I felt a bit reluctant to write this piece and my apprehension may not be unconnected with the fact that I have never wrote about any
individual in the past, especially in public domain. It is in my habit to commend or criticize my political associates whom are in various positions of public trust, either elected or in appointment capacity. But in doing so, I try to adopt the option most desirable to me which is one-on-one contact, since the aim is to encourage or discourage certain positive or negative actions/decisions, as the case may be, that affects the lives of the electorates.
Contrary to my style, as mentioned above, I have now decided to go against my principles because I deem it fit to give ‘honour to whom honour is due’. His Excellency, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State is no doubt a courageous leader who has displayed, over the last six years of his stewardship to the good people of Borno State, remarkable leadership qualities even in the face of insecurity which has enveloped the state for close to a decade now.
It is a well known fact that in the history of our country since independence, there is no state governor, be it military or civilian, that was faced with such a difficult security situation for this long. As we all witnessed on daily basis, rather than weigh him down, the governor and his team are always on top of the challenges, moving from pillar to post to seek for solutions that will put smiles on the faces of the vulnerable destitute, orphans, widows and widowers, that are currently domiciled in IDP camps in the state.
The governor once told news reporters that ‘He’s the saddest governor in the country’ because he hardly sleeps at night due to, most a times, emergency distressed calls and security meetings that are almost part of his daily schedules. Just imagine for a moment, how can one sleep at night while the people he governs are been attacked on daily basis?
As the saying goes, ‘courageous people are always identified in the period of trials’; for such people, trials are nothing but a condition that brings out some special attributes bestowed on them by the Almighty, such as humility, compassion, problem solving, ability and above all, optimism. While other people may have possibly backed out when they were faced with such trials, His Excellency, Governor Shettima has displayed immense courage and love for his people by facing the problem head-square, absorbed it as his reality and went further to collaborate with all the stakeholders in resolving the problem and together they have
been able to make a tremendous progress.
Since its inception, Boko Haram insurgency has left a catastrophic destruction of lives and properties in North-Eastern Nigeria, in which Borno state received the highest carnage compared to other states within the region. The human and economic loss recorded in this period can be better imagined than told. Thanks to the ingenuity and commitment of our proficient leader, President Muhammadu Buhari whose effort made sure
that peace and stability returned to the region through aggressive military actions.
What surprised me most during my last visit to Borno state was that in spite of the activities of insurgents, Governor Kashim Shettima has not relented in his developmental thrust across the state. I saw completed housing projects, new class rooms that were built to replace the destroyed ones, hospitals, and social amenities within the city. I was also told that the same reconstruction activities were going on in almost all the local governments in the state. While we got talking with the Governor, I was further amazed by his concern for his people, his passion for development, his quest for good governance and his love for peace.
If Governor Shettima could record such an impressive performance in a situation of insurgency, the big questions is, how would his
accomplishments be if he had ascended the leadership of his state in an atmosphere of peace? Your guess is as good as mine. It is sad that in many states of our country where relative peace is enjoyed, the chief executives have less or nothing to show in terms of physical development.
According to James Allen, “He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little, he who will achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly.” His Excellency Governor Kashim Shettima has seen a lot in the past six years. Needless to also mention that he has sacrificed a lot to make sure his people live in peace so that they can enjoy the dividends of good governance. The people of Borno state are lucky to have this detribalized gentleman as a leader during this critical period in the history of the state. Like every well-meaning concerned citizen of this country, it is my fervent prayer that absolute peace return to Borno state and North East in general.
Hon. Umar Gital is a stalwart of APC from Bauchi State.