Senate President Ahmed Lawan’s bid to reposition the country through a shot at the presidency continues to generate positive expectations across the land. His proposed reforms in agriculture and education animate daily headlines.
Lawan’s campaign strategies which have endeared him to the people is giving some of his opponents sleepless nights. In fairness to them, they have every reason to panic because someone who is coming with a whiff of fresh air is a hot cake indeed.
Senator Ibrahim Shettima speaks for himself most of the time but pretends to voice the view of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Shettima, a former Borno State governor is Director- General, Tinubu Campaign Organisation. He was on holiday most of the time but now that we are faced with the All Progressives Congress Presidential Primaries, he suddenly woke up from stupor.
For a man who seemed to have woken up from the wrong side of the bed, the first thing he did was to attack the person of Senator Lawan.
Suddenly, erstwhile camera shy Shettima began to grant television interviews like monsoon rain in the tropics. He spoke most of the time like a banker apparently oblivious of his background as an educated farmer.
Shettima said, “Go to Ohafia and ask of Ahmad Lawan, the first thing that will come to their mind is that of a tomato dealer from Maidugiri. Go to any other part of the South, does the name sell?”
This is laughable. Shettima holds a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics, from the University of Maiduguri. What he has done is to denigrate Kanuri farmers who he could not help as governor even with his connections as a banker.
At a time we are talking of diversifying the economy, Shettima is looking down on farmers. He has forgotten that Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo is a big time farmer. President Muhammadu Buhari does well in animal husbandry.
Senator Lawan is not ashamed to be identified with tomato farmers. They are human. Shettima knows that between 1987 and 1997, there was a lecturer at the University of Maiduguri known as Dr. Ahmed Lawan.
Lawan was a lecturer before Shettima
graduated from the same university. With a doctorate in Geography, the Senate President is at home in all the Geo- Political Zones.
Lawan is well known in Ohafia as a bridge builder. Shettima may not know that the Ohafia people are enlightened enough to respect the tomato dealer. The first Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Eni Njoku hailed from Ohafia and was a Botanist.
Shettima only displayed his inadequacies. Little wonder he is known as ‘Accidental governor’. It was the assassination of Modu Fannami Gubio by gunmen in 2011 that threw up Shettima. He would have continued in Bornu as commissioner.
The same Lawan he mistakes for tomatoes dealer, made him chairman Senate Committee on the Interior. Shettima has not found a way out of the innumerable jail breaks across the country and lopsided appointments in the Interior ministry.
Shettima fears that a Lawan presidency will relegate and bury his chances of becoming Vice President to Jagaban. We can understand that. It is all about stomach infrastructure.
Ekeoma is Spokesperson, Ahmad Lawan Campaign Organisation.