Kashim Shettima and the Political Blunders – OpEd – Eurasia Review
Kashim Shettima is a controversial politician. He has a penchant for stirring up controversy. His views on the North-South political divide have earned him many detractors. Furthermore, there are mostly unsubstantiated claims that he sympathizes with Boko Haram. Shettima, former Governor of Borno State, Senator representing Borno Central and All Progressives Party, Vice Presidential Candidate (APC) is a man of letters, speaker and scholar. It’s clear that Shettima is a bibliophile, judging by his stellar public engagements. He is full and overflowing with knowledge. It is admirable to have politicians who value books, learning and education in general. This explains his depth as a politician who seems to be on a higher pedestal than most of his peers.
Kashim is a knowledge seeker and he has a strong passion for education. This perhaps explains why he chose Professor Babagana Zulum, a commissioner from his cabinet, as his successor in Borno State. According to him, the surest way to fight Boko Haram is to continuously provide quality education to more children, paraphrasing Yousuf Malala, that weapons can only kill terrorists, but it is education that can kill the ideology of terrorism. Part of his progress in education includes the establishment of Borno State University, one of his legacy projects. In addition, more than forty model primary schools equipped with air conditioners were built during his tenure. Speaking on the challenge of insecurity, he said that “education is the best weapon we have to fight poverty, ignorance and terrorism”.
Shettima’s recent outing at the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) conference where he represented its manager was seen as brilliant, showcasing his understanding of economic issues and fundamentals. Stripped of the distraction of his awkward sartorial adornment that became meat on which social media fed, he gave a good account of himself at this conference. Undoubtedly, Kashim Shettima is a man with the gift of small talk. Social media dwellers were distracted by the shadow instead of the substance of Shettima’s post. Indeed, as they say, a man who reads is a man who thinks. Kashim Shettima studied agricultural economics and was a lecturer, but later turned to banking before his foray into politics. Indeed, the nation needs many of these types in politics and government because there seems to be a deficit of strategic thinkers, visionaries, analysts and experts who have the ability to come up with solutions. local to the myriad of issues that beset our nation.
Despite the insurgency in the northeast region, his performance as Governor of Borno was above average. He left a solid foundation on which his successor can build. Without the insurgency in the northeast region, Shettima and outgoing Governor Babagana Zulum would have achieved much more in education, health, infrastructure and other human development indices. It is important to note that Borno State is strategically placed being the only state with three international borders, namely Chad, Cameroon and Niger Republic, hence easily exposed to insurgency on three fronts.
Lately, Shettima has been making headlines for the wrong reasons. It is almost contradictory that a learned man should have a predilection for unpardonable blunders. In a way, he comes across as a goof machine. The political blunder is simply a distortion or exaggeration of the facts, which is done unconsciously. It appears that Kashim, as a result of his apprenticeship, appears to be suffering from logorrhea, which is excessive talkativeness and talkativeness. In short, he has a penchant for verbal excesses. Kashim Shettima’s propensity for gaffes was evident when he solicited his principal as campaign general manager Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in the build-up to the APC presidential primary. On TVC’s Journalists’ Hangout, Kashim Shettima spoke eloquently of Tinubu describing him as the most experienced and qualified candidate among the cast of candidates to choose the party’s presidential ticket. While highlighting the qualities of his candidate, he also thoughtlessly dismissed Vice President Yemi Osinbajo whom he described as both a gentleman and a decent man, but who would be better off as an ice cream vendor, not actually. for the tumult of the presidential draw. .
Not done yet, he also described Senate Speaker Ahmad Lawan as a man who would be better off as a tomato seller in Potiskum or Damaturu and not someone who has what it takes to be president. According to Shettima, nice men don’t make good leaders. Kashim Shettima’s verbal rebuke of Osinbajo and Lawan was roundly condemned by Nigerians. Afterwards, he issued a public apology to the Vice President and the President of the Senate. Despite his apologies, his verbal missiles had hit their target, and therefore difficult to recall. As the Good Book says, a word once spoken cannot be recalled; he enters the invisible to fulfill his mission, whether positive or negative. Words are powerful and should therefore be chosen carefully and wisely.
Kashim Shettima’s tendency to go overboard was on full display during the NBA conference where he represented APC standard bearer Bola Tinubu. Despite his well-articulated position, he made a misstep when he said that as vice president he would be in charge of security and by implication of the armed forces and would be in the front line with troops in the battle. to contain insurgents and bandits, while its director, Tinubu, will take care of the economy if elected. In his zeal and attempt to sell the APC ticket, Kashim went too far for the simple reason that real power stems from the president’s office. The Vice President derives his authority from the President and tasks are given to him at the pleasure of the President. Part of the vice president’s duties as set out in the Constitution include chairing the National Economic Council, among other parastatals. Thus, by any stretch of the imagination, it is incongruous for the vice president to take command and control of security, as this will be a sure recipe for a power struggle between the president and his deputy. Even so, by the letter and spirit of the Constitution, it is an anomaly to say that the vice president will be in charge of security. It is simply an error which does not correspond to the facts.
Of course, the APC presidential campaign team was quick to quell the tension generated by Shettima’s blunder and quickly put out the fire of his inflammatory remarks at the NBA conference, saying Shettima won’t meant that he would be in charge of the armed forces rather than he would be fully involved with the president, if elected, in the assault on insurgents and bandits.
Yet being a personality given to verbosity, Kashim Shettima made another gaffe on the occasion of the 96th anniversary of the Yoruba Tennis Club, Lagos. In an attempt to highlight his director’s supposed star quality, he remarked that Tinubu was a combination of the qualities of former heads of state, including General Yakubu Gowon whom he described as a humble and human, chef Olusegun Obasanjo is a dynamic and hardworking chef. , General Ibrahim Babangida a generous leader as well as the hospitality of General Sani Abacha. Predictably, the Nigerians leveled their guns at him firing several volleys at him, describing his allusion to General Abacha as not only tendentious but patently offensive. Many commentators reminded him that the Abacha era was one of the darkest periods in Nigerian history. At that time, even Bola Tinubu had to vote with his feet to avoid being arrested being one of the main figures of the National Democratic Coalition, NADECO who was on the Abacha regime’s watch list being that the group was opposed to Abacha’s plot to transmute into a civilian president. Later, Shettima clarified his statement by saying that Nigeria needs a leader in the Abacha mold who combines ruthlessness with the taciturnity that is needed to checkmate terrorists.
The tendency to blunder is not unique to Kashim Shettima. In fact, Shettima is in good company as US President Joe Biden is renowned as a serial gaffe. Biden blunders most of the time. In fact, there was speculation that President Barack Obama withheld his endorsement during Biden’s run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2019 due to Biden’s tendency for gaffes and talkativeness. Despite his tendency for gaffes, Biden still won the presidential race in 2020, beating incumbent President Donald Trump.
As the campaign kicks into high gear, it is imperative that APC presidential campaign watchers take steps to put Kashim Shettima on a leash to avoid a situation that could lead to a bigger blunder on the part of of the vice-presidential candidate. Indeed, another high-octane blunder can jeopardize his principal’s chances, which can invariably torpedo the campaign. Also, Kashim Shettima, as an intelligent and well grounded personality, should appreciate that there are times when silence is golden. Moreover, 2023 will prove to be a make-or-break election, so any major gaffes from Shettima could be detrimental to the APC’s chances. He must learn to weigh and measure his words before speaking them because everything he says will be representative of his principal’s position. Due to the role the vice-presidential candidate plays in the campaign as an attack machine against the opposition, it is important that Kashim Shettima does not exaggerate due to his penchant for gaffes. More importantly, Kashim Shettima must strive to bridle his tongue to avoid a runny tongue, flight of ideas, and a tendency towards scattered verbosity.