Governor Kashim Shettima’s dedication to duties is legendary. His attention to details, awesome: thanks to his long years in the banking profession. What bows his greatest critics however is his unequalled humility.
The senatorial primary election that produced him on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was near consensus.
Senator Babakaka Garbai, the incumbent senator representing Borno Central actually wanted to return, but he stepped down upon learning about Shettima’s ambition. Garbai later served as Shettima’s agent at the primary.
At the primary, the outgoing Borno State governor polled 2,735 votes to beat his opponent, Alhaji Ali Wurge who scored 5 votes. Such is Shettima’s acceptability in Borno where his performance in office keeps confounding his greatest critics
To say the real election next week will be a stroll in the pack is to say the obvious. Hundred percent of the voters are people he has spent the greater part of his tenure to cater for. Maiduguri the capital is grappling with five camps with internally displaced persons whose population is at least 1.6 million women, children and young men, whose means of livelihood rests squarely on the shoulders of the governor and some kind-hearted individuals and organisations, such as the Dangote Foundation and United Nations High Commission for Refugees among others.
The sheer number of the IDPs and the huge provisions they need daily in order to survive as humans, is a herculean task that the Borno State governor has learnt to live with as long as the people find it difficult to return to their homes and communities as a result of insurgency. It is like a pain on the neck of the governor who has also been solely funding over 20,000 civilian JTF fighters since 2013.
- Gov Shettima (in green) during a visit to an IDP camp*
The contributions of the over 20,000 civilian JTF has been overwhelming in the fight against Boko Haram and is widely acknowledged by the military, all other security stakeholders, past and incumbent federal administrations as well as residents of Borno State. The civilian JTF play crucial roles in intelligence gathering, easy identification and arrest of suspected insurgents.
To some governors faced with similar crisis, the insurgency is enough avenue to amass wealth and do nothing for the people but to Shettima, it’s a call to duty. He has taken it upon himself to rehabilitate and reset development in his state.
In achieving this, he has employed a most laudable and emphatic strategy: educational empowerment of Borno people. Defying the threat and ideology posed by the dreaded sect, the Kashim Shettima administration has embarked on a massive multibillion naira educational revolution in Borno State.
- One of the mega schools built by the Shettima administration*
The mega schools designed to accommodate 54,000 school children displaced by Boko Haram is not just an ecstatic beauty but clearly a project that depicts a paradigm shift to the ‘the new world’ in Borno’s educational strides. “We have an official number of over 54,000 orphans in Borno State. Unofficially, the orphans may number over 100,000. Half of them may be in Maidugiri. Without educating these youths, they will be monsters that will consume all of us. It is a very huge challenge but we shall overcome it”, Shettima once said.
The Presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar was shocked at the level of infrastructural development despite the insurgency. “He (Shettima)is doing a lot of work to provide infrastructure in the state. You can see new roads, buildings all over the state capital. But for the insurgency, he would have been perhaps the best governor we ever had around’’ said Abubakar. A former military administrator of the state could not hide his feelings when he came to Maiduguri recently. The Ex- Military Administrator of Borno State during former President Ibrahim Babangida regime, Col. Abdulmumini Aminu (rtd), commended Governor Kashim Shettima for what he described as the quantum leap the state has achieved in terms of develpment despite the 9 year Boko Haram insurgency.
Col. Aminu, who left Borno State exactly 30 years ago, was in Maiduguri to attend the wedding ceremony of the daughters of the business mogul, Alhaji Muhammadu Indimi, and commiserate with the people of the state over their losses during the Boko Haram insurgency. He said : “Despite the Boko Haram insurgency, I have observed a lot of development .The little I have seen, especially secondary schools with computers and air conditioned classrooms, is very amazing; no university can boast of this.
*Gov Shettima commissioning a project*
“Even though I limited myself to only the physical development I have observed, I appreciate the tenacity of Governor Kashim Shettima, because it is amazing that development has taken place so fast across all the local government areas of the state. I pray that come 2019, the state will elect another resourceful and committed person in the class of Governor Shettima to keep on with the good work and maintain the tempo of qualitative governance for the prosperity of Borno,” Col Aminu said.
Nobody forgets those who helped them in times of trouble, this won’t be different. For the close to two million IDP’s, the over 20,000 civilian JTF’s and the millions enjoying the infrastructural provisions all over the state, it is payback time for 8 years of love and care by Governor Shettima.
It is no exaggeration to say Borno people love and appreciate the good works of the Kashim Shettima administration, having him in the upper legislative house will only give Borno Central a committed, visible and trusted voice at national level. February 16th is a date for them to affirm that love but to Shettima, it’s another phase of a new assignment.
- Gov Shettima (2nd left) with Prof Babagana Zulum (right) Borno State APC Gubernatorial Candidate during a campaign.