There is no doubt that democratic governance has produced, to our chagrin, a set of kleptomaniacs who have set the agenda of mindless pillage of our resources as a nation.
The mess and rot that has become a lot of this country as a result of the reckless plunder is evident in the high level of insecurity, despondency, misery, and squalor that are very visible in all the nooks and corners of this country today.
In the midst of this sad narrative however, the country has seen and has indeed celebrated the emergence of a set of very selfless and action-packed leaders that have awed us all by their noble conduct and the zeal with which they pursued pro-people policies and programs.
While the nation mourned and despised the misconduct of some leaders both past and current, some states in Nigeria are glowing in the miasma of sound and progressive leadership, which has changed the narrative of leadership and gave meaning to all-inclusive and participatory governance in the country.
As many in our states gnashed their teeth in anger at missed opportunities and massive poverty occasioned by the antics of corrupt leaders, some of them appeared content and even very proud of the demeanor of their governors.
Borno, a state laden with a mindless bloody insurgency for over ten years is one state that produced a Kashim Shettima who became governor at a stage of implosion of the insurgency, governed all through his eight years as governor in a relentless orgy of unprecedented bloodletting with all the distractions and heartache and still managed to become the most action-packed governor of his generation.
Is it not another wonder that this man governed all through in war, managed millions of displaced persons, picked limbs of suicide bombing victims almost every day, buried hundreds of dead bodies by the minute, expended billions in aiding security forces at a time of scarce resources, was on time in payment of salaries and other entitlements, built world-class infrastructure and still pulled himself together and kept the state intact when some of his peer governors within the same epicenter zone had, at the start of it, took to their heels?
Is it any wonder that this man is today one of Nigeria’s most popular leaders in a country hard hit by a yawning leadership vacuum?
Expectedly, the country has taken notice of this selflessness and wherever you go, the Kashim Shettima enigma has caught on.
Today, he is seen as the epitome of selfless service all over the North East, in the same way, that most Nigerians see him as an example of how leaders should be.
The world has taken note of how he not only governed exceptionally well but also masterminded the emergence of an independent-minded and a no-nonsense professor who everybody knew was not going to become anybody’s stooge, but will deliver nonetheless.
The mantra in every state was for outgoing governors to anoint lackeys as successors in order to continue to govern by proxy regardless of the implication to the development of their states.
Kashim Shettima was not short of a long list of very close associates who have been with him many years before he and Professor Babagana Umara Zulum met.
Some of these associates were his childhood friends, relatives and political soul mates of many years that were regarded as his boys due to their unflinching and non-negotiable loyalty to him.
Any one of them could have perfectly fitted the bill of a stooge, but his conscience never allowed him to mortgage the state on the altar of wanting to secure his relevance and political advancement.
And he subsequently lived to his vow to go his way and never to look back. One significant lesson out of this is that the professor has turned out to be a huge success.
All the calculations that the professor was better and would be the best out of the lot had been proved in flying colours.
Of course, Kashim Shettima has not made a stooge out of his successor. He had the chance and the begging opportunity to do just that so effortlessly but chose not to out of his patriotic desire to place the interest of Borno far above his.
He had ruled the state for eight years and had fought a very bloody war and knew first hand that the state would buckle under the weight of lackluster leadership.
He became a senator not out of his free will but out of the pressure exerted on him by the people. His choice was to leave the scene, relocate to Sudan for a year or two to immerse himself in updating his Quranic knowledge and religious devotion, recharge his batteries and stay away to allow the new leaders to unfold their own agenda of sustaining the efforts to reposition and rebuild a state that was rising out of the ashes of decapitation and dislocation.
This was something he deserved, in the least. He has worked himself hard and has done it with distinction despite the dangers and constraints.
He had turned the state into one huge construction site and the world-class infrastructure in education, health, housing, industries, agriculture, and roads among others testified to his unmatched credentials as an unrivaled performer.
He went to the Senate out of deference to his people who felt that his record as an achiever, the respect he has garnered across the country and beyond, his connection and goodwill would make more meaning and open more opportunities for Borno to prosper.
When you add Kashim Shettima’s excellent worldview and achievements with the towering and intimidating credentials of Professor Zulum as well as the pool of very committed and patriotic lieutenants at all stages of governance at federal, state and local government level, one cannot help but marvel at the positives that lay bare for Borno.
Ahmed-BK wrote in from Gesse-III, Birnin-Kebbi, Kebbi State