Shettima hails Tinubu, says leadership isn’t about lifting bag of cement

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Former Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima

Former governor of Borno State, Senator Kashim Shettima, has said the opinion that a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, is physically unsuitable for the Office of the President due to his age have no understanding of his “incredible work ethic.”

He said such people present the presidency as a brick-laying exercise, just as he pointed out that the mark of true leadership isn’t the ability to lift a bag of cement.

He said this on Monday as part of a keynote address he presented at the Support Group Conference, organised by Support Groups Management Council, held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, in honour of Tinubu who recently declared his presidential ambition.

Shettima said, “The mudslinging that has trailed Asiwaju since his presidential bid took the top spot in the country is a mere acknowledgement of his political track record and inimitable influence on our political scene. The attempts at weaving ridiculous fiction to override the history we’ve all witnessed demonstrate the detractors’ utter desperation and cowardice. One of such is the mischievous fixation on his age and the wild conclusions that he’s physically unsuitable for the Office of the President. This obsession characterises the thinking of those who have no understanding of Asiwaju’s incredible work ethic.

“A few days ago, I joined him on a trip to Zamfara State to condole with the people and identify with their realities, and the experience made a nonsense of the propaganda that he’s unfit to run Nigeria. On the eve of the trip, Asiwaju had retired at 6am, after Subhi prayers, and was already awake and attending to guests by 11am. We departed for Sokoto around 2pm and had to traverse the menacing hinterland of that part of the North-West for seven hours from Sokoto to Gusau —where he made a generous donation of N50 million as he had in other places struck by tragedies— and then back to Sokoto. On returning to Abuja by midnight, his schedule was entirely a series of meetings that kept him up till 3am. Now, excuse my curiosity, how many of us here can match or endure such a demanding schedule? Asiwaju’s alacrity, therefore, has never been a subject of scepticism for those who’ve worked with him, and even his critics are aware of this. If he were half the man in their tales by moonlight, they would’ve long succeeded in subduing him.

“The mark of true leadership isn’t the ability to lift a bag of cement. It’s the mental effort to think rationally of solutions designed to redeem one’s people and territorial jurisdiction. This was why leaders like Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States of America, stood out. Roosevelt took power in a country wrecked by the Great Depression of the 1930s and guided its economy through the Second World War, and the quality of his thoughts and ideas made the United States a superpower under his watch. Similarly, the accident that had Kenya’s Mwai Kibaki confined to a wheelchair didn’t disable his ability to produce sound ideas, and Kenyans were sold on his virtue that they chose him as their President over what some would consider a fitter option.

“I’m not asking you to tone down critical assessments of your future leaders, but redirect you to see the bigger picture. We are not here to prepare for the Olympics, but an institution that relies on the superiority of ideas to thrive. Asiwaju’s credentials aren’t only appealing, they are proof of the qualities this country needs to redeem its vast potentials and possibilities. We are here to testify to this power of ideas—one that overturned the fortunes of Lagos state and sustained its supremacy as the largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa and kept the opposition alive when it was more profitable to sell out. Those who seek to make us go low hope to present the presidency as a brick-laying exercise. But that’s the work of a machine created by an idea, and who else to guide us towards manufacturing the best ideas to redeem this country?” (The Punch)

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