Kashim: A new Leadership identity @57!
By Tahir Ibrahim Tahir.
Same time as this last year, I wrote an article celebrating Kashim Shettima, GCON, The Vice President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria. “Kashim @ 56!: Gone through all the rudiments & has all the condiments.” was published on the 2nd of September last year, to celebrate him on his birth date as described by the title.
The article, one of very numerous pieces I’d written on The Vice President, waxed thus: “It is not tiring, but rather, scintillating and ever more interesting, as I cover Sen. Kashim Shettima’s political/ leadership sojourn, starting from the 28th of April 2019, in a piece titled, ‘Kashim: A war time master builder’, where I stated that, ‘sometime in 2017, APC national leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu was invited to commission 432 resettlement houses in 13 villages, built by Gov. Kashim Shettima. He also commissioned 13 Primary and Junior Secondary Schools, a general hospital, and 5 primary healthcare centers.
He was on hand to also commission 26 luxury apartments on five detached 3 storey buildings to serve as residence for medical doctors working in government hospitals in the state. It was named Tinubu Court in honor of the APC leader. Later on, Maryam Abacha commissioned a 250-bed Ultra Modern Hospital, also named in her honor.
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, tomatoes processing plant, waste recycling plant, onions & ginger dehydrating plant, cassava processing plant and table water line plant.
Drip irrigation pipes production plant, plastic mats production plant, elementary school desk & chairs production plant, PVC pipes production plant and grains & cement sacks production plant; form sections of the hub.”
In a subsequent piece On the 26th of April, 2019, which was titled, ‘Kashim: The war time master builder does it again’, just exactly 2 weeks after, celebrated then Gov. Kashim, as there was yet again, another beehive of ‘commissionings’. 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 Prof.
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. Prof. Osinbajo also commissioned the legacy gardens built in honor of Zanna Mustapha.
There were so many road projects and the VP had to interject and shorten the itinerary for the day because they simply didn’t have enough time to go round all the local governments, to commission all what Kashim had ready. Kashim 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.
3 years after, I followed up with another, entitled, ‘Kashim: The Jagaban of Jagaban’s campaign’. Kashim was infront of every TV camera, waxing strong about Tinubu, I explained. ‘Tinubu has a propensity for sacrificing his comfort to protect Nigeria’s democracy’, Kashim 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 Kashim’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 fulanis to step up their english, or else, Kashim will just sell all of us to muncis with this his dogon turenci! There and then I presented to you my VP 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).
Untiringly, on The 20th of June, 2022, I penned another piece, ‘Kashim: I present to you my master builder’. I took you through a journey of 4 write ups, describing the Jagaba of Jagaban’s team, and my preferred (rightly so) VP pick for ABAT. I summarised why Kashim 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 man! His resume and eventually his contributions to the Jagaban campaign were unbeatable and incontestable. Kashim was the best of the best, the finest of the top four, and winner of all the heats.
Nasir Elrufai too was quite close, but I guess other condiments worked in favor of our North Eastern sterling candidate. That wasn’t the end of my coverage, as I wrote another poser titled, ‘APC and the North Eastern Question’, on the 23rd of June, 2022.
In it, I canvassed support for a North Eastern candidate, as the North West was already in power in the fold of President Buhari being from the North West. PDP had picked a Northerner, and a North Eastern veteran at that. APC had to be equally or more strategic, in fielding their VP nominee, in such a way that would neutralise Atiku’s support in the North East.
Kashim was simply the answer to the PDP strategy. Kashim 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.
Today, as we journey through the sands and dunes of history, Kashim has become quite and enigma, and undoubtedly one of the most prolific Northern politicians Nigeria has ever witnessed.
Forget the larger than life figure you see onscreen, as deeply rooted in that personality, are ethics and principles of a character, well tutored in humility, properly grounded in local political sophistry, and adeptly rich in human resource management. His impeccable memory is like that of ‘The Unforgettable’ lead character.
Once your face and name are registered in his long capped head, it is there for a lifetime, and that is why you would find him at the wedding of his school professor’s daughter at Ibadan, smiling and taking pictures with friends and family, even as Vice President. I got a message on my phone a while back and I couldn’t figure out who and why.
The more I queried the messenger, the more the descriptive answers came through. In the end the messenger chided me, “kai fulani no sense wallahi”, “you do not know Kashim the Senator from Borno State?” Before I could manage a reply, the humor in his comments got the better of me and I fell to the ground in uncontrollable laughter.
Kashim is ingenious in his quest for cameraderie and friendship, just as he was a maverick, in providing purposeful leadership for Borno State, while in office, and long after.
Best Wishes to Mr. Vice President, at 57. Long life and prosperity to Sen. Kashim Shettima, the creator of new Leadership Identities, as aptly captured by Prof. Zulum, his mentee.
Tahir is Talban Bauchi.