Very often, when Kashim Shettima reflects upon his own life, he says; that, nobody gave him the chance: a Kwayam boy from Nimeri Korongoso, the chance in his meteoric rise to stardom.
Not in a society where one’s progress is largely determined at the whims and caprices of the rich and the mighty: the class to which his family did not belong.
Way back in school, we regard those of them who came from the metropolitan center as shinning examples, being children of the elites, that were to determine the fates of those of us coming from the villages. We never fathomed, that they have their own class distinctions out there, which placed some others higher in the social strata.
The family vocation and background from which he comes; may not qualify Kashim Shettima as one, born with a golden or silver spoon in the mouth, but it is also inappropriate to say he is of a poor background.
Today, virtually everybody, whose paths have crossed with Senator Kashim Shettima, may be planning to impress him in one way or the other, as he clicks 56.
Most of them : not so much for the year he has added to his age, but for the fact that, he has risen in fame, and is the possible next Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Christened the Golden Boy, by his admirers: Kashim Shettima is not expecting anything less either, in the face of his political ascendence, in the last few years.
Amongst those who celebrate him today, is the clan of successful politicians and technocrats, whom he built and nurtured, since he came into political limelight: the group to which I also belong.
In the next few days, Newspaper advertisements, Radio and Television placements, as well as the Social Media space will be fully occupied with congratulatory messages to Senator Kashim Shettima, for clocking 56 years and for being identified and picked as the running mate to the Presidential standard bearer of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in the 2023 Presidential election.
Kashim Shettima is going to be told, how his intellectualism, political vision and sagacity, fidelity, tolerance, patience and honesty, and above all his statemanship, are paying off.
He will probably be reminded, that, the virtues he displayed as Governor, the leadership qualities he demonstrated as leader of the Northern Governor’s’ Forum, the vision he had in discovering Babagana Umara Zulum, the display of brilliance in his contributions in the Senate,the many of his mesmerizing pieces of oratory excellence at public functions and above all, the clan of political associates he has assembled over the years will work for him. Shettima will be told how it is now payback time for his support to the APC and by extension to Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Presidential standard bearer.
It is no longer a matter of choice for him to decide how his birthday is going to be celebrated. Before now, he preferred to have it low keyed: restricted amongst family, friends and a few associates. Kashim Shettima us today a national asset, and a cousin to everybody, including those who hitherto were reluctant to identify with him.
His emergence as the potential Vice President is fast rewriting the narrative, which sought to write him off politically, just as it makes him the beautiful bride, in Nigeria’s quest for purposeful leadership.
As the hour closes on the actual celebrations, the true friends shall be judged by their outings, in the way and manner they celebrate Kashim Shettima. Before then, this is to wish my brother, my friend, my compatriot and my boss, Happy 56th Birthday.