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By Bala Ibrahim

The news broke out while I was in the village celebrating sallah with relatives. An elder friend called me with a query, thus, Bala, why didn’t you call to congratulate me? Congratulate you for what sir,? I enquired. For the emergence of Shetima as the running mate of Tinubu, he said. When did this happened, because I am just coming into Kano from my village, where network is very unkind to us. He said the Shetima I have been talking to you about, is now officially the running mate of Tinubu. Wow.

Indeed he has been talking to me about Shetima, but because Shetima is not my preferred choice for the job, I was neither earnest nor enthusiastic. My preferred choice for the job is Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, the incumbent governor of Borno state, and I have given reasons for that.

My elder friend, who happens to be one of the APC state chairmen from southern Nigeria said, Shetima is not only eminently qualified, but the best choice made by Tinubu, in the journey to victory. He was quick to outline certain strengths of Shetima, some of them silent, but strikingly salient, which some members of the public and the press, including yours truly, have been overlooking.

Read Also: Tinubu gives reason for picking Shettima as running mate

I immediately went online to update myself with the development, and the first few reports posted on the social media confused me about the real identity of the man, Kashim Shetima. On a few platforms, some said, Shetima was born on the 2nd of September, 1966, to the family of late Sir Kashim Ibrahim, the former Governor of Northern Nigeria. I was perplexed, by the information that the Shetima I am not keenly supporting, is the brother of my good friend, hall mate and school mate at ABU Zaria, Mohammed Kashim.

So I put a call to another friend and colleague in the pen profession, who has for long, been promoting the cause of Shetima, and why Tinubu should have him as the VP. After congratulating him, I told him to please oblige me with the bio-data of Kashim Shetima. He did so within minutes, with nothing linking him with the late Sir Kashim Ibrahim. To add teeth to the campaign for the marketing of Shetima, he wrote a sweet article captioned, “Now that Kashim Shetima has come”, at the end of which he said, the combination of Tinubu and Shetima, is Nigeria’s best team ever assembled. Having highlighted some of the silent and salient strengths of Shetima, he concluded by welcoming him on board the train that is perhaps, destined to take the APC to victory.

I couldn’t but doff my hat for Shetima, when the real man I was promoting, H.E. Babagana Umara Zulum, the incumbent governor of Borno state, wrote in support of what Tinubu did, captioned, “With Shettima, Tinubu has made the wisest choice”.

Read Also: 2023: Kaduna CAN Chairman Reacts To Tinubu’s Choice For Running Mate

Professor Zulum remarked thus: “Earlier today, I received with the greatest joy, the announcement of my mentor, His Excellency, Senator Kashim Shettima as the Vice Presidential candidate of our party, the APC and insha’Allah, the next Vice President of the Federal Republic under His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, our incoming President, Bi’iznillah. It has been my greatest wish that HE Kashim Shettima gets this elevation that he so much deserves as one of Nigeria’s highly patriotic leaders. For me, and I am sure for many leaders and members of the APC, Tinubu’s choice of HE Kashim Shettima is the wisest choice at this point in time. Shettima’s choice is very personal to me and together with our leaders and all stakeholders and members of the APC, we shall campaign vigorously, work day and night, to collectively secure overwhelming victory for the APC in 2023, insha’Allah. Without the slightest doubt, HE Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has chosen a leader who has a very deep understanding of our country and its complexities. There is hardly any tribe in any of Nigeria’s 36 states and the FCT that Senator Kashim Shettima cannot knowledgeably speak about. He knows the social, cultural, religious, economic and political structure of virtually all 36 States and the FCT. Shettima is extremely patriotic. He believes so much in the unity of this country and he has proved it on a number of occasions”. Wow!

Although we pray together, and almost always seat very close to one another, every Friday, in the same mosque, in Abuja, beyond the fact that he was a governor and now a Senator, my assessment of Shetima is not as high as is being painted by the people that know him well enough.

So I think, based on what is said about his silent but salient strengths, the picture is now clear to me, and hopefully to the greater public, that indeed Shetima is a cynosure and the man that must necessarily steal the show.

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