Kashim Shettima: An epitomic genre from Borno

By: James Bwala

Former Borno state governor and senator representing Borno Central at the National Assembly, Senator Kashim Shettima is a classic example of a charismatic leader. His kind of genre is unique and magnetic around many pointers that lead his path as a commissioner, a governor and the people’s representative in the circle of life where he found himself to be today. As an iconic figure, the golden fish that he is, Kashim Shettima’s love keeps growing among the political class as it soars on every table of discussion amongst the masses across political lines in Nigeria.

I was in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital recently, where I had several discussions with many residents of my state about the stand of the APC if they concluded to bring the VP from the state. This was owing to recent stories making the rounds between Kashim Shettima and his political godson, Governor Babagana Umara Zulum. The conclusions at every quota even in Maiduguri except for the few suggest that governor Zulum should continue with his assignment as governor and leave the issue of VP to Kashim Shettima who has more experience in matters of National concern.

According to an associate of Zulum, Kashim Shettima is the light of the state and a father figure to the current political movement regardless of what others may think of him. ‘Love him, hate him but you can always agree on one thing that Kashim Shettima remains an epitome of humility and a mastery of human capital management. His undoubted focus in Nigeria’s politics in the unfolding events before, during and after the emergence of his ‘Principal’ as he would say – Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu further made him a pillar on which the APC can trust.’ That was a submission from a highly decorated political figure in Borno state.

When Bola Ahmed Tinubu returns from London after a long break before the APC primaries for its Presidential ticket, I got the filler on which I wrote on how Kashim Shettima may have emerged as Tinubu’s running mate. That story was informed by a discussion at a dinner table where Tinubu was said to have called on Shettima’s name about three times before the dinner was done. Those who were with him agreed perfectly to his strategy if the opportunity came for the party to play on the Muslim – Muslim ticket.

Following the recent outcome from the party’s primaries, Tinubu had believed that for the party to have a clean selling point there can never be a compromise on the perfect marketing manager, who wither the storms to sell his candidature despite odds against him. That he (Tinubu) was insisting on Kashim Shettima speak volume of the man he believes can tango with him in the voyage to bring back the glory of the party and lost grounds in shaping the dwindling economic impact on the country.

Kashim Shettima did not only have the war chest but also built relationships across states not only in northeast Nigeria but across the north, south and eastern part of the country. His demonstrated ability to fish out the best like he did of Zulum and his promotive stances on Tinubu tells everything about a man who had vision to secure the future of this country as a perfect running mate for the next Nigeria’s president.

The Nigerian governor’s push for Zulum since the table turns for a choice on northeast Nigeria as being speculated was hurriedly and costly mistake to make. They insist on Zulum as they were not looking at experience and relationships from a bigger picture.

Zulum, the anointed of Kashim Shettima as Borno governor may be doing well in Borno state but he is still a green horn to be on Nigeria’s landscape for now. It is also a wrong move by the governor’s to sell one of their own (current) governors for such an occasion, which exposes their weaknesses as promoters of self-seeking rather than working for the common good for the APC at such a crucial time in Nigeria’s democratic belief.

While the APC governor’s, especially those from the north have played key roles in supporting the shift for the presidency from the north to the south it is only credible that they allow Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to go with his choice of running mate. If he said Kashim Shettima is the man he is looking at, I believe he has gone through the length and breadth of this country with him while seeking the acceptance of the people before the Primaries and may have seen a good VP in Kashim Shettima.

Many presidential candidates have emerged and the contest is done. Zulum has been on the pages of the people he had supported although he had continued to shelve the issues of running mates to candidates who approached him. People like VP Osinbajo and Hon. Chibuke Ameachi. He has never been in consultation with Tinubu on this matter and in politics this appears negative on his side even if the governor’s push their will on Tinubu to go with Zulum.

Also if Zulum should accept the bid by those governors rather than pushing for his boss, it will amount to betrayal, which could cost him trust and a relationship built over the years. His integrity here is also at stake unless he is not what many citizens thought he is. Sometimes a good offer may turn out to be a poison. Zulum and Tinubu may not rhyme as the Tinubu, Shettima’s drumbeat on the content for campaign in the 2023 general election. His time will come but now he should do the needful as a man of courage to support Kashim Shettima on this.

Kashim Shettima and Bola Tinubu are like-minded in building the capacity of people and in shaping resources for a creative model in governance. They are so formidable in their approaches to issues and have blended in the two generations of the old and the young. It is better to have a VP that can read the lips of his principal at all times.


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