By Tahir Ibrahim Tahir Talban Bauchi.
I couldn’t help myself as I was rollicking in laughter over the ridiculous and laughable press statement by a coalition of middle belt youth leaders, led by one Nasiru Jagaba, asking VP-elect Sen. Kashim Shettima to step down for a Christian VP. Nasiru means success, and Jagaba is of course a leader of success, as exemplified by Tinubu. This particular Nasiru Jagaba ofcourse failed to live up to the true meaning of his names as he failed to lead his members to victory, when they massively voted for the Labour Party, in support of Peter Obi. Even if it is the leadeship of a household, you wouldn’t ask someone to relinquish it, let alone a hard fought position and well won election. Kashim Shettima in wading into the 10th Assembly zoning fracas, appealed that “The leadership of the forthcoming 10th Assembly must be inclusive because the stability of the nation is much more important than any other consideration. The circumstance could validate the negative narrative of the Islamisation agenda of Nigeria” he said. But Nasiru Jagaba in contradicting his attacks on Kashim, called on the lawmakers elect to “choose leaders that will defend the interest of the majority of Nigerians, irrespective of their faith or ethnicity”. That is exactly what Nigerians did! We elected a President and a Vice President that will defend the interest of the majority of Nigerians irrespective of their faith or ethnicity. Their election is driven by a masterstroke political game plan that outwitted the chessboard like tricks of the opposition, deploying all kinds of cards to win the favor of the electorate. So Nasiru is it irrespective of faith or should it be with respect to faith? Make up your mind.
The middle belt that Nasiru is speaking for, largely supported the LP clearly because of a religious agenda. His voice today, is another religious voice, asking Kashim to step down for a Christian VP. Isn’t it shameful and filled with religious antagonism, to ask someone to leave his job because he doesn’t share the same religion with you? The whole islamisation agenda was a smear campaign driven too far on PMB; and yet he was never able to islamise his VP, Pastor Osinbajo, nor his two SGFs, Babachir and Boss Mustapha. It was also driven at Asiwaju and never was he able to islamise his wife, who became a pastor in his home.
Kashim Shettima is due to be honored soon with the second highest National Honor, as Grand Commander of the Order of The Niger, GCON; and Nasiru and co cannot just stand it. The bile of religious intolerance in him and people of his ilk, cannot take it! (apologies to Orubebe). Kashim was nominated from a league of party stalwarts and statesmen who are either serving or ex-governors, Senate Presidents or Speakers of the House of Representatives, or Ministers. He was nominated as one who stood out, and one who could drive the campaign outstandingly, and attract followership and support to the Asiwaju candidature.
Nasiru and coalition, are not interested in Kashim’s laurels and achievements as Governor and now Senator. They are not particularly impressed that Kashim, wading into the leadership tussle of the 10th Assembly, is practically succeeding as no less than 5 aspirants have so far withdrawn from the contest for Speakership and Deputy Speakership in the House of Representatives. Kashim as a member of the National Assembly hierarchy is primely positioned to amicably quell the tension that brewed over the party’s zoning formula. The party got votes and support from every nook and cranny of the country and is trying its best to carry everybody along, to avoid being sectional, or labelled as one.
Kashim is stepping up in life and is today a Vice President and a Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger; GCON. Nasiru and coalition should know that Kashim is being rewarded, and awarded for servitude to God and country. He is recognised for his service to humanity and his courage and perseverance under fire, from the war on terror, and the rebuild of a city and its environs. He served as Governor despite the terrorism that ravaged Borno State, where his convoy was attacked so many times. He built so much infrastructure, built hospitals, housing estates, housing for medical workers, roads, state of the art primary schools, mega secondary schools, a University etc. Kashim as Governor was able to build an Industrial Park that houses so many plants and industries like solar plant, waste recycling plant, tomato processing plant, biscuit production plant, pipes production plant, and plastics production plant; to mention a few. They produce so many materials that are used as raw materials or input for bigger industries. He has set the stage for the Industrialisation of Borno, giving it a new lease of life from the former situation of a land of terrorism.
Can you count the number of governors that failed in their senatorial bids? A lot right? Even in the last elections, quite a number of them lost. Kashim is not one of them. He performed so well in his State that his people overwhelmingly voted him as Senator to go represent them at the National level. He has done both sterlingly well. He also gave Borno a sweet parting gift – Prof. Babagana Zulum who is following quite hastily and steadily in Kashim’s shoes. Borno is enjoying a continuity programme in governance, that is building more and more infrastructure, and spending heavily on education. Workers salaries and pensioneers’ gratuities and pensions are paid promptly which is a scarce function in most states today. Back when he became Governor of Borno State, Kashim was destined for greatness and he did not misuse the opportunity. He stayed well on track, and never lost sight of what he could achieve and what he could become. Kashim studies a lot, don’t mind his dance steps on the campaign road especially in Maiduguri when he was overwhelmed by the crowd. He has become a good student of history and leadership and Tinubu is quite blessed with a right hand man like him. He is ready and prepared material in so many ways and the good thing is that both have been well acquainted for atleast two decades; so we envisage a smooth and cordial working relationship. Kashim is doing well in resolving the incoming National Assembly leadership tussle and it is clear amd obvious that those coalitions are out to distract him. Even terrorists didn’t distract him back then so their coalition should direct their energy elsewhere, and not playing games, stooping low and begging an election winner to step down. By God he is stepping up!
Tahir is Talban Bauchi.