By Inuwa Bwala
Somebody described the forthcoming convention of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC as unusual. Everybody is still guessing whether it will hold or not and what might be the likely outcome.
Nothing in the air suggests whether the convention will hold as the usual media frenzy that predate such important event is not there either.
No committee or sub committee is seen on the field doing what is associated with national conventions of major political parties.
Except for the posters of contenders for the National Chairman in particular, the Eagle Square bereft of the preparations which take weeks to oerfect. There are no signs of any up coming event, yet the convention is barely a week away.
The absence of certain conventional characteristics however do not suggest that nothing is being done to reposition the party ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Reading the body language of major stakeholders of the party, it is quite possible that they are working towards a consensus arrangement, that may tend to redress possible fallouts of competitive contests.
Besides this, I also know as a matter of fact that, the party is scheming to produce a National Working Committee that will not only improve upon the fortunes of the APC, but will give the opposition the run for it’s money.
In the last few weeks, since the confirmation of the date of the National Convention, individuals and groups have tried designing a roadmap for the party, even as others are manipulating the media to push for the emergence of their preferred candidates.
It is not an anathema for people to sell candidates, but it is most uncharitable to sell candidates based on their geopolitical, religious or sociocultural identities.
Without prejudice to the candidature of those who have openly thrown their hats into the ring, my bet still remain Kashim Shettima, former Borno State Governor, now Senator, representing Borno Central.
If the APC hopes to reposition and sustain it’s hold on power, the next National Chairman should be in the mould of Senator Shettima: an intellectual per excellence, a gogetter, team player, demonstrable leader, loyal party man, a detribalized Nigerian and a statesman.
The vision with which he governed Borno, the ideas he pushed into the Northern Governor’s Forum, as its Chairman and the dexterity in his presentations in the Senate, coupled with his known political sagacity, remain Shettima’s highest selling points.
Even as a science oriented intellectual, Kashim Shettima is blessed with exceptional oratorical capabilities, which often captivates his audience, including his colleagues in the red Chamber.
Shettima speaks reason into a vaccum, gives hope in despair, builds confidence in cowards, instills mutual respect amongst antagonists, predicts the future like a seer and above all leads with the wisdom of Solomon.
Some once described Kashim Shettima as a shrewd contriver, a master schemer and a cautious optimist, all of which combine to make him the leader the APC needs at this point if political rebirth.
Governor’s of the APC should be comfortable with him coming from amongst them, and against the roles he plays in building bridges of friendship. His fellow Senators should be at home with him, being conversant with his mediatory roles in conflicts, party elders could see in Shettima a young man imbued with statesmanlike qualities, the should will agree that Shettima has been the bridge between them and the older generation.
Women respect Kashim Shettima for his demonstrable gender sensitivity. The South have in Shettima a brother born in the North, while the North see in him an advocate for equity, justice and fair play. With time, when he nay have been tested, Nigerians will agree, that, the solution to the clamour for good leadership is right here.
Given the calibre if leadership in the main opposition, the PDP, the APC needs the services of an intellectually studded leadership, a politically motivational Chairman, a bridge between the old and the younger generation, the North and the South, Christians and Muslims and Nigerians generally. The APC needs Senator Kashim Shettima.
Should the APC decide to go otherwise, the may be missing what they need most, and should they tow the line of my thought, which many others share, then one can safely say they are home.
Inuwa Bwala, a seasoned journalist, publisher and former Commissioner for Information, writes in from Abuja