your brothers, is to strengthen you. If we have whatever advise or experience we can share with each other, we will normally do that in private not in the open. The challenges of governance is beyond playing to the gallery. Governance is oftentimes, about life and death. The challenges we face today are to our minds, issues not beyond fixing. If the Northeast, Nigeria is today strongly hopeful of seeing an end to Boko Haram, we believe the challenges we are facing today, will by the grace of God, be a thing of the past, and very soon.”
The coincidence of second year crisis in every new administration in Nigeria, according to Shettima:
“This country appears to have the unfortunate coincidence of witnessing violence midway within the first two years of New Democratic administrations since 1999.
“About two years after our return to democracy, we faced serious religious and ethnic crisis between 2000 to 2002 which affected States like Kaduna, Plateau, Kano and some other parts of the North. The crisis spread to the south. In 2009, which was two years after the coming of Yar’adua, we faced the Boko Haram crisis which affected Bauchi, Borno and Yobe within the same month. Within two years of Jonathan’s election, we are again having violence that is having ethnic narratives. So, as leaders, we need to invest in very urgent and critical reflection, to find out why these crisis seem to be happening midday into new administrations in this country. They are coincidences but we need to find out why they are happening.”