JUST IN: But for Nigeria’s Season of Popular Anger, VP Kashim Shettima Would Have Received a National Ovation

A poor quality but revealing picture of the performance

How great it would have been if Nigerians were in a happy mood rather than when they too have withdrawn clapping for a subsidy withdrawing regime.

Vice-president Kashim Shettima’s flawless performance at the United Nations Summit on Food Security in Rome would have been a major credit for the Presidency and celebrated as such….CONTINUE READING

It is simply impossible to watch it and not experience an overflow of admiration for his presentation skills. The diction and the content were in tandem and it was too organised for an off the cuff presentation. Although references to his boss followed the typically Nigerian style of doing it, it was not overdone.

As Intervention always say, when an issue is about Nigeria outside Nigeria, a pro-Nigerian stance takes precedence. So also this case. The achievement of his appearance at the occasion is that his eloquence overshadowed the content of his presentation which was a basically a defence of the variant of neoliberalism the Tinubu administration appear determined to pursue without first transforming the economy into a manufacturing one.

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The VP’s first diplomatic outing brought back memories of what the late Prof Nur Alkali said about him during a conversation. Shettima’s name came up for mention at the discussion session after a lengthy but cerebral interview he gave to Media Trust. That was shortly after or around the 2011 presidential election. Prof Alkali talked of how they sent Shettima to train as an Agricultural Economist in the US and how he (Shettima) had learnt beyond Agricultural Economics. Prof Nur Alkali would have been very happy to be alive to see the Agricultural Economist turned into VP of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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In a rhetorical world, eloquence is a crucial power resource. People like Shettima (and Yemi Osinbajo before him, particularly for those who listened to Osinbajo’s speech at a UN function on Tourism where he served an appetizer of ‘Buga’ and where his espousal of popular culture as an instrument for the materialisation of Nigeria is a classic in critical geopolitics) are needed for certain state assignments requiring such skills, in or out of government. Once the matter is outside the borders of Nigeria, any possessor of peculiar skills must be sought after. A state register of people with peculiar skills has become an imperative for materialising a country in a world in which managing abundance of competing narratives and texts has morphed into the heart of strategy. A country can be an oil producer, the largest economy here and there and all that but still be downgraded in reckoning for a smaller but discourse savvy country.

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It is in that context that Shettima’s performance is not a small thing, to fall back on Nigerian English. But for the season of popular anger across Nigeria, the Vice-president would have received a national ovation on return. It just remains puzzling why a regime would be prepared to simply de-legitimise itself too completely just because of a single policy no one else is in support of.

Intervention thanks the retired ambassador who posted the video on several WhatsApp platforms based on a Kenya digital studio recording of Shettima’s session….CONTINUE READING