STILL basking in the euphoria of The Sun Most Supportive First Lady Award conferred on Hajia Nana Shettima, Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, has revealed that his wife was ready to die in 2014 when she visited Chibok village, shortly after the abduction of the still missing schoolgirls and when she returned to Maiduguri from Abuja against security reports.
The Sun Awards held at the Eko Convention Centre, Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos on Saturday, February 20, 2016. Among the dignitaries that attended were President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, governors, ministers, federal and states lawmakers, captains of industry and other professionals.
Among 19 people that were honoured together with Mrs. Shettima were former Lagos State Governor and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (Man of the Year); Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano (Governor of the Year); Mr. Yemi Adeola (Banker of the Year); Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu (Public Service Award) and Dr. Uche Ogah (Investor of the Year).
Speaking in reaction to The Sun Award bestowed on Mrs. Shettima, the governor told a moving story of how his wife defied all persuasions not to visit Chibok and to return to Maiduguri at a time when security threat to Borno State was high.
Governor Shettima, who couldn’t travel to Lagos for the award ceremony because he was to accompany President Muhammadu Buhari to Saudi Arabia that day, but represented by his deputy, Usman Mamman Durkwa, affirmed the selection made by The Sun, in a goodwill message he personally signed.
Talking about the decision of his wife to visit Chibok, soon after the April 14, 2014 abduction of over 200 schoolgirls at Government Secondary School, Chibok, the governor said: “Nana Shettima actually travelled to Chibok by road from Maiduguri at a time Boko Haram insurgents were burying mines on the road. Her bold decision makes her, so far, the only woman around the corridor of power who defied the fears of landmines to travel to Chibok by road at that time.”
Recalling how his wife elected to die with him, if need be, Governor Shettima said: “My wife’s decision to drive to Chibok at that dreadful time really surprised me, but what shocked me more was in September 2014. There was a point everyone thought Maiduguri, the seat of government, was about being overrun by Boko Haram. I was out of Nigeria when that fear was so intense. Some people around me said I must not return to Borno, but I made up my mind to return. I believed it was better for me to be killed serving my people than for Maiduguri and two million internally displaced citizens fall to Boko Haram with a coward governor abroad.
“I told my wife I was ready to face death. I left her on Thursday, September 4, in Abuja; it was a highly emotional moment for both of us. I told her to stay back in Abuja so she could, at least, take care of our children, if anything happened to me. We parted and I flew into Maiduguri. I made a state broadcast on Friday, September 5, 2014 and was moving round to raise the spirit of citizens. To my shock, my wife came into Maiduguri on Saturday, prepared to face whatever I was going to face. That was the extent of her support for me.
“At a time some women may look forward to inheriting fortunes from men in power, a woman who was ready to die for her husband couldn’t have deserved less than a prestigious award by The Sun Newspapers as being Nigeria’s Most Supportive First Lady.”