SKS A Rare Leader @54, By Ismail Omipidan

He is known by the acronym KSM, Kashim Shettima. But today, I am introducing a new one, SKS, Senator Kashim Shettima. I have known him for 19 years now. He has consistently proven to be a detribalised, compassionate and rare leader.

He was 45 when he became Borno State Governor in 2011. But those who believe they have the power of life and death politically, refered to him as a “small boy” in private and in public. They attempted to dislodge him in 2015. He beat them to their game.

Again, in the build up to 2019 elections, they attempted frustrating the emergence of Prof. Zulum as the candidate of the APC, insisting Borno must be rescued from the hands of “yara” (small boys), forgetting that “these small boys ” stood up to be counted when it mattered most. Like it happened in 2015, SKS again beat them to their game in 2019 and in the end, Prof. Zulum went on to win the governorship contest.

Since May 29 when Prof. Zulum became the new leader, SKS deservedly took the backstage, providing Zulum with every available space to explore and make his own mark as the new man in charge.

In one of my private conversations with him in Maiduguri, shortly before the governorship poll, hear what he said about Zulum: “My successor is head and shoulders above me in terms of intellect, capacity and ability.” How many predecessors will say that about their successors?

Again, in September last year, four clear months after leaving the stage as Borno Governor, a reputable professional union contacted me to intimate him of its decision to honour him with an award of excellence for his superlative performance while in office as Governor. SKS shocked me with his response.

Hear him: “Salaam Alaykum Hon.Ismail.

“There can never be two Captains on the same Ship. My tenure is over and the sooner I come to terms with this reality, the better. I was lucky for having a successor, who respects and holds me in the highest esteem. In the light of the foregoing, I will appreciate if my Governor is given the Award instead of my humble self….”

You can see why I am call him a rare leader.

As you celebrate your birthday again today, I pray Almighty Allah continues to guide your steps and continue to provide you with the knowledge and wisdom to navigate through our country’s murky political water.

I pray those demons that confuse and make political leaders want to share Allah’s attributes with Him will flee from you. I pray Allah also grants you the knowledge, wisdom, and courage to identify them and flee from them whenever they come calling as associates and supporters.

Happy birthday to you my dear friend and brother, SKS. Allah ya kara zumunci.

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