The NBA conference has sort of been marked as the starting point of the 2023 election year campaigns’ 100 metres dash, and the event has become the centre stage for huge and virile political commentary, media banter, intellectual discourse and most importantly; a dose of what we are going to get throughout, or most part of the campaign season.
Sen. Kashim Shettima was the only Vice Presidential candidate, who was on stage at the conference, representing his principal, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu aka Jagaban; the Presidential candidate of the ruling APC. Going back a few weeks, to the days of the APC primaries build up, Nigerians met a glimpse of Kashim’s content and intellectual quantity. I overheard tweeps and other users/ influencers on social media, appreciating his oratory, his composure, and fact files of history; as he quotes events, activities, and the actors therein with great accuracy. I came across some other commentary, that the bookshelves he usually has in his residence or office are indeed being utilised and not just as used for interior decor.
The NBA conference provided a microphone for Sen. Kashim, to not only test, but to grip and hold, and make his own. He was effervescent with facts, figures, dates and timelines; and he was inch perfect as he rendered his speech confidently and convincingly. It was more than a perfect platform of ‘learned colleagues’; where he could reach out and speak to the learned community, and garner their intellectual attention unto himself — dispelling all discontent, over his emergence as a Vice Presidential candidate. If anyone was in doubt, it was more than obvious to him/ her, that Kashim was indeed the best of the best that the APC had considered for the VP slot, to be alongside democracy’s cicero; the Jagaban of Borgu.
Kashim was effusive, pitching a campaign tent on stage, to launder the image of his principal Asiwaju; foraging into Tinubu’s great and unassailable achievements while he was The Governor of Lagos State. He was quite the brain box and chatterbox at the same time, infront of an intimidating Bar Association of bench stalwarts and legal luminaries. The NBA boasts of the most cerebral social scientists in the country. A rousing ovation during the event, and a continually resounding applause on all news media, just confirmed that Kashim was well appreciated and properly understood; as the VP choice to Asiwaju.
If Asiwaju is the best Governor ever to have come from the South, in present day 4th Republic, Kashim would keep the corresponding award for the Best Northern Governor since 1999 easily. His accomplishments in Borno state during his tenure in Borno, would rank as the best and most qualitative infrastructural development projects embarked upon in the North in a single state, within just 8 years, under one Governor. That is why we the North Easterners tagged or christened him ‘Babban Gwani’, meaning Master Builder; after a legend who used to be the finest and most talented builder and architect in 19th Century Northern Nigeria, building the best Palaces in the country. He built Zaria, Bauchi, Birnin Gwari, Katsina, Kano Palaces that still stand today. He built the Zaria JUMMA’A (Friday prayer) mosque and the Emir of Zaria’s Palace. Sen. Kashim’s exemplary and sterling leadership style stems not only from infrastructural developments, but so, in spite of an insurgency he inherited, that lasted throughout his tenure. His man management is superb, and his ability to keep a balance between the diversities Borno enjoys, in terms of tribes and religion is just so remarkable. That is why people could not believe it when certain Christian leaders visited, to congratulate him and his principal, as well as offer their prayers. Kashim built over 51 churches that were ravaged by the Bokoharam onslaught in Maiduguri.
Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is one of the shining lights of the PMB era, and is quite the leader, parading an array of profound qualities including and not restricted to intellect, human capital management, economic management, loyalty and dexterity in virtually all that he engages in. Hence the nickname or accolade Starboy. In Kashim I see another Starboy, ably stepping in for his boss, taking centre stage at the conference and eventually outshining his bosses’ colleagues. He was the Starboy of the day, both in intellect and presence. His suit, tie and snickers were another talking point and whether for good or bad reasons, the limelight was his, and the floodlights of commentary and applause are still yet to cease! It is NBA, followed by Kashim on the headlines and lip lines of everyone that cares.
Kashim is starboy 2.0, a new and improved version of the current VP. He is starboy 2.01 because he comes on with better credentials than Prof. Osinbajo. He comes as a seasoned administrator and a fine democrat. He comes as a Senator and an economist; a banker of immense experience and integrity. He comes on with war time leadership experience. He comes with great intellect. Above all, politically, he stands to amass and control Northern votes for the APC in 2023 because the North works with the philosophy of a proverb that says, ‘an ce wa kare ana biki a gidanku, yace na gani a qasa. (A dog was informed of a ceremony taking place in his domain, and he said, let me see it with my korokoro eyes, no be for mouth)! Northern voters would vote for a talk and do team, not a talk and continue talking team. Certainly a talk talk team will not see the light of day in the North as we have vowed now, to only deal in tangibles.
Tahir is Talban Bauchi.