Jagaban and his own Jagaba!

Do you remember my piece titled, ‘Abu Kyari: The New Deputy National Chairman of the APC & my lessons in fishing’, published on the 4th of April, 2022? A narration of how I was mentored by Uncle Habu (Senator Abu Kyari), to develop my business endeavors in my early 20s. Begging for space in that article, I however didn’t cover how I visited Abu Kyari in Maiduguri, when he was the Chief of Staff to then Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State; to sell an idea I had, about how Gov. Kashim, could deploy the same teaching gadgets, that Gov. Aregbesola of Osun, had used, to revamp the quality of education in primary schools. The Opon Imo was revolutionary, in equipping students with knowledge, and improving their performances with their School Leaving Certificate Examinations. Sen. Kyari encouraged me and took me to see Kashim, who was very supportive; even though he didn’t patronise me at the time, he made me understand that the challenges of education in Borno were peculiar. He went nostalgic about my late dad Dr. Tahir, and lectured me about how I had huge shoes to fill, and a life of commitment and servitude I had to live; in trying to emulate the late Talba. In my then business mind, I was ruminating about how this was a huge business opportunity, but alas; it had turned into a lecture in history, politics, and intellectualism! I was like.. Kanuri ya ji turanci mun shigesu! Anyway, to me, that was the unveiling of a new breed politician, who had wits, oratory, and fine administrative skills, that Borno needed, to reclaim it from insurgency.

On the 20th of June, 2022, in another article titled, ‘Kashim: I present to you my master builder’, which was probably the 6th or 7th installment of a series of articles I have been writing, covering Kashim as a governor in Borno, and laterly, as one of the arrow-heads of the Asiwaju campaign for the Presidential candidature of the APC. In that piece, I espoused the leadership qualities of Kashim, and why I was of the firm belief, that he is the cut-out, for the position of Tinubu’s running mate. At one point, during the build up to the primaries, Kashim was in a cuffs off, sleeves drawn, fists bumped demeanor, when Tinubu was ‘attacked’, and mischievously represented as denigrating PMB and Gov. Oludapo Oluseun Abiodun of Ogun State. Kashim’s valiant defense of Asiwaju, showed how deeply and truly he supported him. Kashim came to the rescue of Asiwaju, and at the end of the day, needed some rescuing himself. And like a true democrat, with all humility, he tendered his unreserved apologies, to those his defence, may have rocked.

Many people, both young and older Nigerians, have come to realise that Kashim, is not just your ordinary Chief Executive of a State — even though he must be recognised for sterling efforts in rescuing Borno — that would evaporate into oblivion, as soon as they leave office, or retire to the senate. Kashim is the kind of speaker that glues you to the screen, as you watch him render himself, selecting fine language, and delivering handsome messages to the listener, without even disagreeing with him, one tiny bit. In a write-up, ‘The Jagaban of Jagaban’s campaign’, I summarily asked that Kashim be made DG of Asiwaju’s team. In ‘APC and the North-eastern Question’, I winked at Kashim, as the supposed running mate for Tinubu. Today, Tinubu himself has come forward, to answer the gaping question of who to pick. I scrolled quickly, to reach the bottom of the long Tinubu statement, so I could breath. Finally finding Kashim’s name, I heaved a sigh of relief, and did the Shukur prostration.

The silver lining to the pick, is Asiwaju’s confession, that, ‘Senator Kashim’s career in politics and beyond, shows that he is eminently qualified not only to deliver that all important electoral victory, but also step into the shoes of the Vice President. As a man with the talent, maturity, strength of character and patriotism, he has my implicit confidence and faith.’ He went on to further state that if we truly understand the challenges upon us as a nation, then we must also see the imperative of placing competence in governance, above religious sentiments.

Aside religion, Kashim ticks all the boxes there are. Politics, experience, national spread or acceptability, party loyalty and that of the candidate, oratory, education, pedigree and lots of other criteria. Some people consciously build themselves to aspire for leadership. Kashim was unintentionally built for leadership and he has found himself thrust by fate, into the ring of leadership, at a time when tested and trusted individuals are on the main menu of the day, in filling the soon to be left vacuum, in driving the affairs of our dear Nigeria. Political expediency gave birth to a fulani muslim in the PDP. The same thing has given birth to Kashim as a VP candidate to Asiwaju, despite all that has been said and done, to scuttle such headways. Mine is a prayer, that Tinubu and his running mate Kashim, deliver for the APC, and eventually for Nigeria; repositioning where the party veered off, or couldn’t accomplish identified targets and deliverables. This is a team that APC faithfuls believe in, and will sweat for it, till it is a done deal.

Tahir is Talban Bauchi.

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