By Miftaudeen Raji
The fashion outlook of the vice-presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Senator Kashim Shettima at 62nd Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA in Lagos has generated so much heated debate, to say the least.
The former governor of Borno was heavily mocked, especially on social media, for wearing a long, big three-button-56-size coat; a turn-up baggy trousers; long red tie that was showing below the belly ; and a pair of gym sneakers to the NBA event. This was a really huge turn-off for many people at the corporate level conference of high power functionaries.
But, away from the fashion misgiving, what was not widely reported is how Shettima thrilled the audience with a brilliant speech. With facts, figures and eloquence he attended to the myriad of challenges confronting the Nigerian nation and proffered solutions using the unmatched milestones recorded by himself and Lagos state under the leadership of Bola Tinubu.
Aside from the fact that his speech was motivational, Shettima’s speech was reassuring, motivational and empirical just as it touched on the pain points of the common Nigerians, which include pertinently the economy and insecurity.
Shettima also cited his track records and successes as examples of their capabilities and capacities to lead a prosperous Nigeria that will compete favourably with the developed nations of the world and leave a good leadership legacy for other nations of the African continent to imbibe.
The APC vice presidential candidate’s speech was so impressive and captivating that the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, had to acknowledge Shettima’s ingenuity by clapping from where he was seated.
There’s a conception that 2023 is Nigeria’s decisive year, and that the election is critical to the country’s existence.
In this light, Shettima, in his speech, gave an assurance that his combination with the APC presidential candidate, Tinubuwill replicate the “wonders” they performed when they were governors of Borno and Lagos states respectively.
His speech also addressed insecurity, dwindling economy, ecology, revenue generation means and the kind of leadership that will help Nigeria change its tractecory towards attaining its full potential.
He said, if elected, Tinubu-Shettima will hit the ground running from day one.
The vice presidential candidate referenced that the internally-generated revenue of Lagos state under the leadership of Tinubu grew from N700 million monthly to currently N51 billion monthly, with a status of the third largest economy in Africa.
He said what is imperative for a Nigerian leader of the new dispensation is to have a mastery of financial management capability; good understanding of the Nigerians psychology; and firm understanding of the complexities of the Nigerian nation.
“You have a city boy who has transformed Lagos into a home for all. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has established a track record of performance. He has mentored men and women who are excelling in different fields of human endeavours.
He said the world is changing and the trajectory of global growth is facing Africa and Nigeria will make or mar that transition through leadership.
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“Once we get the leadership question right every other thing will fall into place. In this age when the others are talking about Artificial Intelligence and nanotechnology and biotechnology, we need a leader, who has the skill set; who has the understanding of the global economy,” he said.
Shettima believes that Nigerians have the capability to see through the worn-out rhetoric and sophistry of pretentious politicians, urging Nigerians to “follow the man wey know the road.”
“And we have the antecedents. I built some of the best schools in Nigeria. Go to Borno and see wonders; you will never believe that it is a state in a state of war.
“So, we are going to replicate our achievements in Lagos, in Borno and some of the frontline states so that our nation will be a better place. The fundamental issue is pure leadership.”
The former governor of Borno State disclosed that he built some of the best schools in the state during his tenure, adding that Tinubu’s administration will address issues of the economy and security.
He noted that the Nigerian economy is currently affected by what he described as a self-inflicted economic menace and externally-induced shocks.
“Ours is a mono economy and one potent tool for growing the naira and stabilizing the economy is by diversification of our sources of foreign earnings. The highest we have ever reach was $32 billion, that was under former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2013.
He noted that the bone of contention is that Nigeria needs to change by ineptitude, corruption and incapacity.
“This is why it’s absolutely essential that we grow the economy and ours is the few oil and gas nations that have tremendous arable land that has tremendous solid mineral resources with the population that consumes,” he said.
Shettima added there is no other path to victory apart from diversifying the economy.