By: Inuwa Bwala
Somebody appears piqued by Senator Kashim Shettima’s demonstrative loyalty and tenacity to Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in the seeming hazy political quest.
To the person, Shettima is wasting his known political sagacity and intellectual acumen in a futile political journey with Tinubu, and the earlier the former Governor makes a detour, the better it is for his political future.
But the fellow does not seem to know what binds Tinubu and Shettima, neither does he appreciate the fact that loyalty has a price.
I have personally learnt a lot from Shettima’s sticker to the effect that, if politics were taught in the classroom, Kashim Shettima: the Senator representing Borno Central stands the chance coming tops, as a student.
Even as the accidental politician that he seems to have been, Shettima seems to have mastered the art so well, and made his mark; so well, as he did in his chosen fields, of Agricultural Economics and banking.
The feat he achieved today as a public figure, might not have come without mentoring, and most people would have expected his tutelage to come from his predecessor in the office of the Governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff.
Those of us who had the previledge of coming close to the duo of Sheriff and Shettima, are perhaps in the best position to explain why Kashim Shettima has chosen a role model in Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu: the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, and it’s Presidential hopeful, instead of Sheriff.
One thing you cannot take away from Kashim Shettima, is the fact that, he honors his bonds of friendship and stands by his allies, no matter the risks involved, just the way Bola Tinubu does.
Contrary to the narrative some people initially wanted to promote about the how he fell out with Sheriff, I can confidently say, Shettima has proven to be the definition of loyalty and tenacity, in his relationship with Sheriff, untill the later took it for granted.
I know as a matter of fact that, besides providing leadership, Shettima always tries to make leadership succeed. This explains his near blind support for Buhari, Zulum and lately Tinubu.
I will leave the story of how he fell out with Sheriff for another day, but witnesses to Shettima’s outings in politics can attest to the fact that, he always strives to impact positively on others, even at the cist of his own comfort.
Even at daggers drawn with Sheriff, Shettima never failed to pay tributes in reverence to his former boss and never hidden his desire to support Sheriff on issues where their interests are not in contention.
Shettima once told me in a private chat, that, he chose to swim or sink with Tinubu, because the Jagaban also stood by him and the people of Borno State at their times of challenges.
He said, Tinubu provided his shoulders for the people of Borno State when the Federal Government seemingly abandoned them during the trying days of insurgency.
Tinubu provided the national leadership when there appeared a vaccum and comforted Shettima as Governor, when he faced the task of resolving the Book Haram crisis, almost singularly.
Even if Tinubu did not invite him or even seek to be the President, Shettima feels that he and indeed the people of Borno State owe the APC stalwart a measure of gratitude. His acceptance to join Tinubu’s campaign train is therefore seen as a pay back for the good done.
I am not surprised that in seeming demonstration of that sense of loyalty, Shettima has chosen to pitch tents with Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in the face of ostensible sunset on his principal’s ambition, going by the intrigues playing out.
Shettima’s tenacious hold to Tinubu, epitomizes my world view of loyalty, the missing ingredient amongst contemporary politicians.
I may not be Tinubu’s fan, but I tend to agree with Shettima’s disposition that, if no one else identifies with Tinubu, the people of Borno and indeed Shettima ought to and where all others reject him, the people and he will support him.
To me, the lesson in Shettima’s support for Tinubu lies in honoring our bonds, much more than the benefits therefrom.