THE SHETIMA SHOW: Where what you bear is wronged by what you wear
Nigeria is a funny country, inhabited by people of funny characters. Everything one does comes with an interpretation, sometimes strange, sometimes odd, but many times changing a bemusement to an amusement.
There are people with the ingenuity of making humour out of every situation, such that they make others laugh out their frustrations. But if you don’t know how to do it, you may end up fooling yourself.
The latest of such behaviour, which may be seen by some as an iniquity, is the circulation of the caricature pictures of Kashim Shetima, the former governor of Borno state, and now the Presidential running mate of Asiwaju, Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the APC, in the 2023 general elections.
Kashim Shetima was at the Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, to represent his principal, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, at the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) annual general conference, but instead of making his speech the issue, some Nigerians turned what he wore to the big issue of the occasion.
As usual, the major social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, became inundated with caricature pictures, suggesting Shetima as a man with no finesse in dressing.
Yes, the familiar mode of dressing of Shettima is his usual traditional Hausa Babbar riga, but for the purpose of that occasion, which is an event for attorneys at law, he chose to emulate them, in their conventional regalia. Shetima also opted for sneakers, as the shoes to wear to the conference.
The last time I checked, there is no law that prohibits the wearing of sneakers to any occasion in Nigeria. So, by the law of logic, Shetima cannot be charged for being disrespectful to any dress code.
However, instead of applauding him for copying the clothing of the counsels, his appearance became a subject of mediocrity. Some people took to the social media to berate him, for what they call, his poor sense of fashion.
Prominent amongst such critics is Reno Omokri, who in a tweet said, “This is Tinubu’s running mate at the NBA Conference today. Look at his feet. Who in his right mind wears a suit and tie, and then puts on a pair of gym shoes to a conference? If Shettima does not know how to dress himself, how can he address Nigeria’s challenges?”
Another user tweeted thus, “Whoever suggested the idea of wearing sneakers on a suit to the NBA conference to Shettima was just all out to ridicule the man. It must be difficult selling this ‘market’.
But unknown to Reno Omokri and his hoodwinked traducers, Kashim Shetima would be a good sale in the market, because, he did what he did with a quick-witted intelligence. The whole idea behind the dilapidated dressing was a deceit, designed to compulsorily compel the crowd to pay special attention to him, and indeed, the trick worked.
When it was time for Shetima to speak, he turned out to be uniquely different in dictum. The eloquence and skill with which he spoke, made him an exceptional rhetorician par excellence. He turned himself into an awe-inspiring masterpiece, who, because of the fluidity of speech, became the aura of a breath-taking beauty. He first confused the spectators, before convincing the audience. How brilliant!
In attendance were Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the PDP and his LP counterpart, Peter Obi. But Shetima outshined them all in speech. Someone wrote and I quote, “Isn’t it odd that a vice presidential candidate could surpass the front-runners of the other major parties? Truth be told, Shettima stole the show with his attire and presentation to the point where people are still unsure if the LP and PDP presidential candidates attended the event. This is what we mean when we talk about grace”.
“When Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu became governor of Lagos State in 1999, there was only one ambulance in the service of the Lagos state government, now Lagos is earning N51 billion every month as its internally generated revenue. Lagos is the third largest economy in Africa and the world is in transition. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has established an excellent track record for performance. He has mentored men and women who are excelling in different fields of human endeavours. In the history of Zenith Bank, no one, I dare say, apart from the legendary Ada Umeji, grew faster than my humble self. I have mentored men who are excelling in different fields of human endeavour. I therefore urge my friends here to be rational, firm and have the boldness and courage to make informed decisions, not emotional decisions”-Shetima.
But informed and unemotional decisions cannot be made by people who put what you wear over and above what you bear. In our rush to ridicule someone, we sometimes forget the meaning of intelligence, which rests around one’s ability to acquire and apply knowledge with skills, the kind of skill Shetima used at the conference. Shetima had shown skills at the show, and quietened down the mouth of those who failed to mentor people, but move around with the stereotype mentality of, what you wear is necessarily what you bear.
In his response to the Shetima show of skills, Femi Fani Kayode lambasted the ignorance of the traducers, saying, “instead of Nigerians recognizing the vice-presidential candidate’s brilliance, intellect, eloquence, and knowledge delivery, they were busy talking about his suit, tie, and shoe”.
On his part, Yul Chibuike Daniel Edochie, popularly known as Yul Edochie, a Nigerian actor, wrote, “Nigerians & misplaced priorities. They’ll never trend important issues, only frivolities. Who cares about Shettima’s dressing? If the next President of Nigeria can fix the country, secure it and make Nigeria work. He can be wearing only boxers and a singlet to work. Who cares?”
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