Ex Borno Governor, Senator Shettima
Despite its negative connotation and the fact that some people may harbour the illusion that there is nothing like cabal, there is a cabal in every administration, former Governor of Borno State, Senator Kassim Shettima said on Thursday.
Speaking as a Guest Speaker at the 17th Edition of the Daily Trust Dialogue held in Abuja with the theme 20 Years of Democracy in Nigeria: Strengths, Weaknesses and Opportunities”, the senator who doubles as the chairman, Sentate committee on Interiror, said he won’t mind being part of the cabals now that he is in Abuja.
He said: “When Jimmy Carter was the president of America he had his own cabal. They were called the Georgia Gang. Almost all his appointees were from Georgia. Even when our own brother, Barak Obama became president, about 16 top appointments in the Obama administration were from Chicago. His first two chief of staff, so also two secretaries, his two advisers were all from Chicago. So, power does not exist in a vacuum. If I have my way, now that am in Abuja I won’t mind being part of the cabals. But I would rather prefer to call it power brokers or inner caucus.”
Speaking on theme of the dialogue, Shettima said Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999 created an atmosphere for freedom and opportunities.
Going down memory lane on activities that shaped the country’s democracy in the last 20 years, the Senator recalled that there have been positive sides of Nigeria’s democracy starting from landmark judgments that have ousted governors, senators and powerful politicians.
He added that in the last 20 years governors and powerful politicians have lost elections and this has happened because of democracy.
Recounting that in the last 20 years the country has had four presidents starting with Olusegun Obasanjo who instituted anti-corruption agencies like the EFCC to fight corruption, he praised the administration under late President Umar Yar’Adua for the adherence to rule of law and respect for court judgements. Describing Goodluck Jonathan as a humble and honest leader who saved the country’s democracy by admitting defeat, the Senator said the country under Buhari has witnessed massive road and rail works as well as agriculture all of which have set the country on positive growth tragectory .
He noted, however that despite the leadership the country has gone through , Nigeria’s 20 years of democracy has more weaknesses than strength.
He listed some of these weeknesess to include selective adherence to the rule of law, poverty and insecurity and low women participation in politics.(Daily Trust)