Understanding Shettima’s Banter To Atiku, By Inuwa Bwala

THOSE who wrote the script and gave former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, as a reaction to an earlier banter, thrown at him by Vice President Kashim Shettima, were most uncharitable to him.

Whoever did it was also either being mischievous or lacking a sense of history in inter-tribal relations.

But before I recap the clarifications offered by others, I must state that Shettima had earlier, in the same reaction to the verdict of the Presidential Elections Petitions Court, extended hand of fellowship to both Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi.

I recall Shettima emphasize that the time of political antagonism is gone and the task ahead of both the winners and losers is to close ranks and work for the unity and progress of Nigeria.

Shettima made the call in a sober mood. And I know that the Vice President is too intelligent to almost immediately contradict himself, in the misinterpreted banter.

While not denying the later remarks made, which was obviously intended as a banter, one needs to first understand the context within which that remark was made.

The Kanuris: Kashim Shettima’s ethnic stock, and the Fulanis, to which Atiku Abubakar belongs, are historically known to be playmates.

At every occasion, including social or very serious official meets, the two ethnic groups throw banters at each other, often without any form of caution.

For those of us who grew up amongst the Kanuris and the Fulanis, we know that, none of them takes offence when such happens, rather, each one of them seeks avenues to throw back banters: mostly without any serious intent to impugn or injure each other’s integrity.

The above situation often plays out between the Babur/Bura, my own ethnic group, and the Kakare of Potiskum in Yobe state.

As a matter of fact, the types of banters often exchanged between these groups and many others, I have not mentioned, defy limits. It is considered a vital aspect of inter tribal identity and relationship.

Atiku Abubakar, whom Kashim Shettima has acknowledged as a statesman and whom he holds in high esteem, should not have read the banter upside down to warrant the type of response he issued
Be that as it may, managers of our leaders should refrain from stirring the minds of their principals by trying to inflame passions over harmless remarks like Shettima’s banter to Atiku.

I know Shettima to always share jokes with Fulanis wherever he meets them, and they always understand him to be their tribal playmate.I have heard Shettima and Atiku to also share some jokes.

I think we should refrain from being too desperate in trying to grab headlines, even when the situation does not qualify as one. End