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This Shetima is something of a secret and a stumper sealed and saved

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This Shetima is something of a secret and a stumper sealed and saved

By Bala Ibrahim

I can’t remember the last time I wrote an article and received as many written and uttered responses as my last article, which touched on the silent and salient strengths of Kashim Shetima, the man picked by Jagaba, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to run with him on the presidential ticket of the APC, for the 2023 elections. All the responses, I repeat, of them described Kashim Shetima as a positive person or a man with a positive personality.

Three professional colleagues were among the early ones to send comments through WhatsApp, the first of which goes thus:

“Let me comment on this Sir. Everything you said about Kashim Shettima is right and even more. He is the most ambitious person I have ever met. This is just a stepping stone, believe me. If they get to the office, the plan is to be the first president from Borno and the North East. Kashim is an enigma understood by only a few. He is a genius with a very high IQ the likes of Barak Obama, who is one of his heroes. Sir, I can go on and on, but let’s just wait and see how he endears himself to Nigerians. Actually, I can’t wait for the debate to begin, as Nigerians might just get a glimpse of who Kashim Shettima is. Peter obi will suddenly realize he has been talking trash all and he doesn’t know anything about the economy of this country. I only wish I can work with him. This is one of my dreams”.

The second comment reads:

“I did advocate for Shettima and was vindicated yesterday. When many APC stalwarts were technically withdrawing from Tinubu and pitching tent with Osinbajo and Amaechi, Shettima stood by him. He also went around the country, especially in northern states explaining why Tinubu was the best choice. I saw no reason why he should be denied the position. This is also a technical knockout for Atiku in the northeast. Well done Malam Bala”.

And the third comment, which was edited by me, came thus:

“A very good article. It touches on the key points of Shettima’s antecedents. Every accolade they ascribe to him was well merited. If you meet and interact with him, you will be amazed at his intellect and wisdom. Zulum is such an enigma himself but on the level of knowledge of the nation, its politics, connection, friendship and its fault lines, Shettima is far far ahead”.

Amongst those who called on the issue was the elder friend, who first alerted me to the appointment of Shetima as Tinubu’s running mate. He reiterated the sterling qualities of Shetima. Then came the call of another close friend and a professional colleague, with a remarkable frame of mind for reading, and an amazing, or stunning style in writing with linguistic fluidity.

Addressing me with an old slang, which used to be my signature or signing out style, in the days when I was reporting for the African service of the BBC, he said, I’ve just finished reading your article on Shetima.

“You know all along, while you were promoting Zulum for the VP slot, I deliberately refused to comment, because I want the issue to go full circle. Bala, you know I read a lot, but wallahi Shetima reads more than me and is more meticulous, with special attention to detail. Shetima is an incredibly, incredibly amazing person, with an exceptional sense of patriotism, and an uncommon knowledge of Nigeria’s problems and where to turn for solutions. That’s not all, Shetima is so humble that he gives respect even to his juniors”.

Wow! If this guy, whom, if I am asked to coin a nickname for, I would quickly call him the Bookworm, because of his unusual devotion to reading and writing, would say Shetima reads more than him, then this Shetima must be something of a secret and stumper, that was sealed and saved by nature.

Indeed nature has many secrets, one of which is in the creation of conditions of a conundrum, and saving therein, people of mystery, whose modus operandi may not be easily understood from afar, except by those close to them. I think Shetima belongs here.

Another friend sent another message on Shetima that touched me to the point of emotion, which I would have published here, but because it involved a high-profile personality that became a victim of Nigeria’s politicking, unveiling his identity would be extremely unfair, even to the Shetima himself. The friend is a retired senior military officer, in fact, a retired General.

He mentioned how, while serving in Borno, at the time when Shetima was the governor, he interacted closely with him. He said, although Shetima never met the high-profile personality in person, he was sympathetic to his plight, because he believed the guy was a victim, that was betrayed even by his people. Pursuant to that, Shetima used him, to be extending largesse to the family of the victim. The conclusion of his message reads, “I testify to his strengths – his humility is something else”.

Time and space would not permit the publication of all the plaudits that were sent to me in favour of Shetima, suffice it to say, everything was an encomium, in support of him as something of a secret and a stumper, that was sealed and saved by nature.

Yes, with Shetima, I think the road to the victory of the APC, and the eventual emancipation of Nigeria, seems signposted.

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