- The politics of naming housing estate after Osinbajo’s boss, Tinubu
- As Ali Sheriff’s factor and romance with the APC threaten Shettima
It would be recalled that the Deputy Speaker of the Borno State House of Assembly, Hon. Danlami Kubo deliberately chose Governor Kashim Shettima’s absence from the country barely three weeks ago to call on the governor to contest the next presidential election. Mr. Kubo who is from Southern Borno and an arch supporter of Mr. Shettima said the Borno governor deserved to be the president of Nigeria because of his good track of service and performance particularly during the challenges of insecurity associated with the Boko Haram insurgency. The call by one of the closest political godson of Mr. Shettima, Hon. Kubo came to many by surprise while pundits and keen observers of the typical politics of the governor believed Kubo is acting a script. Kubo’s call on the governor to contest for the presidency came ironically at a time Mr. Shettima’s new political mentor and Nigerian’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, is in the United Kingdom attending to his health which inside sources said has been deteriorating. Obviously realizing the sensitivity of such call and the timing, and after receiving phone calls from concerned associates voicing concern about the political implication of the deputy speaker’s call and what that may portend for his relationship with the president, Mr. Shettima promptly released a statement through Mr. Isah Gusau distancing himself from Kubo’s statement. Mr. Shettima, a highly articulated person, soft spoken, down to earth, intelligent and by all standard an intellectual but often regarded by many as cunning who read and has a rich and updated library of almost every book written by worlds renown authors particularly on leadership and its intricacies including collections of India’s prominent political leader and scholar of international repute, Mahatma Gandhi, in responding to Kubo’s call said ‘it would amount to moral insanity for any Nigerian to discuss issues of succession at a time a very popular, highly experienced and capable sitting president is managing his health’. He said he does not share Kubo’s opinion and wondered if he indeed made such damaging and premature statement but promised to reach out to the lawmaker to verify and communicate accordingly to the general public. But expectedly, the matter died a natural death. Mr. Shettima did not release another statement after he most have contacted Hon. Kubo on return from his foreign trip as he earlier assured. Pundits are still wondering if a deputy speaker and close political associate of the governor could make such a weighty call at a sensitive time in the nation’s history on his own.
And expectedly too DESERT HERALD weekly can authoritatively reveal that some of those to President Muhammadu Buhari are not only surprise with the call by his deputy speaker to contest the presidency but find it difficult to read sincerity in Mr. Shettima’s rebuttal. Aisha Buhari too according to a credible insider has begun to doubt the governor’s loyalty after Kubo’s statement but had to allow it to just go like that but with deep suspicion after Mr. Shettima denied it.
It would be recalled that owing to his loyalty, largesse and political sagacity, Mr. Shettima has won the love, admiration and support of the then Gen. Buhari (rtd) and the APC national leader, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu since before the election that gave APC the mandate to preside over the affairs of the country under Buhari. And it is indeed true that Mr. Tinubu has played a crucial godfather role in making Governor Shettima the candidate of the APC in 2015 thereby frustrating Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff out of the party. Tinubu did what he did for two reasons. The first reason was to frustrate his entrench and disloyal former friend out of the party because Sheriff being a former governor for eight years and a former senator with stupendous wealth like Tinubu feels they are the same and equal stakeholders in the party and therefore he will not bow down for Tinubu. That was the first reason in the mind of Tinubu. The second reason is to support Sheriff’s runaway godson and take advantage of the incumbency factor Shettima has to be the party’s gubernatorial candidate and to ensure that he (Shettima) wins so as to reduce Ali Sheriff’s overbearing influence to nothing. The loyalty and largesse demonstrated by Governor Shettima to Mr. Tinubu also played a significant role in convincing Tinubu that they have a common enemy in Ali Sheriff. And since then Shettima became very close to Tinubu until after President Buhari occupied Aso Rock.
Even then Mr. Shettima remained loyal to Tinubu but the actual and greater loyalty shifted to the man at the seat of power, Buhari. DESERT HERALD can reveal that after getting credible information about the true position of President Buhari’s health and nature of illness and with the political godson of Mr. Tinubu, VP Yemi Osinbajo becoming the Acting President and may likely succeed Mr. Buhari in the event of any unforeseen circumstance, the shrewd Kashim Shettima in one of the measures he took to regain his closeness once more to the emerging power brokers in Aso Rock and to repair the hitherto distance relationship with the Tinubus (which is not in comparison with that of the Buhari’s before he Buhari fell ill), last week named a housing estate after the APC leader. In justifying the untimely and what pundits say was a politically motivated decision to name the estate after Tinubu, Mr. Shettima knowing full well that people will criticize and ask questions for such action at a time higher or same gesture was not done to President Buhari despite his unequal contributions to the state and at a time the president is ill and abroad has prepared his reasons, framed his question and gave his answer to justify naming the estate after Mr. Tinubu. Governor Shettima said last Tuesday during the commissioning of the housing estate with about 432 houses and another 13 primary and junior secondary schools as well as 26 well built apartments in five blocks of three-storey buildings for medical doctors, “someone had sought to know our reasons for naming the project after Tinubu. I replied the person in five words by saying ‘it is our show of gratitude’. Naturally the person asked me, gratitude in what sense? I explained that after the APC was created in the build up to 2015 elections, we firmly resisted serious attempts by someone who wanted to completely hijack the entire party machinery with total disregard for our existence. But despite our resistance, that person would probably have had some oxygen if he had secured the support of Asiwaju”.
Mr. Tinubu’s wife, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu, even though there is no known record of her visiting Borno State at any time during the insurgency or giving the type of contribution her husband gave was also eulogized by Mr. Shettima. Pundits said that was done to appease her loving husband and for the same political reason. They wondered why the wife of the president, Aisha Buhari who had visited Borno more than once and contributed so much was neither recognized nor eulogised by Mr. Shettima during the ceremony.
Another reason, close insiders say, was why Mr. Shettima suddenly shifted more loyalty but with great caution to Asiwaju Tinubu instead of the ailing President Buhari is because of the increasing closeness of Mr. Ali Sheriff to some APC stalwarts including some ministers close to Buhari. And apart from the intra-marriage between the Buharis and Sheriffs, Ali Sheriff is also said to be close to the president, a combination of both have become a source of worry to Governor Shettima lately hence his reason to renew and solidify his ties with the powerful Tinubu group “in case the expected happens”. But as a typical Nigerian politician with the added ‘ability and gift’ of mastering the art of scheming, Mr. Shettima is not sacrificing any of the political heavy weights. In fact, he will wish to hit two birds with one stone so that in any way the situation turns out to be, he will not be at the receiving end.
Even with the power of incumbency and so much wealth to march and compete with anyone, the politics of 2019 considering silent controversies in Borno like the unprecedented rise in homosexuality and sodomy allegedly being promoted and perpetrated by officials of his government, ritual killings, alleged complicity in Boko Haram sponsorship and terror by some APC members and appointees of the government etc will be challenging and tough for Mr. Shettima during the campaign for his party. And even though Mr. Shettima’s performance in his second term has improved while he is gradually restoring discipline in his cabinet and checking excesses of corruption and corrupt enrichment by officials, his popularity and approval ratings have not withstanding dropped considerably due to what many say was his lackluster attitude in checking, exposing and punishing high profile personalities that are encouraging homosexuality and perpetrating sodomy as a result of which several young and promising boys and young girls that are being lured with money to allow anal sex were infected with the deadly virus of the HIV while many others were forced to be wearing pampers because their anuses have been badly damaged due to sodomy. DESERT HERALD can confirm that there are some government officials that are receiving HIV drugs secretly and their names available with us.
Pundits averred that if Governor Shettima did not take practicable measures and allow such abominable atrocities to continue against the underprivileged in the state, no amount of politics or closeness with the likes of Tinubu or even the president can save the APC in the state from humiliation come 2019 while the dream of having a protégé as a successor even with the deep division, animosity and rivalry between the gladiators eyeing the Maiduguri Government House come 2019 may not be realized.
And at the federal level, how Mr. Shettima will reconcile and manage his ‘loyalty’ for the top gladiators with his ambition of becoming the Vice President or the President if he has any will be interesting to watch and keep reporting.