Senator Shettima’s rendezvous with his past


By Inuwa Bwala
The ominous signs that something is wrong with my system were enough to weigh me down, but the urge to write remains an irresistible temptation, especially when the subject is one about which I have been so passionate.

As I sit idling away in despair, somebody sent me the text of Senator Kashim Shettima’s remarks at the maiden Annual Lecture of the University of Maiduguri Alumni in Abuja.

Before I contemplate my next move in seeking solace, I decided to say something on that piece of oratorical excellence.

Those conversant with the story of the former Borno state Governor, should have known that, Shettima cut his teeth as the renowned intellectual that he has turned out to be learning from the University of Maiduguri. Interestingly, he went back to teach there.

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His sojourn into banking and politics could best be described as circumstantial, as traits of his intellectual attainments at the University remain the strongest moving forces behind his success in banking and politics.

Every time I write about Senator Kashim Shettima therefore, I end up playing around with his own exact words and expressions, without adding anything new; knowing that the former Governor is himself a wordsmith.

The danger in allowing people like Kashim Shettima to speak before others at every event lies in the fact that, subsequent speakers after him may not be able to cut the ice with the audience.

The temptation to write about what happened at that alumni event, was made even stronger, knowing that I may be off the scene for some time and by the time I return so many things may have happened where he may be invited to stay many other things.

Kashim Shettima in his ever exciting delivery took what should be the crux of his message to the last part of his speech, to the effect that products of every system should always look back.

After taking his audience through the nostalgic journey of the banalities, and misadventures of university life: the excitements, the fears and anxieties, the thrills of campus rascality and the joy of emerging from it worthy in character and leaning, drew attention to fundemental essence of coming together after the campus experiences and to relive the experiences.

To me, that call was the climax of the event, which revolves around the duties expected of graduands of the University of Maiduguri; to pay back what they may have benefitted from it.

In reminding his alumni of what is expected of them, Shettima highlighted the possible impact such gatherings could make on the general development of our Universities, especially in a country like Nigeria, where alumni gatherings transcend mere coming together to socialize, to coming together to mobilize resources for development.

Even as the chairman of the occasion, Senator Kashim Shettima stole the day, holding his audience spell bound, drawing down on the so many benefits of post campus rendezvous, which could be translated into lofty avenues to strategize for national development.

Somebody once told me after watching the Senator speak on television, that, Shettima is the kind of human resources Nigerians should never allow to waste. To the man, Shettima demonstrated exceptional brilliance in combining politics and intellectualism without losing his sense of statesmanship.
That will be a story for another day.

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