2023, Kashim Shettima: A Discovery In Essence

By kabiru Usman Hassan, PhD

The choice of Senator Kashim Shettima as the vice presidential candidate to Alhaji Ahmad Bola Tinubu, the APC presidential candidate for the 2023 general election is, to use the cliche “a right peg in the right hole”. Kashim, without doubt, is a history and a school of politics of the highest order, and beyond the flamboyant show-off and pretension of our everyday politics, he possesses a unique political acumen that lends undeniable credence to his insightful leadership that often sees beyond the genesis of events which often informs the type of solutions he proffers to situations and challenges to approximately tackle them.

Kashim’s exceptional leadership, managerial and Intellectual qualities, as well as his fast experience as an administrator both in the commercial and political spheres have put him on the right trajectory as a perfect choice for the vice presidential position, and most importantly his innate love for diversity, clarity of purpose and tolerance of ideas and collaborative actions.

With an astute background in Agricultural Economics, Senator Kashim Shettima kickstarted his career at the University of Maiduguri as a Lecturer in the Department of Agricultural Economics where he offered his abundant reservoir of knowledge to the academia from 1991 to 1993. He later ventured into the business and banking sector where he subsequently rose to the high-ranking position of the manager of Zenith Bank’s Maiduguri office before quitting the position in 2007 to formally venture into politics with the overall purpose of extending his strategic skills, leadership, economic and managerial expertise to the service of Borno State.

The capability of a leader is not measured in an environment devoid of any form of catastrophe but in moments of tumultuous hardships, trials, and challenges. These were exactly what characterized the leadership of Kashim Shettima as a governor. His eight years in office as the Governor of Borno state were plagued by the deadly Boko Haram insurgency. Those were supposed to be the insurgents’ glorious years, but consistency, honesty of purpose, and strength of insights have helped him to not only hold the state through all the years marshaling strategies and mechanisms to eschew the security menace but also to lay a solid successive legacy to push the war to an end.

It was Kashim in 2013, who with the approval of the National Security Adviser and the Nigerian Army formalized the establishment of the youth volunteers called the civilian JTF as a means to further curb the menace of Boko Haram insurgents. He approved kits, vehicles, and salaries for members of JTF and accorded them all possible support as well as the Nigerian Army all to secure Borno state and bring an end to Nigerian biggest security challenge in recent years.

In his unchecked effort to bring life back to the insurgent-ravaged state as the governor, he spearheaded the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement of the victims of Boko Haram. He expanded and remodeled existing schools and built new ones to cater to the numerous orphans made as a result of Boko Haram’s unrestrained attack on civilians. He equally rebuilt more than 30,000 homes across Gwoza, Bama, Mobbar, Damboa, Nganzai, Mafa, Konduga, Kaga, Maiduguri, and a host of other locations.

From security to health, to education, and the economy of the state, Kashim had time and again proven that leadership, especially delivering good governance is not an impossible or herculean task with the right person and the sincerity of purpose in place. This has not only won him the hearts of many people in the north but by extension the country at large. And in a society bereft of leaders with the much-needed Intellectual grit to have all the necessary critical thinking wherewithal to make solid decisions, he stands out tall as a model for present and future leaders.

He is one of the few detribalized Nigerian politicians who are equally accommodating to people from other religious groups. As a governor of Borno state, he had among his closest aides men from other ethnic groups and religious afflictions from every part of the country. He had an Ibo Christian from Anambra state, an Edo Christian from Edo state, an Urhobo Christian from Delta state, a Yoruba Christian from South West, a Fulani Muslim from Gombe state, and a Hausa Muslim from Zamfara state. He is a man who believes so much in the unity of Nigeria beyond the scope of ethnic, regional, or religious aggregation.

The proliferated tradition of ex- leaders interfering in the governance of their former places of leadership, especially governors was thoroughly despised by Kashim Shettima, thus he does not interfere with the governance of his successor even though he had genuinely encouraged, motivated, and influenced the choice of Babagana Umara Zulum as the Governor of Borno state. This was borne out of the sole purpose and genuine intention of handing over his beloved state to a good and capable hand, and he has never been disappointed.

The present Governor of Borno has not only proven himself as another leader of Kashim Shettima “s extraction who has a golden and compassionate heart, but also one who has over time become a hero and the perfect example of leadership of the people, by the people and for the people. This act has won Kashim Shettima the hearts of many Nigerians, beyond the borders of religion and ethnicity.

Kashim Shettima’s leadership ingenuity has been recognized and acclaimed several times and over the years. He was chosen the 2014 Governor of the year, ( Leadership Newspaper); Governor of the year 2015, (Nigerian Union of Journalists, national body); Governor of the year, 2015, (NewsWatchTimes Newspaper); Governor of the year 2015, (Vanguard Newspaper); Governor of the year, 2016,( Tell Magazine), 2017 Zik Prize for leadership and 2017 Kaduna NUJ award for courage and exceptional leadership.

It is humanly impossible to entirely capture the essence of Kashim’s vice presidential discovery by Tinubu; enough traceable records of Kashim’s immense contributions to the fulfillment of the people’s aspirations since he began to assume leadership roles, his proven leadership and Intellectual prowess, and most importantly his political structure and influence across the nooks and crannies of the North, are enough testaments to this powerful choice and I call for nothing but gratitude to God for blessing Nigeria with Kashim who aptly represents the model of the Nigerian leaders of our dreams.

Dr. Kabiru Usman Hassan is the Director General of Gombe Geographic Information Systems

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