By Tahir Ibrahim Tahir
Jagaba means pacesetter, trailblazer, leader, etc. The Emir of Borgu must have recognised the leadership qualities and exploits of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; and may have been blessed with a glimpse of the future, foreseeing Tinubu’s role in the realisation of the Presidency of PMB, and perhaps Tinubu’s own presidency to come. Tinubu’s presidential ambition is the oldest, amongst the APC stock, and he has been the first to inform PMB, and the nation as a whole. No one can take away the credit of the success of the APC from Tinubu; especially from its formation in 2014, and its victory at the polls in 2015. Tinubu is inarguably the leader of the APC in the South West, and it is a home truth to the APC, that without Asiwaju’s South-west APC in 2019; the elections would have been lost.
Senator Kashim Shettima, former governor of Borno state, whom I fondly call Master Builder, as the architect of the emancipation and reconstruction of Borno from the destruction of Boko Haram; appears in front of every TV camera, and before every audio recorder of all the reporters, covering the Asiwaju campaigns. He is in every image of the campaign trail, and consultation visits of Asiwaju, tirelessly by his side, offering his support, time, resources and fine oratory. In a video of one of such visits, Shettima waxes, “Asiwaju’s name is synonymous with the evolution of democracy in this country. At a critical juncture in our nation’s history, when Atiku Abubakar was harassed and chased out of the PDP, it was Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu that provided him a sanctuary and platform to contest for the Presidency of this country, under the Action Congress.
Where others see division to exploit, he sees opportunities for collaboration. When his colleagues as governors were scampering for a space on the dining table in Aso Rock, he was laying the foundation of modern Lagos, under an antagonistic Federal Government. From his lonely outpost in Lagos, he started a process, of deconstruction and delegitimization of the PDP rigging machine in the South West. Ever a man of peace, he successfully retrieved the stolen mandates of John Kayode Fayemi in Ekiti, of Rauf Aregbesola in Osun, and of Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole in Edo. This process culminated in the formation of the APC, and the subsequent dethronement of PDP in the 2015 general elections.”
At the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Support Groups Management Council Conference in Abuja, Shettima gave Tinubu the credit of being one of the leaders, shaping the country to greater heights. Kashim singled Tinubu as one of those leaders who are not tied to tribal or religious sentiments.
“Tinubu has a propensity for sacrificing his comfort to protect the country’s democracy.” He said, “so much has been said about this political enigma, by hacks, with a poor sense of history. The path that has led us to Asiwaju didn’t happen by chance. He provided sanctuaries for fleeing patriots, who are very much around to testify to his large heart. Our younger patriots must be in the know, about Tinubu’s struggles from two decades past, when he was the backbone of the opposition, and how he was fiercely antagonised and politically ostracised by the ruling party, the PDP.”
I have followed Kashim Shettima’s leadership footprints from his days as Borno governor. I remember vividly, a video where he was tasting the ‘kosai’ cooked for school pupils, to fully appreciate the quality of what his state’s pupils’ were being fed. He would drop blocks fabricated for the building projects in his state to ascertain the quality of what is to be used by contractors. Gov. Zulum was right behind him in those oversight visits across the state. Today, Kashim has not only left the legacies of the projects he had completed in the state; but has also left behind a daring and purposeful leader in Zulum. It is a no brainer, for a Kashim to happen in Tinubu’s team. Purposeful leadership that nurtures future and competent leaders is the nexus.
Speaking about Tinubu’s legacies in Lagos is like counting the mountains, rivers and plains in Africa. They are monumental, finely placed and indelible. Lagos today has an economy that is larger than so many African countries combined. Just recently, it attracted half a billion dollars in investment, by the US Consulate. Google and Microsoft are huge investors in Lagos, in millions of dollars. Foreigners and Nigerian citizens are flocking into Lagos everyday, in their thousands. No politician in Nigeria, has a larger roll-call of proteges that have become household names and successes in the Nigerian political and technocratic landscapes, like Asiwaju does. The likes of Kashim in Tinubu’s campaign team, cements Tinubu as the most popular southern presidential candidate in the North. Left to me, Kashim should be Tinubu’s campaign DG already.
Tahir is Talban Bauchi