Nze James Chinonyerem.

It made wild stories in the social media. Nigerians love spectacles and they cherished the lastest one. What else do you expect from a people described as the happiest on earth in spite of the realities of their daily living. The legendary Afro beat exponent, the Fela sang about it as “suffering and smiling

Shettima, came to the Lawyers’ conference fully dressed to outshine the lawyers in their customary well tailored suit and ties. He was not in competition or conflict with them in terms of dress codes but certainly, he knew it was going to be more of a political show than dress show. He knew the lawyers would be in competition to out dress each other and his fellow political class would do same. Smart Shettima knew this and more and went for the sneakers and very long tie in a balloon kind of suit or was it coat. He sat in a rather magistraterial manner, his debonair signposting his seriousness and silently hectoring his political competitors in that bullying looks. He became the centre of attraction, the photographers’ delight. He was by default, the celebrity in the hall.

He played smart in a dumb way. He said he knew it was going to be an friendly environment for him. He had the intuition he said, that there was going to be a gang up against him and he needed to clown in order to get the crown. Talk about handing the lawyers dummy to escape their clutches. He played politics with the lawyers by looking like an Uncle JB. While the lawyers jeered, Shettima cheered in his heart.

The sneakers might have betrayed his dress among the lawyers but certainly did not define nor create boundaries for him. When he was asked to speak, he spoke in the finest English Language in the right phonetics. He made sense in spite of his sneakers. He represented his principal, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu in his speech. He spoke of him in glowing tributes. He was not cowed by the spotlights on him. He talked about his principal as one with a high creative mind, a socioeconomic revivalist of sort. He cited the socioeconomic and political growth of Lagos state from 1999 to date as a direct product of the strong foundations Tinubu laid in the state. He said today, Lagos State is one of the strongest economic capital cities in Africa. They, Tinubu and himself would replicate the Lagos magic in the entire country. He spoke with confidence, grace and grit.

Truly, I had watched him in many media, there’s no doubting the fact that Shettima is intelligent, organized and imaginative. A perusal of his curriculum vitae is insightful of rich training and preparations for greater engagements.

Unfortunately, in Nigerian political space attentions are given to the wrong areas. Intelligence, integrity and competence count less. Religion and ethnicity count more.

My submission here is in line with the cliche that says, “the hood does not make the Monk” certainly, the sneakers did not in any way define the intelligence and humanism of Shettima. It was his speech that did.


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