All the social media busy-bodies who are sniping at APC presidential running mate Senator Kashim Shettima’s “dress code” when he represented Asiwaju Bola Tinubu at the Nigeria Bar Association’s [NBA] Annual Conference in Lagos on Monday, do you know what you are talking about?
Who told you that a suit must be unbuttoned when a man sits down? Many pictures have already emerged of powerful world leaders and top diplomats sitting at international gatherings with their suits well buttoned up. Haven’t you seen pictures of millionaire stock brokers walking Manhattan and City of London pavements in sneakers, on their way to the New York and London Stock Exchanges?
The other day when Facebook CEO Mack Zuckerberg came to visit some IT shops in Lagos, he walked down our streets in sweat shirts and sneakers. Why didn’t you tell him to go and button up his suit or change into cover shoes? You think he couldn’t afford one?
Since we are talking of NBA, which section of which law, which sub-section, which paragraph and which semi-column provided for the unbuttoning of a suit? If you say it is the “tradition,” is it every neo-colonial tradition that we must follow, even when the Whiteman’s country is very cold and your own here is very hot despite the air conditioning?
Are you saying that knowledge of the law evaporates from a man’s head if he wears a flowing gown or a native jumper? Kashim Shettima is a professional banker. He was wearing suits long before most of the people active on the social media today were born. Unlike lawyers who wear suits in order to impress old judges, bankers wear suits in order to impress corporate clients that the bank is solid and their money is safe.
If it is urbanity, are you more urbane that Kashim Shettima, who practiced banking for many years in Lagos, Kaduna, Maiduguri and Abuja? You who is probably a cashier in a community bank in some rural area, you think you know suits more than a General Manager of Zenith Bank?
Have you forgotten that before he went into banking, Kashim Shettima was an agricultural scientist, a university lecturer and an ASUU member? If he just wore a smart suit and went on strike for six months, will your elder brothers or even parents have graduated from the university and be admiring suits today?
The presidential candidates and running mate who were invited to address the NBA leaders, were the lawyers there to admire their suits or to listen to their plans and programs for Nigeria in the next four years, should they win the upcoming election?
The one million university students who have been at home for six months due to the ASUU strike, is it the rumpling of a suit you want to hear or is it a thoughtful program about how to get you back to class and end incessant ASUU strikes?
How will a suit, however smartly worn, protect us from terrorists, kidnappers, armed robbers, bandits and Yahoo boys? While we are busy admiring suits, bandits in sartorially worn clothes have made our lives unbearable.
All the men who are making Nigeria to grind on, from fuel tanker drivers to market women to subsistence farmers to oil rig operators to construction site labourers, have no use for suits and have never worn one. Go and tell them to cast their votes in the upcoming election based on buttoned-up suits, and you will admire the scorn in their faces.
We have had local government chairmen, commissioners, governors and ministers in this country who dressed in the most fashionable tuxedos and Gucci shoes and wore Giorgio Armanisuits and Rolex watches. What was the correlation between that and their performance in office? Most of it was inverse. All the men who have been wearing sharply pressed suits, smart neck ties, unbuttoning their jackets and wearing designer shoes instead of sneakers, why has Nigeria not prospered under their watch?
Finally, all the Founding Fathers of Nigeria who fought for and secured our national independence and under whom this country made all the initial progress that it did, which one of them wore a smartly pressed suit? If the Founding Fathers had stood in front of mirrors and spent all the time admiring their suits, would the Brits not still be ruling Nigeria as DOs, Residents and Governors by now?