Former Borno State Governor and Senator representing Borno Central, Kashim Shettima, has appealed to leaders in Nigeria to always place high premium on personal intellect, competence and capability in appointing leaders against other primordial considerations.
Mr Shettima made the appeal in a lecture under the theme: ‘Succession Planning-Ensuring Continuity And Building A Sustainable Framework’, which he delivered on Thursday in Ado Ekiti, during the high-level retreat 2020 organised by Governor John Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti.
The Senator recalled that he was able to lay a solid and enduring legacy in Borno State because he never allowed the challenges of Boko Haram insurgency defined his Government or distracted him, saying he perceived it as part of the challenges of leadership.
He also said that choosing his successor was beyond his thinking alone, stressing that he applied a combination of very deep thoughts and wisdom and made extensive consultations to arrive at the choice of the current Governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum.
He also advised leaders with the succession plan to plan ahead so that they do not make the wrong choice as according to him, no matter how long a tenure, and in our democratic experience, of a two four-year tenure, the days and months run out very fast, hence if we are not consciously methodical, or if we somehow become delusional, we could be caught off-guard, by the relentless march of time.
“Competence, capability, integrity and maturity and depth of appreciation and acceptability by the general public are better considerations in politics than primordial sentiments.
“21 people wanted to succeed me, but I understood the politics and allowed the system to produce my successor”, he said.
On his choice of picking Zulum, he said: “In Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, the historical moment found the individual.
“And let me reiterate, that His Excellency’s emergence, came from the power of his own personality, and the exemplary manner that he carried out every assignment the state gave him: selflessly and without any thought of exploiting the opportunities, for personal advantage.
“He was an example of commitment to duty, without thought of ambition or any type of pettiness. We knew that Borno would be in safe hands, if we could convince him, to accept the challenge of Governorship.
“Thankfully, he accepted the challenge, and the whole country, is beginning to appreciate the fact, that at least in Borno, we made a choice, that was not determined by an effort to shoehorn into Governorship, a puppet on a string.”
He, therefore, appealed to Governor Fayemi to resist the temptation of imposing a successor in 2022, by allowing the system to produce a capable leader after him.
Contributing his speech on: “Finishing well, winning against all odds,” former Lagos State Governor and Minister of Works, Babatunde Raji Fashola, posited that Mr Fayemi and his team must focus attentions on the kernel of the cardinal objectives of his administration to earn the respect of Ekiti people.
“Nothing can be more successful than self-measurement. I urge all of you to keep the word finishing well in minds. You all agreed on a goal, but the question to ask is that can we finish well ? We must ask ourselves especially those having political ambitions who may want to place personal ambitions over collective gains.
“What does success mean? If the five pillar policy thrust is well achieved, then there is success. keep your focus on the agenda of government . Remember that finishing well would mean that you remember that this government is a product of APC, which believes in propagation of ideals of progressivism, Which means continuous improvement of human conditions.
“This is a step towards finishing well. And when you finish well, you will see the credibility of your government with the people and this make it compulsory that we must stay connected to the people.
“I am not unmindful of the limited resources, but prioritise the needs of the people. You must do things based on public opinion polls and engagements with the people.
“Take critics as challengers, not enemies. Those who asked you to do more are not ungrateful people. If they ask you to do more, is a vote of confidence on your person and government.
“Build your stewardship on the minds of the people. How do you react to those that suffered to elect you. How do you react to their messages and calls? Is it with laughter or irritation? All these are issues we must also take into cognisance” .
Mr Fashola assured that President Muhammadu Buhari would complete the federal Secretariat awarded by the federal government and other road projects being undertaken in Ekiti State like ; Efon-Iwaraja, Ado-Aramoko- Itaore and Ado-Ifaki- Otun roads.
In his contribution, the host Governor,Mr Fayemi said the programme was conceptualised to appraise the gains and challenges he has made in the second year of his tenure, in order to create opportunity for improvement.
He further said the programme will enhance good working relationship among his team and ignite team spirit.
“If will finish well, we will be able to inject a progressive government that will deliver and project progressive politicking in Ekiti. We must not be distracted or allow divisive tendencies to derail our focus,” he said.