Kashim Shettima: A Leader At A Crossroads Of History By Abubakar Abba Sanusi
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more,do more and become more, you are a leader”- John Quincy Adams.
On the 29th of May 1999, the late Mala Kachalla was sworn in as the governor of Borno state and he immediately set out to give the state a sound platform for development. He was nicknamed the ‘Man of Peace’ and so did peace reign through out his tenure. Borno state was known as the ‘Home of Peace’. The state witnessed a quiet and slow four years till election time when the great Mala Kachalla lost the election. He ordered his supporters not to be violent thereby losing to the violent and ambitious Ali Modu Sheriff.
The period between May 29th 2003 and May 29th 2011 was the worst in the history of Borno state and the Kanem Bornu empire. It heralded the very beginning of the demise of peace in the state. It was a ‘smooth dictatorship’ where the dictator Ali Modu Sheriff called the shot. He ruled with an iron fist eliminating enemies at will and arming thugs with expensive cars and power. The thugs known as ‘ECOMOG’ reigned supreme. Anybody foolish enough to cross their paths never lived to tell the tale. No visible development effort was done apart from some few road networks within the city that have a life span of just one year. Almost all the roads constructed gave way the next rainy season. The situation was so pathetic that almost all sectors suffered. Nepotism and corruption was the order of the day. It was in this time that the seed of Boko haram was sown and peace was murdered in cold blood.
Kashim Shettima was a commissioner in the infamous Ali Sheriff administration for many years. He was nominated as the ANPP candidate after the assassination of the previous candidate. He is a well educated agricultural economist turned banker. Many Borno indigenes heaved a sigh of relief with his nomination because they expect him to govern differently considering his background.
The governor hit the ground running immediately he was sworn in. He made efforts to redirect the affairs of the state from the wrong path it has taken. For the first time since the Mala Kachalla administration, the people of Borno state have a governor that is accessible and in touch with them. Indigenes from all parts of the state were carried along.
Gov. Shettima was faced with two major problems; the Boko haram insurgency that defied reason and the Ali Sheriff canker worm. The former and the later have one thing in common,they all have one architect.
Kashim Shettima is faced with a dilemma, to put all his efforts in trying to get a solution to the massacre going on or allow himself to be distracted by the heartless politicking going on when thousands of innocent souls are being killed. It is a choice between making history by not abandoning the people when they need their governor most or prostrating before a self crowned godfather who never showed remorse for his role in the deterioration of peace and security in the state. I am not a fan of political betrayal but if any politician needs a good reason to betray his godfather then there is no better one than the fact that the godfather betrayed the people first. So its basically a boomerang effect that is taking place.
It is obvious to all that Ali Sheriff had chosen how he wants to be remembered. He is still active in the politics of the state and will leave no stone unturned to ensure that he plants his loyalist in the government house in 2015. He has the monopoly of violence as some would say and might cause havoc if his choice is threatened.
Gov. Shettima on his part will have the people behind him. He impressed so many with his strides in healthcare delivery, education, agriculture etc. He could have easily decided not to do anything and use insecurity as an excuse but he didn’t. He did not only continue his good work unabated, he went ahead to surpass those that got the chance in times of peace. And as a politician no one expects him to step down for any candidate. He has demonstrated great leadership in his effort to find lasting peace in the state at the expense of his relationship with the presidency.
He has inspired the youths of the state by providing them with employment and poverty alleviation materials. The youths who volunteered to assist the military in the fight against the insurgency were also trained and equipped with all the necessary things needed.
What Borno state needs right now is a quiet transition. Even the opponents of the Kashim Shettima administration will testify that he has demonstrated enough zeal and commitment in managing the affairs of the state that he should be allowed to continue. Gov. Kashim Shettima is now at a crossroads. He should either follow the path of Ali Sheriff ( that is if he is willing to forgive him) and join in the betrayal of the people or he follows the path of independence and struggle to establish his own political empire and take sides with the masses. Which ever path he takes involves betrayal. But it doesn’t hurt to hurt someone who has hurt millions through his do or die political ideology.
Just like Winston Churchill inspired Britain during the war, Kashim Shettima has made significant efforts in doing same. He should make history by finding a solution to the insurgency and restoring peace to the state as difficult as it may seem. He should remain steadfast and unwavering in his efforts. His name shall be written in gold as the man who defied selfish politicians and towed the path of selfless service.
You can follow Sanusi on twitter @Elsanusy or aasanusy.blogspot.com
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