Special Adviser on Communications and Strategy to Kashim Shettima, outgoing governor of Borno State, Malam Isa Gusau, at the weekend said he plans take one year off for the purpose of mind refreshment and to rebuild his capacity through an academic pursuit.
Gusau revealed his future plans to a group of 13 journalists, led by former executive director at Newswatch and now an online publisher, Mr Femi Ige. The journaliss had organized and hosted Gusau to a Ramadan iftar in Abuja.
The journalist and public relations expert was responding to question posed by the journalists on his future after serving Governor Kashim Shettima since 2011.
Gusau revealed that he had already concluded arrangements to take one year off for the purpose completing an academic programme he started but had to abandon because of the demands of his office towards the 2019 general elections.
“The truth is that the last seven years and two months have been very demanding and eventful. There were so many experiences, some very good, some very bitter but that is what life is about. There were times I was receiving death threats from Boko haram that was between November 2012 and 2014. I had reported different instances to then director of the DSS when the insurgents called to issue death threats.
“They said I was the one promoting and defending an infidel government. I was always on TV and newspapers and most of the issues involved talking about the insurgents. There was a time even the Governor placed my movement under serious restriction in Maiduguri. I just kept the situation to myself and those in position to know. But I have also had beautiful experiences.
“I have had the privilege of visiting countries including those I didn’t have the opportunity of visiting in my journalism days. I have really enjoyed the Governor’s incredible support and love. I have enjoyed the support and kindness of many people. But I have also experienced different characters including having to manage someone who extremely likes and extremely hates me at the same time like what one sees in ‘house of cards’.
“I have worked with someone who seeks ideas all the time but who accuses me of dominance and maintained two faces of loyalty in my presence and evil behind me. This went on for 7 years. But then, there are people who also have their own negative impressions about me and they could be right. I have many shortcomings. I also recognize that in the corridor of power, being very close to the big Boss is enough to make some people hate you.
“So, when I hear people talk, I evaluate and pay attention to what they say that is true of my shortcomings and I make efforts to amend. There were times I used the strategy of being scarce just to get out of the way of people. Of course, No one is perfect. We must accommodate the shortcomings of one another. I have seen the sweet and sour sides of being deeply involved in politics especially ahead of the 2019 elections. But then, political intrigues aren’t new to me. Since campus days, I was very much involved in students politics and I have reported and analyzed politics for many years.
“All of these theoretical and practical experiences whether sweet or bitter are critical in the process of human and professional development. I am happy we ended up rebuilding our friendship with majority of political actors. Of course, some people may have hidden grudge but that is to be expected. The summary is that there are moments in life when one needs some time off anything at all, perhaps even for the purpose of going underground, get more skills to become more productive. I need at least one year off for self evaluation and reflection, for sanity management, for capacity building, for new education, new thinking and new strategies that could enable me face the future. Challenges and the demands of managing the media keep changing, one has to also acquire new knowledge, get new contacts, join new professional bodies that impact useful skills.
“Mr Femi here is aware that I got full scholarship for one year academic programme in the UK. Everything was to be paid for me from tuition to accommodation, maintenance allowances and even my flight tickets. Even though the programme was research based, I was required to attend classes in the UK from November, 2018 to March 2019. It would have been unreasonably selfish for me to do that at a period my boss, Governor Kashim Shettima was to lead his party and candidates for the 2019 election. I tried everything to negotiate and defer the scholarship, including getting half but it wasn’t possible. However, I was allowed to defer the admission without the scholarship.
“So, Insha’Allah, I plan to use one year off to return to that school and focus seriously on that programme. The school I am going to already has the option I can combine schooling with lecturing. They have special interest in under Africans of less than 50 years old with some unique experiences in terms of communication in crisis environment, practice of journalism, being spokesperson whether in private or public sectors and with experiences in political communication.
“I am privileged to have combined all these experiences they want. That’s already an option. Then, there is an offer here in Nigeria, unfortunately I cannot discuss that out respect for the person who made that offer. The person didn’t authorize me to discuss it. However, I really need to take one year off to be in a different environment and study things from a distance. Insha’Allah, the future is bright, I hope and pray it is for all of us here. The important thing is to continually pray that Allah chooses for us, whatever is best. Sometimes, we may as humans, see something we love but which may not be the best. We may dislike something but which is actually good for us. Normally, I seek Allah’s guidance with intense prayers I do myself. I never insist on any opportunity at all because you may insist on something that could become extremely bad in the end. To me, ending well is far more important than whatever benefit someone may be looking at” Gusau said.
The spokesman thanked the group of journalists for hosting him and said he intends to sustain all his contacts in the media since as a member of the chartered institute of public relations, he (Gusau) has developed and still advancing a career in creative media, advertising and public relations which basically deal with the media.
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