Nigerian Political News Media

…Their Origin, Their Intent

By Ahmed-BK

It is no longer news that former Borno state Governor Kashima Shettima had been vehement in his one-man mission of making a successor out of the best man available. It is no longer news either that his search for that best man fell, ultimately, on his then Commissioner of Rehabilitation, Rebuilding and Reconstruction Professor Babagana Umara Zulum. Of course, more than twenty aspirants showed intent and each of them had purchased the expression of interest form. As it has always been with his policy, the former governor had conceded to every one of them the right and the leeway to pursue his or her dreams, even when his mind, on the best man for the job, has been made up.

The rest, as they say, is now history. Professor Zulum is today, by the will of Allah the executive governor of Borno state. The good news about it is that the Professor had, by dint of hard work and stellar performance, become not just one of the most loved governors of this dispensation, but about the most talked about in Nigeria. This meant that the decision to prod him up was, in the first place, a masterstroke by then Governor Kashim Shettima. It meant also that Kashim Shettima was selfless, visionary, patriotic, far-reaching and patriotic about his choice of a successor.
If he had wanted to make a sidekick or a lame duck as his successor or was uncompromising in wanting to continue to call the shots and rule by proxy, there were enough of qualified candidates even amongst the aspirants that had thrown their hats into the ring. Amongst them were his boys, relatives, associates whom he mentored and lieutenants who squarely fitted the bill. Anyone who has an inkling of the dynamics of Borno politics will agree with me that the antecedents of Professor Zulum since his years as a Lecturer at the University of Maiduguri were clearly of a man of his own conviction, independent minded, self made and not cut out to be anybody’s stooge. It was this independent mindedness, coupled with his sheer competence, level of education and courage to take decisions that warmed him into the heart of the former governor and that was the one single reason why Kashim Shettima ‘poached’ him from the Ivory tower in the first place and made him the Rector of the state-owned Ramat Polytechnic, Maiduguri. His performance in turning things around at the Polytechnic and the gusto he deployed to make it first class in so short a time convinced Kashim to make him a member of his cabinet. The rest, again, has become history.
This information, to the informed, is no longer news. So, why am I writing about what is stale news? A couple of weeks ago, some sore losers, amongst them a few of the aspirants who contested against the current Governor went underground and sponsored some publications casting aspersions on the former governor and laid very wild but laughable allegations claiming that the now Senator Shettima had made away with more than Four hundred billion Naira of Borno money. There was no doubt that some of the close associates of Kashim Shettima who teamed up to prosecute the anti-Kashim media campaign were nothing but bad, clumsy and cowardly losers. These betrayers were on ground and had equally contested the gubernatorial primaries, that was adjudged to be very open, free and fair and when the process produced Professor Zulum as the winner, no one, amongst them had the nerve to signify dissent. In fact, every one of them, but one, publicly accepted the processes and even congratulated the winner with a pledge to join hands to work for the success of the party.
To now make a volte-face, so immaturely and so cowardly, and to do it like rain beaten chickens, is to say the least very unbecoming of people who have benefitted immensely from the broadmindedness and large-heartedness of a benevolent benefactor.
If the former Governor had taken the billions as childishly alleged, how much did Borno earned from all sources in his eight year reign? Where did he get the billions he channeled towards the unprecedented provision of the infrastructure everybody has been talking about everywhere in the country? Was it not the Kashim Shettima that had built over forty mega primary schools across the state? Was it not him that had established an industrial hub housing many industries that has provided jobs to people and improved the state IGR? Was it, still not the same Kashim Shettima that refused to run away from the state when the Boko Haram insurgency was at its bloodiest and chose to stay put, provided leadership at the front and spent billions to provide much needed and critical support to the men prosecuting the war? I thought it was the same Kashim Shettima that had spent billions to encourage the timely formation, kitting, provided logistics, training and paid salaries of a youth vanguard known as C-JTF which collaborated with troops and literally went to war and succeeded in changing the narratives of the pogrom. The man had done much more for education, agriculture, roads and housing that space here will not be enough to itemize them one after the other.
How on earth, could any sane person even think of sponsoring such a worthless piece of junk, when all facts point directly at the contrary? Where did he get all the money to do the good he had done and still have hundreds of billions left to squander? Has any one of them cared to visit any of the states where stealing of public money was done as portrayed unabashedly and can be seen in the complete absence of a semblance of the achievements on display in Borno? Again, is it not ironic that a succession-decision that has turned out to be such a huge success as Kashim’s insistence on Professor Zulum will draw belated opposition from fellow aspirants who lost out fairly at a time the man is rated the best in the country?
Our tragedy as a nation is that high performing leaders could, by the whims of opportunists, be subjected to unfair gang up, over sound decisions they have taken in order to safeguard, protect and advance their nation, states or local governments. We understand, in the spirit of the inanities of our kind of clime, that Nigeria is indeed, the theatre of the absurd. Just that, no matter how hard they try, the place of Kashim Shettima in the history of leadership in Nigeria, has been carved out and made impregnable to betrayers of end time.

Ahmed-BK wrote in from Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State (bigbk@hotmail.co.uk)

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