Shettima @ 56: Gone through all the rudiments and has all the condiments

It is not tiring, but rather, scintillating and ever more interesting, as I cover Senator Kashim Shettima’s political/leadership sojourn, starting from April 28, 2019, in a piece titled, ‘Kashim: A war time master builder’. I stated that, ‘Sometime in 2017, All Progressives Congress, APC, national leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was invited to commission 432 resettlement houses in 13 villages, built by Governor Kashim Shettima. He also commissioned 13 primary and junior secondary schools, a general hospital, and five primary healthcare centers. He was on hand to also commission 26 luxury apartments on five detached three-storey buildings to serve as residence for medical doctors working in government hospitals in the state. It was named Tinubu Court in honour of the APC leader. Later on, Maryam Abacha commissioned a 250-bed ultra modern hospital, also named in her honour.

President Buhari was overjoyed when he commissioned Africa’s largest solar power plant, which has now produced 40MW of solar power, with a capacity to build 150mw in 2022. The finest hour was the commissioning of the Industrial hub, housing so many plants including the solar panel production plant, tomato processing plant, waste recycling plant, onions and ginger dehydrating plant, cassava processing plant and table water line plant. Drip irrigation pipes production plant, plastic mats production plant, elementary school desks and chairs production plant, PVC pipes production plant and grains and cement sacks production plant; form sections of the hub.

On April 26, 2019, there was another piece which I titled, ‘Kashim: The war time master builder does it again.’ Two weeks after, there was another beehive of ‘commissionings’ and in the article, I enthused, ‘lt is with great enthusiasm and a deep feeling of vindication, that I put pen to paper, within such a short period of time, over the master class delivery in Borno state. Kashim had invited the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, to commission another galaxy of projects, especially the Gaji Galtimari Housing Estate with 144 apartments.

An industrial layout was commissioned at Njimtilo, alongside the Borno State University Housing Estate at Njimtilo. Professor Osinbajo also commissioned the legacy gardens built in honour of Zanna Mustapha. There were so many road projects and the vice president had to interject and shorten the itinerary for the day because they simply didn’t have enough time to go round all the local government areas, to commission all what Shettima had ready. Shettima built over 40 mega schools in Borno, fully equipped and air conditioned, in an effort to bridge the gaps in learning, caused by the insurgency.

Three years after, I wrote another one, titled, ‘Kashim: The Jagaban of Jagaban’s campaign.’ Shettima was infront of every television camera, waxing strong about Tinubu, I explained. ‘Tinubu has a propensity for sacrificing his comfort to protect Nigeria’s democracy’, Shettima said. He went further to say that ‘so much has been said about Tinubu, the political enigma. Hacks with a poor sense of history have forgotten that the path that led us to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, ABAT; didn’t happen by chance. ABAT provided sanctuaries for fleeing compatriots who are very much around to testify to his very kind and large heart.

Our younger patriots must be in the know of ABAT’s struggles from two decades past – being the backbone of the opposition and how he was fiercely antagonised and politically ostracised from the military days, down to the ruling party of 1999.’ I was so excited by Shettima’s new exploits as somewhat of a chief campaigner for Tinubu, as he caught us all unaware, with the bedazzlement of his oratory skills. He wasn’t just a builder, he was a Kanuri man with confident English! I sneered at this discovery and tried to warn my fellow Fulani to step up their English, else, will just sell all of us to muncis with this his dogon turenci! There and then I presented to you my vice presidential candidate to Jagaban in the afore-mentioned piece. He was cerebral, eloquent and had untouchable legacies as governor of Borno state. He was the best of his class (2011 to 2019 – term governors).

On June 20, 2022, I penned another piece, ‘Kashim: I present to you my master builder.’ I took you through a journey of four write ups, describing the Jagaba of Jagaban’s team, and my preferred (rightly so) VP pick for ABAT. I summarised why Shettima was the most qualified.Governor, senator, banker and role model to future leaders of our great Nigeria and its beyond, it was going to be hard to beat my master builder. His resume and eventually his contributions to the Jagaban campaign were unbeatable and incontestable. Shettima was the best of the best, the finest of the top four, and winner of all the heats. Governor Nasir El-Rufa’i of Kaduna state too was quite close, but I guess other condiments worked in favour of our North-astern sterling candidate.

That wasn’t the end of my coverage. I wrote another poser titled, ‘APC and the North-eastern question’, on June 23, 2022. In it, I canvassed support for a North-eastern candidate, as the North-west was already in power in the fold of President Muhammadu Buhari being from the North-west. The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had picked a northerner, and a North-eastern veteran at that. APC had to be more strategic in fielding their VP nominee, in such a way that would neutralise Atiku’s support in the North-east. Shettima was simply the answer to the PDP strategy. Kashim Shettima was the first son of the change agenda as occasioned by his achievements in war time Borno state. Picking him was just too easy, anyway.

My last outing on Shettima, that’s before this, was after the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA’s 62nd Annual General Conference in Lagos in a piece titled, ‘Kashim: Starboy 2.01.’ He became the golden boy after that event anyway, catching prying eyes over his suit, tie and snickers. But more, positively, his speech, off hand, reeling out figures, facts, and even show-boating, calling everyone’s attention to the fact that, Shettima was not only a qualified pick, but the best that could ever have been picked by the APC.

Today, Shettima is just 56! An eye popping and re-assuring statistic, to buttress the godfatherly attribute of ABAT, in his ways of enrolling, nurturing and grooming future leaders. Kashim Shettima is a key, that will open up the doors to myriads of locked up generations of future leaders, waiting to rear up and jet forward, carrying the destiny of our giant nation in the hands of 21st century actors; actors as leaders who are equipped with more modern and efficient ways of administering good governance, and the delivery of democratic yields. Long live Kashim Shettima, so that Nigeria will participate in the spectacular rendition of your leadership acumen.

Tahir is the Talba of Bauchi.

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