MISREADING KASHIM SHETTIMA ON THE POLITICS OF SENATE PRESIDENCY
The conclusive defeat handed out to opposition political parties and the pain and anguish it rubbed on sour losers is still giving sleepless nights to those who have refused to come to terms with the reality of their inconsequentiality in Nigerian politics. The manner in which some politicians and their hangers on go about crying wolf where non exist out of the innocent statements which Vice President Kashim Shettima made during a parley with elected Senators on the principles of power sharing and balancing have proved to all discerning minds that although elections have been won and lost, the bitterness in them is still eating them up piecemeal.
Since the inauguration of the new government, both the presidency and the leadership of the APC have been at their wit’s end, trying very hard to broker an acceptable formula of power sharing in view of the emergence of the Muslim/Muslim ticket of Tinubu and Shettima and the ill-treatment which some zones and faiths felt.
The insistence by both the presidency and the leadership of the party that a southern Christian minority should emerge as Senate President was meant to balance it up. Already, the numbers one and two highest offices have Tinubu and Kashim occupying them and from the look of things, the number four office will be occupied by a member of the House of Representatives (another Muslim) from Kaduna state. The argument put forward by Kashim Shettima at the parley with the Senators was that it will be the height of insensitivity to still insist that another northern Muslim will be eying the presidency of the Senate.
The statement and choice of words which the Vice President deployed and which political opponents cashed in on, to portray Shettima as downgrading his fellow Muslims became handy to the very elements who have made it a duty to be perpetually on the look out for gaffes and slips from top government functionaries with the intention of overamplifying and adding too much salt to it, to, in their warped misjudgment, cause maximum damage and embarrassment to the APC.
Those who know Kashim Shettima closely can attest to his unalloyed and nonnegotiable love and loyalty to his faith. He has proven time and time again, when he was Governor of Borno state his abiding faith in his faith. Of course, he had course, to defend the people of other faiths when seeming injustices were visited on them, especially during the mindless insurgency in Borno state. But he has also put his life on the line in the defense of his own people and on several occasions he nearly paid with his life. It was all about being fair and just to all manner of people and this doctrine is enshrined in the commandments of the Islamic faith. Instances abound where the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) entered into covenant with people of other religions and under the agreement, he ordered that they be fairly protected and justly treated.
I agree that the Vice President’s choice of words were, on the face of it, liable to be misconstrued by the mischievous crowd who have been on the look out for slips to feed on. On this, Kashim Shettima could not have shied away from saying the obvious truth in fear of being misread. More so, Nigeria survives on the tripod of justice and fairness and the outcome of the 2023 elections which produced a Muslim/Muslim presidency has made it crucial for the winning party to be mindful and tactful in the way our diversity in geography, religion and ethnicity are managed. He couldn’t have helped it also, if unpatriotic politicians and their crumb fickers have chosen to misinterpret it to suit whatever unpatriotic purpose they harbor. The fact remains, that no matter how one tries to hide it, truth has a way it billows out. Whether Kashim Shettima utters it out or not, nothing will ever keep truth permanently hidden from showing its face.
The intentions to pitch Kashim Shettima against his fellow Muslims on account of those misinterpretations have fallen flat on their faces. Nigerians are now wiser and they have learnt to be on the alert for the antics of the enemies of the country who would spare no effort to ignite hatred and division to achieve their inordinate ambition of misgoverning this country.
Ahmed BK, firstname.lastname@example.org writes from Birnin Kebbi