Prof. Zulum: Crusader for national unity
While some of our leaders are lined up behind the forces that divide us, there are few political leaders who have lined up on the side of the forces that unite us.
One of the uncommon leaders on the side of national unity is the governor of Borno State, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, who has done more than anyone else in recent times to show that the unity of Nigeria is achievable!
Here is a governor who presides over a state that had been devastated by Boko Haram insurgency, but who is doing all within his capacity to bring hope to his people through development projects and personal example.
Last month, Governor Babagana Umara Zulum, swore in an Igbo man and Yoruba man as special advisers. The two – Chief Kesta Ogualili from Anambra State and Alhaji Yusuf Alao from Oyo State are among the 26 special advisers sworn in by the governor.
Ogualili, hails from Dunukofia local government area, while Alao is from Ogbomosho local government area of Oyo State.
Zulum had on January 9, 2020, appointed both men who as professionals, have lived in Borno State for many years and have been actively supporting the All Progressives Congress (APC).
This month, Zulum promoted an Igbo primary school teacher, Mrs. Obiagelli Mazi. It was widely reported that the Grade Level 12 class teacher, Mrs. Mazi, who had an encounter with Governor Zulum at 6: 30 am on Friday last week had been promoted to an assistant headmistress.
The executive chairman, Borno State Universal Education Board (SUBEB), Dr. Shettima Kullima, conveyed the promotion notice after his recommendation was approved by Zulum.
The governor had during an inspection at 6: 30 am on Friday to assess public institutions, encountered Mrs. Mazi who was already at work waiting for her pupils.
The indigene of Abia State has been teaching for 31 years. Zulum met her at Shehu Sanda Kyarimi 2 Primary School under Jere Local Government Education Authority.
Overwhelmed by her dedication, Zulum commended and rewarded her with a personal cash of N100, 000. He also directed the SUBEB chairman to review her position and recommend her promotion.
Twenty-four hours later, the chairman contacted the governor, recommending Obiagelli’ s promotion from a class teacher to an assistant headmistress.
He said though the woman was not a graduate, her 31 years teaching experience and commitment coupled with an executive order by the governor earned her the promotion.
Like what he did by visiting Shehu Kyarimi 2 Primary School to see things first hand, instead of relying on aides to give him secondhand information, the governor often makes himself available to oversee the distribution of relief materials to avoid diversion and shortchanging of beneficiaries by officials.
Recently he directly supervised the distribution of more than N200 million to about 50, 000 women displaced by Boko Haram. The women, now staying in Monguno town, were mostly from villages sacked by insurgents in Marte, Guzamala, Kukawa, Abadam and Nganzai local government areas, all in northern Borno on the shores of the Lake Chad.
Each of the women received a token of N5,000 and bags of variety of food and non-food items distributed across 17 official and unofficial IDP camps. Zulum, who was in Monguno for two days personally, coordinated the distribution of the cash, food and non-food items.
It is note-worthy that Governor Zulum slept in Munguno for two days. What an exemplary leadership!
Before arriving Monguno, Zulum had stopped over in Gajiram town, headquarters of Nganzai local government area where he assessed buildings set ablaze by the Boko Haram insurgents few weeks back.
The governor subsequently directed the State Commissioner of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement, Engineer Mustapha Gubio, to carry out renovation of the structures and ensure its completion within the next three months.
As a governor in the midst of Boko Haram insurgency and a leader committed to the security of his people, Zulum recently donated a total of 70 patrol vehicles to the Nigerian Army, Police, Civilian Joint Task Force and hunters to support the fight against insurgency in the state.
Zulum presented the vehicles at Shehu Palace in Maiduguri, where a rapid response squad was launched to combat terrorism and other criminal activities in the state.
The state government had donated a total of 160 patrol vehicles to volunteers and the security agencies in the state between June and September 2019.
The governor told the hunters and civilian JTF to use their own vehicles for patrol duties on the Maiduguri – Damboa Highway. The vehicles painted in military colours donated to the army were received by the Head of the military counterinsurgency in the North – East (Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole), Major General Olusegun Adeniyi.
Zulum said: “I have said a number of times that this administration will not hesitate to take any measures or make any sacrifice to ensure peace and ensure that calm returns to our state.
“As the chief security officer of Borno State, it is my constitutional and moral responsibility to do whatever I possibly can in trying to secure the lives of citizens and doing that, is the whole essence of government in the first place.”
Despite limited resources, Governor Zulum has continued to embark on housing, educational, health and poverty alleviation projects and programmes for the betterment of the lives of his people.
He has been working assiduously to ensure that the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) are rehabilitated and returned back to their communities as peace returns to the North East state.
The commitment of Zulum to the development of his people and his detribalized nature is worthy of emulation by other governors and indeed all Nigerians!
On this part, the governor of Niger State, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, has never ceased to impress since he was sworn into office on May 29, 2015.
He has never been shy of thinking and dreaming big for Niger State. His latest project is to create more jobs and empowerment in the state through the establishment of Niger State Silicon City.
According to reports, Governor Sani Bello and HRH Prince Naif bin Abdullah bin Saud Al – Saud of Saudi Arabia, are collaborating on the project for the economic and social development of Niger State.
Sani Bello is championing the creation of Digital Economy path by establishing Niger State Silicon City that will drive Education, Industry and Agriculture, and create thousands of jobs for the youths through an active partnership with Star Silicon Valley of Saudi Arabia which is anchored by Prince Naif bn Abdallah bn Abdulazeez Asaud.
Governor Bello during a recent meeting held at the palace of the Prince in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, concluded agreement towards achieving the desired goal of both job creation and stimulation of technology, a feat that will when concluded, be of immense benefit to the entire country.
Such Job creation should be top priority of every state government and Governor Sani Bello of Niger has set the ball rolling.
Governor Bello has also embarked on massive development of modern meat and milk production in consanguinity with the foremost European milk conglomerate!
This and the Silicon Valley project when concluded will transform the economy and finances of not just Niger State, but North Central as a whole!
These two governors give us hope in Nigeria and their progressive strides are worthy of emulation.