Senator Kashim Shetima
President Muhammadu Buhari made well-informed choices in his appointments of new service chiefs, former governor, now a senator representing Borno central, Kashim Shettima has said.
Shettima spoke in Maiduguri on Thursday when journalists asked his reaction to the appointments, especially given his viral video weeks back, in which he made a strong call for the replacement of former service chiefs who are now retired.
The senator said Buhari took his time to identify competent military commanders who are well-grounded with knowledge of the Boko Haram problem after serving in Borno State at different times.
“The President made a well informed decision. I have interacted with some of them and I can attest to the character and professionalism. General Leo Irabor (the chief of defence staff), is one of the finest officers the Nigerian army has produced in recent times.
"Rear Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo who is the Chief of Naval Stafff had served here in Borno and so has General Ibrahim Attahiru (the new chief of army staff) who was also in Borno for a brief period. We all know that depending on the situation General Attahiru might have met on ground as theatre commander back then, there is always a difference between when someone is working under another and when he is in charge. Today, he is chief of army staff who heads the Nigerian army. This appointment provides an opportunity that will insha’Allah prove General Attahiru’s leadership credentials and I believe that insha’Allah he will succeed.
"The success of all the service chiefs is in our best interest as leaders and as people of Borno. We will gain absolutely nothing if they fail while we will gain everything if they succeed. I am sure the President made an informed decision, it is for all of us to ray round the President and the service chiefs, to give them all the support so that insha’Allah they succeed in bringing an end to the Boko Haram madness” Shettima said.
... ‘I have nothing personal with Buratai, Sadique’
Senator Kashim Shettima also spoke about his strong voice calling for the sack of former service chiefs, noting he had nothing personal but the interest of Borno and the nation.
“There was nothing personal in our calls for the change of service chiefs. For instance, the former chief of army staff, General Tukur Buratai, we both grew up in Maiduguri, we attended the same primary school and the same University. The former chief of air staff, Air Marshall Sadique, we even have marital affinity but the issue goes beyond our interests and affiliations, it is about our survival as a people and no one can take away the fact that these service chiefs made contributions to Borno’s fight against Boko Haram and Nigeria’s fight with bandits and other criminals. We wish them the very best” Shettima said.
The former governor noted that he spoke because he did not believe in hypocrisy in which he would go behind to talk against the Presidency while pretending on the outside. Shettima noted that it was best for him to speak his mind if that would contribute to Buhari’s success.
“We are actually more Buhari than some of us those who castigated us for telling the truth when it mattered. In both 2015 and 2019 elections in Borno state when I was governor, Buhari recorded his highest percentage margin of vote not in Katsina, Kano or Jigawa but here in Borno. We gave Buhari more than 90% margin over his opponents Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 and Atiku Abubakar in 2019. We are Buharis to the core but at the same time, we adore the President without being hypocrites” Shettima said.