In just a few days from now, the 2019 general elections would be over and its historical chapter will be opened for all to read and learn from.
In Borno State, outgoing Governor Kashim Shettima left no stone unturned as his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), will continually be grateful to him as not only did he massively mobilise the electorate in the state to vote for his party, he also rewrote the political equations in the state, ensuring that the fortunes of the party tripled and made other opposition parties looked rootless in the state.
Aside the almost a million votes, President Muhammadu Buhari secured in the State, Borno remains about the only State where there was 100 percent return of the governorship, all National and State Houses of Assembly seats for the ruling party in the recently concluded poll. As a matter of fact, the governor now a Senator-elect, led the pack himself when he defeated his closest rival at the poll, Senator Abba Aji of the PDP by 342,898 to 75,506 votes.
While Shettima clearly and assiduously worked for his party, he also perhaps knowingly and unknowingly engraved his name in gold on the political firmament of the state and indeed Nigeria at large as only few a Nigerian politician have a pedigree spanning across being a university don, banker, a commissioner for eight years, governor and now senator- elect.
And so as Nigerians look forward to the inauguration of the 9th Assembly, given the colouration of the mix between the old and new senators, it will not be out of place to ask what Shettima’s role in this Senate will be?
To posit that in Shettima, the 9th Senate will have an endowment of a huge resource base whether in terms of security, education, politics, finance, administration or governance issues is to assert some point blank home truth as the fact speaks for itself.
It is open secret that Shettima’s eight year rule in Borno was characterised by the terrorists acts of Boko Haram. It is also of a truth that despite the scourge, he never gave in as in an unprecedented act of leadership he brought in monumental developments to the State -providing infrastructure in every facet of the state’s development whether in security, education, agriculture, poverty alleviation, health and others. How the Senate will of particular reference, tap into his experiences in tackling security amidst the the Boko Haram scourge will be a thing of note.
Indeed, given that of all the new entrants in the 9th Assembly, Shettima’s interface with world leaders, international community and organisations, Nigerian military, and all other security organs in the country in the quest to deal decisively with terrorists puts him at pole position to provide the needed linkage between civil-military relations in the Senate’s discharge of its legislative duties. His enriched wealth of experience in this direction will be second to none as ultimately the nation would better off for it.
As regards his experiences in the banking sector, Shettima’s vast experience in the banking and finance sector also serves the Senate perfectly in the right spheres. As former regional manager of Zenith Bank, Shettima’s experiences saw him glide through the finances of his state in a most enviable manner as even with just N1.6billion monthly allocation at a point in time, he kept Borno State out of the list of states owing their workers, a feat that could only be likened to sophisticated financial engineering given that till date no State prides itself with the number of renovated and brand new state of the art projects as does Borno State. This is even as Borno, despite its security challenges has the most endowed and multi-faceted industrial hub in the country. As his agricultural policies are pivotal in the ingredients that made the State insolvent and resistant to the security threat in the state, so also was Shettima’ astute youth empowerment programmes and the resettlement of most IDPs to their various local governments a gargantuan feat in the north east and Nigeria’s quest for overcoming of all known terrorist plans and objectives in the country .
Given his numerous awards which span across leadership, political, health, developmental, entrepreneurial and infrastructural recognition, perhaps his achievements in the education sector which he terms the most potent tool in the fight against insurgency, remains legendary. With an estimated over 50 brand new schools built and equipped across the Borno State, an established Borno State University among several other higher institutions in the state, shows a leader who had his eyes all on the ball. Again, a feat the Senate could explore in terms of resource, experience and consummate legislation.
That Nigerians suffered a lot as a result of the frosty relationship between the Executive and the Legislature in the 8th Senate is another bare truth. As 9th Senate berths, the Senate must tap into the wisdom, acknowledged humility, political sophistication, urbane mindedness, highly cosmopolitan and bridge building abilities of some of its new entrants. Again in this direction, Shettima remains a noble asset.
His party always found in him, for whatever reason, the ‘perfect man’ or ‘neutraliser’ so to speak to quell crisis within the party. His ability and proficiency for conflicts resolution and mastery of human relationships made him an adorable asset for the APC. Deployed to several states to solve party issues amicably, there is indeed no national assignment placed on his shoulders that the APC did not fly home with satisfaction amongst its stakeholders afterwards. For instance aside heading the Northern Nigeria Governors Forum, his leading the organ’s delegation to assuage the fears of Ndigbo when the Arewa Youths gave Igbos in the north quit notice still remains the major point at which Igbos got relaxed and calm returned. Again, when the APC nominated him to mediate in the crisis in some parts of the southwest, especially after the party’s gubernatorial primary, it was his committee’s effort that saw Governor Ambode of Lagos State , sheath his sword and turn full cycle in support of now governor -elect, Babajide Sanwoolu. Indeed Shettima’s bright qualities could go on and on.
Therefore, given the calibre of distinguished personalities to be in the 9th Senate, it is the hope of Nigerians that the 9th Assembly provides sucour and quality representations to them all. This task starts with the assemblage of experienced and results-oriented senators to be in the forefront of the Senate’s leadership and service to Nigerians.
The 9th Assembly must utilise the wealth of experience of the likes of Shettima as his antecedents and records have always depicted competence and national interest. They just must be carried along by the Senate’s leadership if it must succeed. History beckons!
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