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HomeHeadlineShettima: Why Atiku, PDP Are Suffering From Dementia Over Lagos Speech

Shettima: Why Atiku, PDP Are Suffering From Dementia Over Lagos Speech

By Ali Abare

The media has recently been inundated by copious vituperstions from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), it’s supporters and loyalists, as response to statements made by the Vice Presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Kashim Shettima, on the presidential candidate of the PDP, former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, at an event in Lagos.

Shettima, while making a presentation of the manifesto of the APC before the business community and organised private sector in Lagos last Tuesday, took Atiku to the cleaners, saying the PDP presidential candidate lacks the necessary education to lead a country like Nigeria. He said Atiku’s diploma obtained from the Kano School of Hygiene only qualifies him to be “wole wole” a Yoruba word for sanitation inspection officer.

During the presentation, Shettima equally dismissed claims that Atiku knows much about the economy, adding that just because the former vice president owns a table water company doesn’t make him an economic expert.

Most significantly, Shettima dismissed the PDP presidential candidate as being not able to unite the country since he has failed to unite his party, describing Atiku as a political tourist who will be permanently retired to Dubai after the 2023 elections.

Since making his statement, the political camp of Atiku Abubakar, his party, their supporters and apologists, have taken to the defensive, obviously suffering from dementia and issuing one statement or the other, as a response to what Shettima has said.

Instead of focusing on what Shettima said about their principal, the PDP, its apologists and supporters, however woefully failed to do the needful. They failed to provide facts to counter what Shettima said.

From the vituperations of the PDP and its apologists, it’s obvious that the opposition party has no answers to the posers raised by the APC Vice Presidential candidate. Instead of addressing the matter, the PDP and its loyalists chose to become sentimental as usual, throwing up unsubstantiated claims that unfortunately couldn’t withstand scrutiny.

Obviously smarting from the pains of the cold, hard facts in Shettima’s statement, the PDP, instead of addressing the matter, accused Shettima of suffering from amnesia. Suffering from amnesia or not, Shettima has obviously hit the opposition party bellow the belt to have warranted such avalanche of response.

In its response issued by Dele Momodu, Director of Strategic Communications, Presidential campaign council, the PDP, failed to acknowledge that currently the party is embroiled in an internal crisis that could further nail the coffin of the PDP ahead of the 2023 general election. Unlike what obtains in the APC which is being effectively tackled at various levels of party, as well as in the courts of law, the PDP is engulfed in a mortal battle of supremacy with some Governors of the party led by Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.

The PDP and its loyalists, especially the garrulous spokesperson of the PDP Presidential Campaign Management Committee, Senator Dino Melaye, known for his hot air and a data boy of the PDP presidential candidate, failed in their bids to discountenance the damage done to their principal by the weighty accusations contained in the statement made by the APC Vice Presidential candidate.

Melaye, in his characteristic “area boy” approach to issues, resorted to fiction because he could not find it in himself to deny the fact, that kneed, Atiku Abubakar could only field a diploma from the Kano School of Hygiene as qualification to occupy the exalted position of the President of Nigeria.

On its part, the PDP was shameless and even unrepented in its unholy alliance and open romance with corruption, when it tried to glamourize illegally, citing Atiku’s venture into business even while being a custom officer, as laudable credentials.

The party, instead of addressing the imbroglio involving the PDP and Governor Wike, which Shettima made reference to, chose to bury its shame by alluding to APC’s meticulous and consentious constitution of its presidential campaign council.

It’s only a party like PDP, which reeling from the pains of cold, hard facts, presented by Shettima, could still have the effrontery to assault the sensibilities of Nigerians by claiming that the APC candidates don’t have businesses that they manage personally and successfully “except living outlandishly on government booty and largesse.”

This is a party that is being marketed by people like Senator Dino Melaye, who obviously has no visible means of livelihood but who possesses tremendous wealth. At least, for Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the APC, the PDP and its loyalists cannot deny that he owns the TVC and the Nation newspaper, not to mention several other enterprises that are not only successful but a source of employment for many.

Both the candidates of the APC in the 2023 presidential election are members of known intellectual prowess and background. Tinubu worked for the American companies Arthur Andersen, Deloitte, Haskins, & Sells, and GTE Services Corporation. After returning to Nigeria in 1983, Tinubu joined Mobil Oil Nigeria, and later became an executive of the company. He was elected as Senator in 1992 and subsequently as governor of Lagos State.

On his part, Kashim Shettima graduated from the University of Maiduguri with a degree in agricultural economics, before obtaining a master’s degree (MSc) in agricultural economics in 1991 at the University of Ibadan in Southwest, Nigeria. Shettima joined the University of Maiduguri as a Lecturer with the Department of Agricultural Economics and was in the academia from 1991 to 1993.

In 1993, he moved into the banking sector and was employed by (now defunct) Commercial Bank of Africa Limited as head of accounts unit at the bank’s office in Ikeja, Lagos State, Southwest, Nigeria.

Shettima was there from 1993 to 1997. In 1997 he crossed over to the African International Bank Limited as a Deputy Manager and rose to become a Manager in 2001. In 2001, he moved to the Zenith Bank as head of its main branch in Maiduguri. At the Zenith Bank he rose to Senior Manager/Branch Head; Assistant General Manager (AGM)/Zonal Head (North-East), Deputy General Manager/Zonal Head (North-East) before he stepped out of the Zenith Bank as a General Manager in 2007 following his appointment as Commissioner for Finance in Borno State.

From 2007 to 2011, he served as Commissioner in 5 Ministries. In the January 2011 ANPP primaries, Engineer Modu Fannami Gubio was selected as candidate for the governorship. However, Gubio was later shot dead by gunmen, and Shettima was selected in a second primary in February 2011. In the 26 April 2011 elections, Shettima won with 531,147 votes while the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Muhammed Goni, gained 450,140 votes.

He was Commissioner of Local Governments and Chieftaincy Affairs (2008), Education (2009), Agriculture and Natural Resources and finally to the Ministry of Health from where he contested the Governorship in 2011 which he won under the platform of the now defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP and was inaugurated on May 29, 2011. He won reelection in 2015 under the All Progressives Congress, APC and was unambiguously chosen as Chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum, an umbrella body of Governors in the 19 States located in northern Nigeria. He has so far been driving key changes in the affairs of the forum with focus on promoting northern unity and reviving ailing industries belonging to northern States.

As Governor of Borno State, he has efficiently managed challenges arising from the Boko Haram insurgency which he inherited in 2011. With the approval of the National Security Adviser and the Nigerian Army in 2013, his government formalized establishment of youth volunteers called the Civilian JTF.

The volunteers have played very significant role in supporting the military in ongoing fight against Boko Haram insurgents. He approved salaries, kits and patrol vehicles for the civilian JTF while at the same time giving so much support to the Nigerian Armed Forces.

He leads in mobilization of community based intelligence gathering and the provision of hundreds of patrol vehicles and material logistics to the military in particular and to all other security agencies. In September, 2014, Maiduguri, the seat of Government became very vulnerable to being occupied by insurgents. The fear was so intense that notable residents relocated their families to Abuja. However, amidst such fright, Governor Kashim Shettima who was out of the country for an official assignment, returned to Maiduguri in a show of courage and patriotism. On his return, the Governor mobilized residents towards rising up in defense of their ancestry.

Governor Kashim Shettima’s leadership credentials have attracted positive recognition within and outside Nigeria. Governor Shettima emerged the 2014 Governor of the Year (Leadership Newspapers), Governor of the Year, 2015, (Nigeria Union of Journalists, national body); Governor of the Year, 2015 (NewsWatchTimes Newspapers); Governor of the Year, 2015 (Vanguard Newspapers); Governor of the Year, 2016 (Tell Magazine); 2017 Zik Prize for Leadership; Kaduna NUJ Award for courage and exceptional leadership (2017), FCT NUJ Merit Award for exceptional Leadership, 2017.

It’s a personality with such towering credentials and accomplishment that the PDP and its apologists, Dino Melaye, a perfect example of what Nigeria doesn’t need at this given moment, are trying to denigrate simply because Shettima spoke the truth about their hero.

Indeed, the APC made the right choice when it picked on Shettima from the North East, as the running mate of the APC Presidential candidate. Shettima represents the class of Nigerians who stand in total contradiction to people like Atiku Abubakar and most PDP apologists like Melaye. Shettima got to his present position through dint of hard work and scholarship, unlike Melaye and his co-travellers who bestrodded the national sphere as leeches, sucking the life blood of the nation.

Shettima represents all that Atiku Abubakar is not and no amount of whitewashing by data boys and choristers will change that.

Certainly, election campaigns are the means by which candidates and political parties prepare and present their ideas and positions on issues to the voters in the period preceding election day. However, the PDP and its apologists should not assail Nigerians with sentiments and falsehood but should focus more on the reality of things.

Shettima stated the facts in Lagos when he addressed members of the business community. If the PDP felt otherwise, it has the right to make its own statement, as factual as the statement issued by the APC Vice Presidential candidate, not to resort to sentiments or conjure up fiction and try to bamboozle Nigerians.

Abare is Director, Media, Communication and Publicity, BAT-3G, a support group for Asiwaju/Shettima 2023.

The Reporter News
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My name is Fatima muhammed Halidu
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