A Word In Defence Of Hon Haruna Mshelia

By Inuwa Bwala

Initially, I felt he does not deserve any kind word from me, given his recent disposition on issues, most of which have pitched him against most stakeholders in his constituency, including me.

But the fact that he is a brother and  represents me in the National Assembly, and looking back at some of the things we did together for the advancement of our area, I feel I don’t need to join the fray in crucifying him.

I have known Dr Haruna Mshelia, now Honourable member representing my constituency: Hawul/Askira-Uba Federal Constituency of Borno state in the House of Representatives for a very long time.

I have known him as a political foot soldier to many big politicians in the past, and I am aware of his many outings in public office.

Although for greater part of his political activism, he had been in the opposition camp, untill Kashim Shettima, former Governor of Borno State drew him into the mainstream, Haruna Mshelia cannot be described as a political neophyte.

Besides his professional calling which exposed him to many things of life, he was Commissioner, since the days of the Military, he was a Director, later Permanent Secretary in the Civil Service, Haruna Mshelia was at the Constituent Assembly, he returned as Commissioner before his election into the House of Representatives.

With these exposures, and given the political sophistry of the older politicians he worked for, the expectations from his constituency was indeed very high.

What people failed to take into cognizance was perhaps, the fact that, he is a first timer in the green chambers, and he needs a little patience and time to enable him cut his teeth.

Embarrassing as the issue for which he was excused from the Chambers may be, it cannot be counted as a political minus, as that had nothing to do with his inputs into deliberations in the chambers.

He may not have helped matters with his own attitude to people, leading to the celebration of the incident by people, but I feel it could happen to any other legislator. He was not the first to have been excused on account of improper dressing and may not be the last.

 I have often cautioned him against  surrounding himself with less fancied political jobbers as advisers and aides, who often misrepresent his position and pitch him against others.

My brother  seems to have preoccupied himself with his second term bid and sees every potential aspirant from his constituency as an enemy, thus creating more problems for himself. This perhaps explains why he seldom reaches out even in times like this.

Perhaps, his new found political associates and hangers on must have ill-advised him on how he should manage his victory into national political limelight, and that is why he does not even relate with fellow stakeholders and politicians. Otherwise, I know Mshelia to be a humble, and lively; though sometimes pompous personality.

To call him a political greenhorn because of the recent fallout on the floor of the House of Representatives, was therefore  to me creating a mountain out of an anthill.

It is true to say he was negligent and failing to take cognisance of a simple thing as his appearance, but I am sure he was coming from an event which necessitated that unacceptable appearance. He was not given the chance to explain. 

But no matter Haruna Mshelia’s foibles, I will not deny him as a long time political ally, who deserves the position he eventually got after prolonged political servitude. How he manages the office is a story for another day.

Better things could still come out of this seeming bad situation, all he needs to do is to make a quick detour and change mannerisms. With one year yet to go, he may be the preferred known devil to the stranger saint.

Inuwa Bwala, a seasoned journalist, publisher, political analyst and former Borno State Commissioner of Information, writes from Abuja

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