Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State yesterday said that former President Goodluck Jonathan wanted to remove him as governor.
Shettima spoke in Abuja at the public presentation and launch of ‘On A Platter Of Gold: How Jonathan Won and Lost Nigeria’, a book written by Bolaji Abdullahi, the National Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
It would be recalled that Governor Shettima had once told former President Jonathan that “it is absolutely impossible to defeat Boko Haram”.
The governor, who spoke to State House correspondents after meeting with the former president, said that Boko Haram members were better armed and motivated than the security operatives as they were overrunning communities and killing people.
But in an indirect response to this statement, Jonathan, during one of his presidential media chats, threatened to withdraw the security operatives.
But Governor Shettima, who chaired the book launch yesterday, said that it took the intervention of a former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Bello Adoke and the former president’s Minister of Special Duties to convince him that no provisions in the Nigerian constitution backed him despite past precedents.
He said the president was made to believe that he (Shettima) was the problem of his administration for allegedly kidnapping the Chibok girls.
He said, “Sadly, Borno was the epicentre of the crisis that engulfed the Jonathan administration. This is the second book I am reading on the Jonathan saga. President Jonathan is essentially a decent person, an unsophisticated country politician caught up in the vortex of power politics in Nigeria. When the Chibok girls saga started, they made the president to believe that there was no abduction; that the Chibok girls were kidnapped by the governor of Borno State ostensibly to embarrass the Jonathan administration and he believed that line of story.
“I wasn’t invited to Abuja until nearly three weeks later and even when I was invited to Abuja, I was quite thrilled that at last, I was getting the attention of my leader. I was asked to come along with Commissioner of Police, the Divisional Police Officer in Chibok, the Commissioner of Education, the Military Commander in Chibok and the Director of DSS in Borno.
“We were all ushered into the Villa. Sadly, when the president came in, he was still in that mood. He started threatening the school principal that she should tell them where the girls were. ‘Principal, you must tell me where the girls are. Commissioner of Police, you have to tell me’… But we have to give it to him, that by conceding defeat, he saved the nation from the precipice.
“There was a time he wanted to remove me at all costs. In the Federal Executive Council, they were all speaking in the same tone that this Borno governor must be removed for embarrassing the government; that I was the problem. Two Nigerians stood out.
“He sought the opinion of Mohammed Adoke Bello, the then Attorney General. Adoke told him that ‘Mr President, you have no power to remove even an elected councilor’. Then, he sought the opinion of other Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, in his team, the Minister of Special Duties, Tanimu Turaki. And Turaki also told him that ‘Mr President, you have no power to remove a sitting governor’. And that was how the matter died.”