I know the pains and challenges of leadership. A leader who is genuinely concerned about the peace and welfare of his people, but faced with seeming intractable problems on this path, agonizes every day and night pondering a solution.
But I also absolutely believe that positively deploying the potency of past experiences in leadership is very rewarding. It assists the leader immensely in avoiding pitfalls of yesterday to package today’s governance demands in manner that provides durable solutions to etch his name in history’s gold books.
The two-tenured Governor of Borno State, Alhaji Kashim Shettima regrettably finds himself in this dilemma at the moment. His nightmare is the sudden resurgence of Boko Haram in his state.
I vividly remember when he roared at former President Goodluck Jonathan about the raging, uncontrollable fires of insurgency in his domain; and the government’s docile and complacent posturing in arresting the ostensible drift of Nigeria into a failed state.
I love Governor Shettima. At least, he got the desired relief when President Mohammadu Buhari reinvigorated and re-energized the Nigerian military and directed the Nigerian Army to lead the counter-insurgency operations in the country.
It was sweet respite for Gov. Shettima and his people, when the military was rejigged and forcefully chased out all the insurgents.
I was glad that he truthfully recounted this progress last week, when he led a delegation of a broad spectrum of respected Borno leaders to President Buhari. Except, I am wrong, but Shettima is divulging this secret for the first time under President Buhari.
Shettima said; “Mr President, Sir…Borno State suffered it’s worst times between 2013 and 2014. In that period, Boko Haram abducted our children, attacked and took firm control of 20 out of the 27 local government areas of Borno. In these 20 local government areas, they established caliphates and put in place, sovereign administrators who strictly enforced tax systems and violent laws. They abused our young daughters.”
He purged himself of a concealed truth. Thereafter, our Governor broke down in tears, in public glare of reporters and blistering cameras. I feel for him.
Our military had extinguished whatever were Boko Haram’s fires. Normal life had predictably returned to 98 % of Borno territory. And all of a sudden, the insurgents are trying to bounce back, violently to cancel the peace and security. These insurgents are attempting to flatten the joy and happiness of several families and communities in Metele, Baga and Guzumala among others. It’s a tale of blood, pains, sorrows and agonies assailing the Governor’s psyche.
Even as Chief Security Officer of the State, Gov. Shettima has no inkling on how the reversal of soldiers victory against Boko Haram insurgents has come to again afflict his people. So, when he wept in the presence of President Buhari, some Security Chiefs and top government functionaries, it filled me with empathy for him and the people of Borno.
Dikko is a public affairs commentator based in Abuja.