By Sadiq Abubakar
President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, has said he is attracted to Kashim Shettima of Borno state because he has proved not to be “narrow minded and myopic but broad and fair to adherents of other religious groups as being testified by Christian leaders from all denominations living in the state.
Kaigama stated this in Maiduguri when he led Bishops to pay courtesy call on governor Shettima, as highpoint of the 50th anniversary celebration of Maiduguri Catholic Diocese (1966- 2016).
“I have met Governor Shettima at different fora, and I must say I have been very much attracted to his personality. He is not the narrow minded and myopic kind of leader. He is a leader whose vision is broad and whose hands are large enough to embrace everybody. He is also very humble. I told His Eminence, the Cardinal that in some places we go, we have to wait for two hours or three in order to meet some government personalities but in Borno state, the governor was the one receiving us and bringing us in. We came from different parts of Nigeria, and we are Catholic Bishops.
“It is our tradition to meet always, to interact, to pray, and to express solidarity with ourselves and those who are in need. We are a voice for the people. Our voice is a prophetic voice. We see where things are good, we say it so. Where things are bad, we say it so. This is our mission and today we are in Borno state,” Kaigama said.
Earlier, the Archbishop of Maiduguri Diocese, Bishop Oliver Dashe, had in his introductory comments, spoke of how governor Shettima has been rebuilding churches destroyed by Boko Haram in the state, supporting activities of Christian bodies for all denominations and being fair to Christians in the affairs of government the same way he is fair to the more populated Muslim community.
“I want to tell you all (Archbishops) that Governor Kashim Shettima has been a father to all of us. Under his regime, we are experiencing fantastic relationship between the government and Christians in this state,” he said.
Governor Shettima thanked the Archbishops for standing by the people of the state through thick and thin and noted that as a leader, he has obligation to be fair to everyone living in Borno irrespective of religious beliefs, ethnicity and from wherever anyone comes.