The killing of Borno State Vice Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Borno South, Alhaji Ibrahim Usman Gula, and a woman leader of the party in Shehuri North, Hajiya Gambo in Maiduguri last Monday, has sent other chieftains of the party scurrying into safety.
Checks revealed that many top politicians in the State have gone into hiding for fear of being killed.
A party stalwart that spoke from where he is hiding outside Borno, said it has become suicidal to be identified as a PDP leader in the State.
Sources told Sunday Sun that the party’s leadership was devastated by the incident, which was the first recorded heavy casualty suffered by the since the Boko Haram insurgency became worse. “We were still trying to weigh the impact of President Goodluck Jonathan’s statement during his visit to Yobe and Borno States recently and the reaction of our people, when the unfortunate incident occurred.
Honestly, everybody is destabilized and one is just hiding his head because everybody is a target”, said the a stalwart under condition of anoymity. It was gathered that in the past, the ruling All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) lost many of its chieftains including its former state chairman and Vice Chairman (North East), Alhaji Anwana Ngala who was the first casualty, and the party’s initial gubernatorial candidate in the 2011 build-up, Fanami Gubio, who was killed some months later.
Also killed at different times, were the Chairmen of Kukawa and Jere Local Governments, as well as Alhaji Mustapha Flawama, a political associate of the former governor. Checks revealed that until the latest incident, the popular feeling within the ANPP fold was that the killings were politically motivated. In fact, the party’s leadership had accused the PDP of sponsoring serial killing of its chieftains.
But that assumption was punctured by the assassination of the two PDP leaders. Gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram, shot dead both Gula and Hajiya Gambo in their houses near Maiduguri International Hotels and Shehuri North ward of the metropolis respectively. Curiously, Hajiya Gambo was the first female PDP chieftain to have been killed in inexplicable circumstance.
The Monday incident brought to three, the number of PDP leaders so far killed in the state. In mid-October, 2011, a PDP chieftain and member of the Borno State House of Assembly, Hon Modu Bintube, was short dead in front of his private residence in Gomari area, few metres away from the Air Force Base in the metropolis. About five gunmen were said to have stormed Bintube’s house shortly after the Muslim night prayer (Isha’I) and riddled his body with bullets. Until his death, Bintube represented Konduga State Constituency in the House of Assembly and he was the chairman of the House Committee on Information and Home Affairs.
Though, no group claimed responsibility for the killing, military sources maintained the attacks were perpetrated by the Boko Haram sect that has claimed responsibility for similar killings in the past. A PDP chieftain said the President’s declaration of no amnesty for the sect and his remarks in Borno during his recent visit might have angered the sect to turn its fangs on the party’s leadership.
His words: “I believe the sect is venting its anger on our party leaders because of the President’s remark, especially his reaction to the request for removal of bunkers and soldiers. Since the President is the leader of our party, Boko Haram may think he was stating the position of the party but in actual sense, he spoke the position of the presidency but we are the subjects of attack now.
That is not to say we have not been attacked before, but the current development is disturbing. We know other political parties have suffered too probably because of their fraternity and association with the former governor, Ali Sheriff, which is believed to be part of the problem if not the cause.”
He said it has become suicidal to be identified as a PDP leader, adding that like most of his political associates who fled the state following incessant attacks, he has resolved not to come to Borno from his refuge until the security situation improves.
The State chairman of PDP, Alhaji Baba Basharu, could not be reached for comments as at press time. His mobile phone was repeatedly unavailable when the reporter called him five times. Neither the police nor the Joint Task Force (JTF) has issued any statement concerning the killing of the two PDP chieftains.