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Gov. Zulum has done it again! –


For the common man, surviving daily in a country currently going through the hardest of times; with an economic paradigm shaped by high food inflation which is traceable to searing insecurity, is no mean feat.

In fact, according to Prince Semiu Adeniran, the Statistician-General of the Federation and Chief Executive Officer, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Nigeria’s inflation rate increased from 19.64% in July 2022 to 23.12 % in August of this same year. That happens to be the highest since October 2005. But the bitter truth is that we cannot continue on this path to the perdition of excruciating, extreme poverty, while the rotten rich care little about our sufferings. Not at all!

Of significance is that at this trying period, when the attention of not a few of our crop of political leaders is on how to grab or retain power come 2023, one man stands head and shoulders above his peers, in making the desired difference. Not minding his high political profile, as a state governor, he has a heart of gold and has exhibited it through the common touch he has with the long-suffering citizens.

Interestingly, what adds to his pedigree in Nigeria’s effervescent spectrum of governance is the fact that he is doing so much against all odds; more so in one of the most challenged states in terms of insecurity in the country.

“Although I am the governor of Borno State today, I became the governor by coincidence and not the maneuvering, polishing, or vanishing of politics in the pursuit of a career. As I stand before you and as the year 2023 approaches, the challenge before us should not be who becomes elected as what, but who is qualified to be elected as what.”

-Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno state

Of course, one is talking about none other than the ever-responsive, ever-humble, affable and benevolent Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum of Borno State.

Given a situation when Nigerians are quick to criticize and castigate their political helmsmen for satiating their epicurean tastes at the expense of taking care of the people’s welfare, the focus here is to highlight Zulum’s noble and heart-stirring deeds. The aim is to serve as a template for good governance, for those coming up in 2023 to borrow some fresh leaves from. A few instances will do justice to this stance in line with the provision of Section 14(2)(b) of the 1999 constitution, as amended.

Only recently, Gov. Zulum donated N10 million and a house worth another N10 million in Kadau to the family members of the fallen commander of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), Babagana Tela, who was killed by the Boko Haram insurgents in June, 2022. In addition, while on a visit to the bereaved family in Bama, he also approved scholarships for the deceased’s children. Yet, the governor described “the gesture as ‘small reward’ for his contributions towards peace restoration in Bama, Borno and Nigeria at large”. What a rare species in the midst of the breed of hugely paid politicians we battle with.

Not done, the governor also donated money, food items and textile materials to 683 volunteers engaged in the counter-insurgency operation in the area. The CJTF happens to be a volunteer force, famous for using their local understanding of the tough insecurity terrain in Born o State to support the military in the fight against the insurgents.

It would also be recalled, that in mid-April, 2022, Zulum while on a trip to Monguno personally supervised the distribution of two hundred and seventy-five million Naira (N275m) alongside bags of food and textiles to 90,000 households that are internally displaced.

Read also: UN Habitat commends Abia’s efforts to realise master plan for the state

It is worthy of note also that the governor has sustained such humanitarian gestures over the past three years. These therefore, are part of “multi-faced efforts to increase the resilience of communities affected by Boko Haram attacks, supporting them with livelihoods as they gradually transit into farming, micro, small, and medium scale businesses in order to eventually cater for themselves”.

Indeed, such significant support made in cash has gone a long way, as an effective tool in fighting Boko Haram’s ability to recruit spies from the extremely poor and vulnerable communities. They have reportedly been offering some residents as low as N5,000 as financial incentives!

What also stands Zulum out in his intervention programs is his personal sacrifice of precious time, energy and money to positively impact on the people. For instance, he, alongside the Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Barr. Mohammed Tahir Monguno travelled by road from Maiduguri, passed the night in Mafa, his hometown, and arrived in Monguno the following morning to commence his humanitarian activities.

Beyond dealing with women throughout the day, Zulum began midnight supervision to reach 35,000 male heads of households who had waited anxiously in anticipation of his arrival. Good enough, he did not disappoint them. Each of the men was provided two big bags of rice and maize grits. During his late-night activities, the governor visited the general hospital to monitor healthcare services by medical personnel.

After interacting with the IDPs and returned refugees in Monguno, Governor Zulum personally supervised the distribution of wrappers, bags of sugar and N5,000 each to 55,000 women, making a total of N275 million.

It was also in Monguno, that the governor in the company of government officials inspected the construction of over 1,000 houses, rebuilding of existing homes, healthcare and water facilities, schools and markets. Among the government officials were the State’s Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement, Engr. Mustapha Gubio and Commissioners of Justice, Barr. Kaka Shehu Lawan. As the former Prime Minster of Great Britain, Winston Churchill rightly noted: “We make a living by what we get. But we make a life by what we give”.

Another report of his humanitarian intervention took place in early March, 2022 when Zulum slept in Dikwa, shared N120m, and food items to 40,000 households. What manner of man is this? Some concerned Nigerians have been asking the all-important question. Would Nigeria not be better off if most of the other state governors imbibed and exhibited his love for his people?

Which of the other state governors has displayed and strengthened such connecting chord with the vastly poor people they claim to lead? Few, I dare say. That reminds us of the admonition of Maya Angelou, the American popular poet and civil rights activist. She once confessed that: “I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver”.

My dear local government councilor, state governor, lawmaker and president what image comes to the people’s mind, immediately your name is mentioned in the public space? That is part of the branding principles in marketing any product to the consumer.

When that of Governor Zulum is called, he is and will always be perceived as the epitome of exemplary performance in government, not only in Bornu state but anywhere in the world today. He serves as the epitome of the servant-leader; with an uncommon milk of human kindness, the type that our late president, Alhaji Umar Yar’Ardua canvassed for.

Zulum will therefore, always stand tall on the good side of history, even centuries from now. And that is all because he has learnt to wear the poor people’s tattered shoes and feel where they pinch them most, to make amends. This rhymes with the inspiring words of Ben Carson that: “Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.”



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