By Chido Nwakanma
Remember that President Goodluck Jonathan commenced his Aso Rock journey as the Olusegun Obasanjo-handpicked vice president to President Umaru Yaradua. In today’s parlance, he was like a placeholder. Time and chance happened, and Goodluck Jonathan became de facto and de jure President of Nigeria.
Consequently, Nigerians should pay as much attention to persons vying to be vice president as we do to those seeking the top job. The vice president is only a heartbeat away from being the president.
Two recent events underscore the criticality and significance of the office of the Vice-President as Nigeria walks to a General Election to pick pilots for the vessel MV Nigeria circa 2023-2027. APC presidential candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu led his team to visit former President Dr Goodluck Jonathan as part of canvassing support from eminent citizens years after excoriating and humiliating him. Who would have thought it?
APC’s KashimShettima, vice presidential candidate for the February 2023 elections, committed a blunder and compounded it with inelegant bluster. Shettima committed a fashion faux pas at the 62ndannual conference of the Nigerian Bar Association held in Lagos. The event had all the features of a high-octane corporate event. The venue was appropriately high profile, plenty of klieg lights and overflowing media presence and attention.
Shettima came in wearing sports shoes atop his suit. The fashion police screamed. He then added to this faux pas wrong placement of his tie and sitting posture. Social media went into overdrive with memes ridiculing the getup.
At the same event, Shettima showed the wrong hand and put his foot in his mouth. He asserted that he would take charge of the security architecture of the Tinubu-Shettima government if it happens, while his principal as president would handle economic matters. His arrangement upturns provisions of the Nigeria 1999 Constitution. Not a few read sinister motives in the fast-evolving conspiracy theory industry around the elections.
A critical concern was whether his error was innocent or was a Freudian slip that revealed hidden motives and plans. It has since led to a critical re-examination of the claims made by Shettima and his publicists about curtailing Boko Haram. It is an idiot’s tale, full of sound and fury signifying nothing. For indeed, Boko Haram grew in strength and capacity for evil while Shettima ruled Borno State.
Shettima compounded his blunder with needless bluster. He claimed days after to have flouted dress etiquette intentionally to the event to poke at enemies allegedly waiting to mess him up therein. It was a strange rationalisation. So, who is in the muck, and who is the subject of mockery? How does a man cut his face to spite his enemies?
Three candidates demand attention in the race for who would be Nigeria’s Number 2 citizen from June 2023. They are Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa of the PDP, Dr. Yusuf Datti-Ahmad of the Labour Party and Mr Kashim Shettima of the APC. All candidates come with rich dossiers. HR specialists declare, however, that many factors go into the selection of candidates for senior management positions beyond declarations on the resume.
KashimShettima Mustapha (born 2 September 1966) is a Nigerian banker and politician who has served as a senator (Borno Central 2019) and governor of Borno State from 2011 to 2019. His reign as Governor featured the ascendancy of the notorious Boko Haram group. Under him, Boko Haram kidnapped students from Chibok Community Secondary School despite security warnings to close the school. Controversy is a central part of the Shettima narrative.
Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed is an economist and politician who served as Senator for Kaduna North from 2011 to 2012 and a member of the House of Representatives from 2003 to 2007. A member of the Labour Party, he is the party’s vice-presidential nominee in the 2023 presidential election running alongside Peter Obi. He is most notable as the founder of Baze University, Abuja.
Dr. Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed does not have drama or substance to his name. Or, please, do you remember anything that he has said about any aspect of Nigeria despite having been a senator and run a higher academic institution? What does Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed represent beyond a smooth face and youthful looks?
Ifeanyichukwu Arthur Okowa (born 8 July 1959) is a Nigerian doctor and politician who has served as the Governor of Delta State since May 2015. Okowa is an exemplar of building from the ground up, a believer in the political process, and has served his people from the lowest positions as he moves up.
Okowa commenced serving his people as a community doctor, after which constituents invited him into politics to help more people in the local government system. He moved to the state level, serving in various capacities, such as commissioner and secretary to the state government. He was in the Seventh Senate as Senator from 2011-2015 and became Governor in 2015.
Okowa is a man tried, tested, and trusted. As Governor, he has focused on delivering prosperity, peace, and progress to Delta State. He is loyal, competent, caring, and ready to work for Nigeria from the first day, without fuss and drama.