He is known by the acronym KSM, Kashim Shettima. I have known him for 21 years now. He has consistently proved to be a detribalised, compassionate and rare leader.
Shettima is one of the few very brilliant, intelligent, easy-going, witty and friendly leaders we have in the north.
I am, therefore, not surprised at the performance he put up yesterday while appearing on two separate interview sessions on TVC and Channels televisions. He spoke frankly and did not mince words. For those of us who know him closely, that was vintage Shettima.
As a friend and confidant, his being unapologetically a pro-Tinubu did not start overnight. It dates back to pre-2015. He shared a lot of insights with me about some of the leg works they embarked upon with Tinubu locally and internationally in the build-up to sacking a ruling government in 2015.
It was Shettima who first told me about the Tinubu presidential project about three years ago, long before I joined my Principal, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, in Osun. It was about the same time he told me about the chairmanship aspiration of Senator Tanko Al-Makura before things later changed early this year.
Senator Kashim Shettima was 45 when he became Borno State Governor in 2011. And he did very well. But those who believe they have the power of life and death politically referred to him as a “small boy” in private and in public. They attempted to dislodge him in 2015. He beat them to their game.
Again, in the build-up to 2019 elections, they attempted frustrating the emergence of Prof. Zulum as the candidate of the APC, insisting Borno must be rescued from the hands of “yara” (small boys), forgetting that “these small boys ” stood up to be counted when it mattered most. Like it happened in 2015, Shettima again beat them to their game in 2019 and, in the end, Prof. Zulum went on to win the governorship contest.
Since May 29, 2019 when Prof. Zulum became the new leader, Shettima deservedly took the backstage, providing Zulum with every available space to explore and make his own mark as the new man in charge.
In one of my private conversations with him in Maiduguri, shortly before the governorship poll in 2019, hear what he said about Zulum: “My successor is head and shoulders above me in terms of intellect, capacity and ability.” How many predecessors will say that about their successors?
Yaya na, as I refer to him most times, I pray Almighty Allah continue to guide your steps and continue to provide you with the knowledge and wisdom to navigate through our country’s murky political waters.
Sannu da kokari, your Excellency, sir. Allah ya kara zumunci.
Omipidan is a former Assistant Editor (Politics) with The Sun Newspapers