Vice-president Kashim Shettima has sparked outrage after he insulted his former classmate, Usman Oladipo, who he said was “languishing” in a “mediocre” bank, despite being the best-graduating student of their 1991 master’s degree program.
Mr Shettima made the derogatory remark on Friday at the 10th National Assembly retreat in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa-Ibom state, where he was trying to motivate the lawmakers to work for the country’s progress.
He said that he and the legislators were “the luckiest among Nigerians” and that they were “not better than our next-door neighbour”. He then cited the example of Mr Oladipo, who he claimed was his classmate from the University of Ibadan.
“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 said.
Mr Shettima did not name the bank where Mr Oladipo works, but his comment has been widely condemned as insensitive, disrespectful, and unbecoming of a vice president.
Many Nigerians have taken to social media to express their displeasure and disappointment with Mr Shettima’s statement, calling him arrogant, rude, and clueless.
Some have also questioned his academic credentials and achievements, wondering how he could belittle someone who had excelled in their studies.
Others have defended Mr Oladipo, saying that he should be proud of his career and that working in a bank is not a sign of failure or mediocrity.
Mr Shettima’s remark has also exposed his reputation as a politician who lacks tact and diplomacy in communicating his opinions without offending or demeaning others.
This is not the first time that Mr. Shettima has made controversial and crass remarks about his political colleagues and ordinary citizens.
Last year, during the APC presidential primary election campaign, he mocked his predecessor Yemi Osinbajo as “a nice man” who “should be selling popcorn, ice cream” as he was not presidential material.
He also insulted former Senate President Ahmad Lawan as a tomato trader who had no business running for president.
He later apologised for his remarks, but many Nigerians doubted his sincerity and sincerity.
At the retreat in Ikot-Ekpene, Mr Shettima urged the lawmakers to do their parts in making Nigeria work as a nation, saying that the country’s success was a win for the black race.
“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.
What is the reaction of Nigerians to Shettima’s remark?
The reaction of Nigerians to Shettima’s remark is mostly negative, as many people have criticized him for insulting his former classmate and demeaning his career. Some of the comments from Nigerians on social media are:
“Shettima is a disgrace to the office of the vice president. How can he mock someone who is working hard in a bank? Does he think everyone wants to be a politician?”
“Shettima should apologize to Oladipo and all Nigerians for his rude and insensitive comment. He has shown that he lacks respect and empathy for others.”
Shettima is just exposing his arrogance and ignorance. He does not know the value of education and banking. He should learn from Tinubu who is an economic wizard and a successful businessman.”
“Shettima is not fit to be a vice president. He is a divisive and clueless leader who does not care about the welfare of Nigerians. He should resign or be impeached.”
However, some Nigerians have also defended Shettima, saying that he was only trying to motivate the lawmakers and that his remark was taken out of context. Some of the comments from Nigerians on social media are:
“Shettima did not mean to insult Oladipo or any banker. He was just using him as an example to show that Nigeria needs more leaders who can handle security and economy.”
“Shettima is a brave and patriotic leader who has sacrificed a lot for Nigeria. He has fought against Boko Haram and corruption. He deserves our support and appreciation.”