KANO: Borno state in northeast Nigeria has been devastated by Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency but candidates are lining up to become governor at elections next year.
At least 21 politicians have thrown their hat in the ring to try to secure the nomination for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) at party primaries this weekend.
Whoever emerges as winner will contest for the governorship at elections in March next year and likely succeed Kashim Shettima, who steps down after a maximum two four-year terms.
Muslim-majority northeast Nigeria is an APC stronghold and in 2015 an overwhelming 94 percent of voters chose Muhammadu Buhari in Borno state, securing his victory for the presidency.
APC governorship primaries are being held in most of Nigeria’s 36 states on Sunday but the crowded field for the Borno ticket is unusual, not least because of the huge challenges it faces.
More than 27,000 people have been killed in Borno and two neighbouring states since 2009, in one of the world’s most violent conflicts that has destroyed homes and infrastructure.
Suicide bombings and attacks against both civilians and the military remain a constant threat, despite official claims that the jihadists are weakened to the point of defeat.
Aid agencies are meanwhile grappling with the humanitarian fall-out from the conflict, not least providing 1.8 million homeless people with food, shelter and life-saving healthcare.
Since 2016, more than $10 billion (8.6 billion euros) in state and federal government funding has been ploughed into northeast Nigeria to improve security and help the relief effort.
On top of that has come international donor funding of emergency and humanitarian projects from tackling severe acute malnutrition to sanitation and food security.