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Courage in leadership: Shettima example: Random Thoughts : Nigerialog.com - Nigeria's Premier Online Forum
Nigerialog.com - Nigeria's Premier Online Forum
Courage in leadership: Shettima example
Courage in leadership: Shettima example
September 09, 2016, 12:38:24 AM
It was in September, 2014. Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State had embarked on planned assessment meetings with school authorities in Sudan and the United Kingdom, where 70 students on the state’s sponsorship were undergoing undergraduate studies in Medicine and Geo-Sciences. He had hardly arrived his first destination, when Boko Haram insurgents took over Bama Town, one of the most populated towns in the state, just about 70kilometres from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
Palpable tension was in the air, as news went round that Maiduguri, the seat of power too, was about to be overrun by the sect. Shettima immediately cut short his trip, took the next available flight, and by September 4, 2014, arrived Abuja, where he held strategic meetings on the Bama takeover, including constituting a committee to oversee the distribution of relief materials to the victims of the Bama attack.
Done with the meeting, he announced his intention to return to Maiduguri, the next day, an intention almost everyone around him, including this writer kicked against. But the arguments he advanced, shocked me: “MallamSamaila (that’s how he calls me), it is better for me to be killed, serving my people, than for Maiduguri, with several internally displaced persons to fall to Boko Haram, while I am away. That will amount to cowardice.”
Seeing his courage and determination to return, I prayed with him, and wished him well. By the next day, Friday September 5, a day after he returned to Maiduguri, he addressed the citizens of the state, through a state-wide broadcast, and thereafter, moved round the city, the same way, security operatives carry out Show of Force to keep the spirit of the citizens alive, and to let them know he was not a runaway governor.
Coincidentally, exactly two years after that traumatic and emotional day, family, friends and well-wishers, numbering about 200, gathered in Maiduguri, to attend a reception in his honour, to mark his Golden Age. Ironically, the event was initially slated for Friday, September 2, the same day and date he was born 50 years ago, but a presidential appointment for the same date, forced organisers of the event, to shift it to Monday, September 5, thus, compelling me also to recall the events of September 5, 2014.
It will interest Nigerians and other readers to know that the reception was not the typical Owanbe kind of celebration, befitting of the status of a typical Nigerian governor, who attained the age of 50. There were no assorted drinks; we had water, soft drinks and the regular kinds of fruits- Apple and Pear. Not a dime was taken from the coffers of the state government to put the event which lasted for just two hours together. The list of donors and amount donated, were read out to the hearing of all of us seated in the hall. The donors, 30 of them, were coordinated by his spokesman, Isa Umar Gusau.
And from the funds raised, 50 children, orphaned by Boko Haram, were given life-line, with their school fees paid upfront for the next nine years. And just before we left the hall, Zenith Bank, his former employers, also keyed into the educational empowerment of the children orphaned by Boko Haram, by offering to support additional 50 children, thus, bringing the number of beneficiaries to 100. Immediate past governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, chaired the event. Shettima’s lovely and ever supportive wife, Hajia Nana, was also on hand to lend her motherly support.
After the presentation of the awards and cutting of the cake, which was also donated, Governor Kashim Shettima, whom I know reluctantly accepted to be treated to the reception, thanked all those who attended, including those who stood by him, especially the kid brothers of his estranged political leader, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, during his (Shettima) political trials.
He also told the audience what those of us very close to him, had always known about his relationship with Sheriff. Hear him: “During our travails with our political leader, some of our politicians elected to stand on the side of truth and justice. I never fought Ali (Modu) Sheriff. Ali Sheriff fought me. He made himself a tin-god, until God demystified him and put him where he rightly belongs.”
Fifty years is indeed regarded as a Golden Age. But as late Coco Chanel, an influential French fashion designer puts it, “nature,” gives one the face one deserves at 20, but it is up to one to merit “the face” one has at 50 and even beyond.
With what I know about Shettima, right from his days at the Zenith Bank, and for the mere fact that since becoming governor in 2011, he has never for once, gathered people to say he was marking his birthday, and for reluctantly accepting to be treated to a reception last Monday, I think he undoubtedly, merits “the face” he has at 50. He has shown courage and leadership, in the last five years as Borno governor. I pray he ends well. Happy Birthday sir!
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