Vanguard awards

January 3, 2016

Shettima: Standing straight in the storm of insecurity

Shettima: Standing straight in the storm of insecurity

Gov. Shetima

By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor

IT is perhaps the bold response of Governor Kasshim Shettima to the bestial inclinations of the Boko Haram sect that may have projected the administrative competencies of the Borno State governor to the fore.

Despite being in the theatre of operations of the anti-education sect, Governor Shettima has in five years unarguably spurned some of the most proactive education initiatives in the Northeast, and perhaps in the country.

Indeed, in his fitting response to the mission of Boko Haram, Governor Shettima has not just encouraged more of his people to seek western education, he has practically relocated a number of Borno State students to western countries to seek western education.

An agricultural economist, turned banker who rose to the position of General Manager in Zenith Bank before he was appointed  Borno State commissioner for finance in 2007, Shettima’s drive to boost education in the state has been phenomenal.

The governor has thrown incentives including reviving the payment of transportation allowance to day school students, increased fivefold the provision for feeding of boarding students, and in seeking to further boost the capacity of pupils from the state towards achieving international acclaim, the Shettima administration has established seven bilingual schools.

International acclaim

The incentives directed towards keeping students in school are besides the upscale infrastructure that have been provided by the Shettima administration. Many times at great cost, schools burnt down by Boko Haram have been rebuilt. To fortify confidence in the students and teachers, many of the rebuilt schools in the state have been fenced.

Towards the sustainability of his education policies, the Shettima administration has also sought to boost the capacity of teaching staff through local and international retraining programmes. Besides, the governor was quick on assuming office to implement the CONTISS 2 salary structure for teaching staff.

Governor Shettima has also brought his training in agriculture to bear in his administration of the state. The governor was quick on coming to office in 2011, to commission experts including the present minister of agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh and a former minister from the state, Ibrahim Ali to lay a blueprint to promote agriculture in the state.
Perhaps, part of the result of the intervention was the training of 420 youths in an Integrated Poultry Entrepreneurship, a scheme supervised by a Professor of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Kyari Sandabe.

Besides, the administration has also taken initiatives towards boosting irrigation farming and encouraging a number of graduates to go back to the land through incentives that also expose agriculture graduates to integrated farming within and outside the country.

Agriculture graduates

Agriculture graduates have been sent to Songhai Farms in Republic of Benin to learn integrated farming and 100 were trained in rice farming in Thailand, remarkably one of Nigeria’s major sources of polished rice.

The administration has also made major impacts in assisting small and medium scale farmers with the supply of subsidised mechanised tools including tractors.
Given the rampage of the Boko Haram sect, Governor Shettima could have used the excuse of the insurgency to lower the template of good governance. Unlike some governors in that section of the country, he has even refused to relocate or turn himself into a visiting governor who comes once in a while to sympathise with his people.

Governor Shettima has rather made his presence felt on the ground, a visible leader in the face of one of the most bestial insurgencies to have surfaced the world. Remarkably, his support for the federal security operations is also largely unstated, but it is a known fact that a substantial proportion of resources have been devoted towards supporting the military operations in Borno State.

Governor Shettima who came into politics on the coat tails of his immediate predecessor, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff made his achievements despite the substantial subterfuge of political detractors for most of the first term. It is remarkable that in the face of all the assaults against him, with the bestial forces of Boko Haram on one hand and local political traducers on the other, Governor Shettima has remained focused.

For his efforts in the face of all odds, Alhaji Kashim Shettima wins Vanguard’s Governor of the Year award.