Vice-president Kashim Shettima says the current lawmakers should count themselves among the luckiest and undeserving crop of Nigerians given that his former classmate, Usman Oladipo, who got awarded “the best-graduating student” of his 1991 masters degree programme was now “languishing” in a mediocre financial institution.
At the 10th National Assembly retreat in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa-Ibom state on Friday, Mr Shettima made the remark, cementing his reputation as a politician who lacks tact in communicating an opinion without denigrating others, even when they are not political adversaries or threats.
“We are the luckiest among Nigerians; we are not better than our next-door neighbour. Yesterday, I hosted my classmate from the University of Ibadan, the MSc class of 1991,” the vice-president said at the event.
In an attempt to make legislators understand the privilege of their positions and why they must work for the country’s progress, the vice president demeaned a former classmate and went as far as to divulge his identity.
“The best-graduating student in my class was Usman Oladipo. Oladipo is languishing as a DGM in one mediocre bank. He was the best-graduating student, and that goes to show that we are here not because we are the best of the best,” he added.
Peoples Gazette could not immediately ascertain the financial institution with which the purported Mr Oladipo is affiliated.
The unguarded utterances by the vice president has drawn heavy criticism and regarded as uncouth for Nigeria’s second citizen.
Mr Shettima’s condescending remarks have so far run afoul to his claims of finding power to be an “humbling” experience.
“Power is a gift from God. We are going to spend more of our lives outside power than in power. Power to me is a humbling experience. Power should be used for the good of the people,” Mr Shettima, who has a notorious history of denigrating political colleagues and ordinary citizens, said.
Last year, as campaigning intensified for the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential primary election, Mr Shettima flayed his predecessor Yemi Osinbajo as “a nice man” who “should be selling pop-corn, ice-cream” as he was not presidential material.
Additionally, he disparaged former Senate President Ahmad Lawan as a tomato trader who had no business running for president.
Although Mr Shettima later apologised for his crass remarks, many believed the apology was only an insincere afterthought following the heavy backlash from his party members and critics.
At the retreat in Ikot-Ekpene, Akwa-Ibom state, he urged the lawmakers to do their parts in making Nigeria work as a nation, given that the country’s progress was a win for the black folk.
“We are the representatives of our people, we are the representatives of the black men; that is the burden we carry. If Nigeria fails, the black man has failed, let us make Nigeria work,” he said.