By Anietie Ekong
The outfit worn by the APC Presidential candidate, Senator Kashim Shettima had turned out to be the biggest highlight of the 2022 Nigerian Bar Association, Annual General Conference. Senator Shettima represented the APC presidential candidate Asiwaju Bola Tinubu at the event.
Unfortunately, the excellent presentation of Senator Shettima was almost eclipsed by the social media mob which focused more on his attire than his robust presentation delivered extemporaneously. But up till now, nobody has said what was wrong with the black suit, red tie, accompanied by a pair of sneakers . If anything we have come to know from examples around the world that his outfit was trendy.
The coming campaigns should present the Nigerian populace with the opportunity to examine the content of the various candidates and how they intend to solve the myriads of problems confronting the country rather than focusing on the mundane.
As citizens it is our duty to interrogate what each of the presidential candidates at the Conference said or failed to say to steer the debate away from the social media jungle. For former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, his speech was heavy in politics and short on tangible programmes of action to achieve national development
He lamented about the “negative indices” of disunity, poverty, unemployment and claimed he has the experience to fix them.
According to a report in Daily Trust, the former Vice president also said the Federal Government does not have the resources to maintain it’s universities and vowed to handover Federal Universities to states . However following media backlash of which this proposition attracted, Atiku quickly beat a retreat and denied the claim that he would hand over the federal Universities to the state.
It was not the first time the former Vice President would back track on his earlier position following public pressure. Sometimes in May, Atiku had deleted a post on his Twitter handle where he condemned the brutal murder of a Christian student, Deborah Samuel. The student had been burnt to death by her fellow students for allegedly blasphemy of Prophet Muhammad. However, following threats by Muslim students not to vote for him, while some said they would wait for his campaign team in sokoto, he quickly deleted the tweet. These prevarication have shown Atiku as a leader who always play to the gallery to achieve political ends.
For the candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi many are of the view that since he had previously held a public office as the Governor of Anambra State, his campaign should be based on his track record in Anambra State. But not for Obi whose penchant for churning out questionable, unverifiable and dubious data and statistics are well known.
Why has obi not focused on what he had achieved as the Governor of Anambra state? It is well known that it was Obi’s successor, Chief Willie Obiano who built the first flyover in Anambra state. It was Obiano who built an airport in the state and many other infrastructural projects while Obi is widely credited as having left money in the state account for his successor without utilising such funds for the benefit of the people.
At NBA conference, the Labour Party candidate charted a familiar route. He lamented about Nigeria as a failed state without any concrete action plan on how he is going to reverse this trend. As usual he bandied figures about unemployment, number of Nigerians living in poverty and “fiscal mess” of the country. The truth is that Nigerians are aware of the problems confounding the country. They desire a leader with proven track record on solving these problems not one who wails about them and frighten people with cooked up statistics..
Then enter the Golden Boy, Senator Shettima. There is a general consensus that Shettima’s presentation showed a man who had a clear understanding of the Nigerian situation and how he will hit the ground running from Day One. He showed intellectual competence in his presentation.
Being persons who had held public offices before, Shettima spoke on the strength of his records as a former Governor of Borno State and that of Tinubu as the former Governor of Lagos state. He cited how through the foundation that Tinubu had laid in Lagos State, the economy had grown to become the third largest in Africa and the enormous transformation Lagos had been through, through the vision of one man: Tinubu.
Shettima also cited the great job he did especially in the area of education as Governor of Borno state (May 2011 to May 2019.) It is well known that he embarked upon massive construction of new schools to cater for over 70,000 unaccompanied orphans whose parents were killed by insurgents across the 27 local government areas of the state. Some universities will turn green with envy if placed side by side with the secondary schools Shettima built in Borno.
In the area of security which is one problem bedeviling the country presently, Shettima’s administration formalized the establishment of youth volunteers called civilian JTF to curb insecurity in the state. He promised to replicate these measures on a larger scale in Nigeria.
According to a commentator, “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.” That is what Nigerians should focus on and not join social media mob to talk about suits, ties and sneakers.
Ekong, a media practitioner writes from Abuja