Senator Shettima outshone other speakers. He was better than Obi, who as usual reeled out
fake statistics about oil production and theft, unemployment, declared Nigeria a failed state but
failed to offer solutions. Atiku who also came tried to make a political capital out of ASUU strike
by advocating the transfer of Federal universities to the states. Afterall, he said some of the
universities had regional history. He was referring to Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Obafemi
Awolowo University in Ife and Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Nsukka. Hours later Atiku walked
back the suggestion and denied ever saying so.
Shettima spoke about how Tinubu and his successors grew the economy of Lagos from N600m
revenue base to N51billion today, to become Africa’s fourth biggest economy. He spoke about
their readiness to deploy his experience in fighting insurgents to deal with problems of banditry
and kidnapping today.
Not a rabble rouser, Shettima’s submission appealed more to the rational audience in the hall of
Eko Atlantic and Suites. Lawyer and activist Ayo Obe, who listened to the panelists of
politicians, tweeted: “Going by their performance in answering questions in their panel
discussion at #NBAAGC2022, when it comes to citing figures and data, and giving examples
from other countries, I think that @PeterObi has met his match in @KashimSM.
Clearly, some sections of people in the hall were not interested in Shettima’s speech. They were
focussed on the mundane: his attire. But they got it all wrong. If they had not been limited by
their own bushman’s narrow view, they would have known that it was pointless ridiculing the
senator with his suit and tie. They were the people that needed further exposure on the
correctness of dress modes.
A lot of people may still be wondering why Tinubu picked Shettima as running mate and not
somebody else. One of the reasons was what the whole world saw on display Monday.
Shettima is highly cerebral. Give Shettima the option to pick a monetary or book prize, he will
opt for books. He loves books, his friends testify, such that any time he travels out of the
country, he returns with book gifts. Shettima is not a dude, he is rather a deep thinker, indeed a
This is one reason Borno people will not forget him in a hurry. Despite the Boko Haram crisis
that began in 2009, two years before he became governor , Shettima left a legacy of big
schools, better than some of the Nigerian universities. He built housing estates and hospitals.
He rebuilt over 50 churches destroyed by the insurgents. He invested in agriculture and left a
successor that has continued to build on his legacy, just like Tinubu’s successors have been
doing in Lagos.
Shettima is also cosmopolitan. He was educated in Maiduguri and Ibadan. He studied
Agricultural Economics first at UNIMAID. He did his NYSC in Calabar. He then went for a
masters degree at UI. He started his working career in 1991 as a lecturer in Agricultural
Economics at the University of Maiduguri, before crossing to banking.
His first port of call was Commercial Bank of Africa as an Agricultural Economist at its Ikeja
Office, Lagos State between 1993 and 1997. He left as deputy manager to join African
International Bank Limited, Kaduna Branch (1997–2001).
From AIB, Shettima in 2001 joined Zenith Bank as Deputy Manager/Branch Head in the
Maiduguri Office in 2001. Within six years, he rose to become the General Manager, one of the
fastest career progression by any staff in Nigeria’s biggest bank.
But the pull of politics was irresistible for the banker. In 2007, he took up political appointment
as commissioner for finance and economic development in his home state of Borno.
He was so good that within the four years he served under Governor Ali Modu Sheriff, he was
moved from ministry to ministry. His last place was the ministry of local government and
The left-handed Shettima became the governor of Borno state by accident in 2011. This
happened after insurgents killed the original candidate, Engineer Modu Fannami Gubio.
The rest is now history.