In defence of Kashim Shettima: Do pictures always say a thousand words?


The terror suspect Tukur Mamu is an aide and a very close confidante of Sheik Ahmad Gumi. He is part of his inner circle and probably the closest person to him.

Both he and Gumi are associates of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the Waziri Adamawa and the presidential candidate of the opposition PDP.

This is a notoruous fact and a matter of public knowledge.

I say they are close to Atiku Abubakar NOT because they took pictures with him over the years.

Anyone can take pictures with anyone else and that ALONE does NOT necessarily mean that they are involved in an evil conspiracy or that one of them has any idea about the thoughts, intentions, plans, sinister moves or criminal and terrorist tendencies and activities of the orher.

You may be in a picture with a man or a woman and have no idea whether they are planning to poison or bomb you or if they are conspiring to rob you and deprive you of all that is yours.

This is common sense and basic logic.

As Shakespeare wrote,

“there is no art that knows the minds construction in the face”.

Only God knows what those that smile with us or take pictures with us or visit our homes really think and what they are planning.

Only God sees what is in their heart. You cannot hold a man guilty of the crimes of another simply because they appeared in a picture together.

And to hold then both guilty of a crime that only one of them committed is not only unjust and unreasonable but also a clear example of the pronouncement of guilt by association.

If you want to establish a strong link of criminality between two people you will need far more than just a picture of them together.

I submit that Atiku Abubakar on the one hand and Ahmad Gumi and Tukur Mamu on the other are close NOT merely because they took pictures together but because they have TRAVELLED together all over the country in private or chartered jets and there is clearly a strong bond of affection, understanding and trust between them.

I say they are close to Atiku Abubakar because they supported him and campaigned for him in the 2019 presidential election with every fiber of their being and they are supporting him, lobbying and campaigning for him again for the 2023 presidential election.

I say they are close to Atiku Abubakar because they are hardline and strong supporters and backers of the PDP, they have spent plenty of time with him over the last few years and they are in touch with him on a regular basis.

I say they are close to Atiku Abubakar because they are amongst those that insisted that he should run for the Presidency once again in 2023, clinch the presidential ticket of the PDP and thereby keep power in the North even though the party had zoned the position to the South and even though it has a Northern National Chairman.

I say they are close to Atiku Abubakar because they have a pathological hatred for and are in stiff opposition to President Muhammadu Buhari, the APC and the Federal Government and they are committed to ensuring that they are removed from power.

There can be no doubt that their relationship is deep and profound and this requires a thorough examination and clinical investigation by the security and intelligence agencies.

This is especially so given the fact that vast sums of cash, weapons, military equipment and ammunition were found in Mamu’s House during the course of a search by the DSS after his extradition from Egypt.

Is Atiku Abubakar funding them, are they funding him or are they funding each other with the proceeds and ill-gotten resources from terrorist activity including kidnapping?

These are legitimate questions which need to be answered.

I do not have the answers to these questions but I have every right to ask them given the circumstances.

The PDP-inspired and opposition-orchestrated disinformation campaign that is being peddled all over the social and traditional media alleging that Senator Kashim Shettima, the Vice Presidential candidate of the APC, is finanancing and funding the alleged activities of Gumi and Mamu simply because they took ONE picture together is not only absurd but also irresponsible and wicked.

After all the respected Dele Momodu, a former presidential aspirant in the PDP and a leading member of the party, also took pictures with Gumi and his team just a few weeks ago and paid them a courtsey call but no-one can legitimately argue that Momodu is financing terrorists based on that alone.

Again the father of the nation, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, also took pictures with Gumi and his team and even received them at his home in Abeokuta just a few months ago but that does not mean he knew about or participated in any of the terrorist activities that Mamu is being accused of and that many suspect Gumi of being involved in.

Again the fact that the former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, another member of the PDP, was seen in a picture with him in Atiku Abubakar’s private or chartered jet together with Uche Secundus, the former National Chairman of the PDP, and others does not mean either are in the knowledge of his or Mamu’s activities.

Finally the fact that Governor Nasir El Rufai, Gumi’s state Governor, appeared with him in several pictures does not in any way implicate or suggest that El Rufai is a terrorist or a sympathiser of terrorists.

Some have attempted to peddle the strange notion, false narrative and dangerous falsehood that anyone that appears in a picture with Mamu or his boss Gumi is a terrorist or a potential terrorist only if that person is Muslim.

In other words they believe that when a Christian appears in pictures with Gumi, Mamu or their associates he cannot be suspected of any guilt but when it is a Muslim he must be guilty.

They are alleging that any Muslim that appears in a picture with Gumi or Mamu is a terrorist sympathiser or a terrorist!

Does this make any sense?

Is it not a clear case of disingenuous, self-serving tomfoolery and unadulterated clap-trap?

Is it not a specious lie and a good example of infantile and puerile rubbish?

Is it not a crass display of subjective thinking, good old fashioned ignorance and religious bigotry?

Should we encourage or accept such incredulous, absurd and self-serving notions?

Are they not borne our of hate and Islamaphobia?

Should we tolerate such religious slurs and stereotyping and accept the absurd and utterly insulting suggestion that every Muslim is a terrorist or a potential terrorist?

Do Christians not commit crimes too and do they not indulge in acts of terror as well?

No-one, whether Christian or Muslim, can be legitimately accused of being a terrorist or helping and colluding with terrorists simply because they appeared in a picture with someone that is suspected, has been accused of or is being investigated for terrorism.

That is the bottom line.

You need far more than that before you can legitimately accuse a person of such grievous allegations which could cost them their lives or liberty at the worst and their reputation at the best.

Guilt by association has no place in the land of the enlightened, learned, civilised or free.

Outside of having respect for Gumi and his team and extending the usual courtesies that he extends to all clerics and men and women of God of all faiths all over the country, as far as I am aware, there is absolutely nothing special or profund about Kashim Shettima’s relationship with any of them.

He is not their intimate and close friend or their political associate and they do not fly all over the country together. Neither do they campaign for him.

If the PDP and their friends are looking for the financers of Mamu, Gumi and their associates, Atiku Abubakar would be a much better bet than Kashim Shettima or anyone else.

I am constrained to end with the following question: does a picture ALWAYS say a thousand words? The answer is a resounding ‘NO’.

Femi Fani-Kayode
Femi Fani-Kayode
Former Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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