Profesor Babagana Umara Zulum,mni fnse con.the executive Governor of Borno State the winner of the newspaper’s 2019/2020 Personality of the Year due to his concern for the people of Borno State by providing life-supporting interventions and also providing the required leadership qualities in the state that leave no stone unturned a quality that Nigeria needs at the national level. Borno, Nigeria’s second-largest state by landmass (70,898 square km) has been battered by Boko Haram insurgency since 2009. According to the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack, GCPEA, the Boko Haram jihadists were responsible for the destruction of 900 schools and many health facilities. They created a humanitarian crisis that threw over two million people into internally displaced persons,( IDP's) and abducted thousands of people, especially women and girls, including the famous Chibok schoolgirls. In addition to this enormous challenge, the coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19, that swept the world further compromised the people’s welfare.

Therefore, this has left the state government with no option other than to spend its mega resources on rehabilitating, reconstructing, and resettlement of the affected citizens while restarting and stimulating the economy through financial disbursements, grants, and awards. One of the programs was Borno Cares (BO-Cares), a domestication of the Federal Government’s NG-Cares aimed at minimizing COVID-19’s impact on the poor and vulnerable. N814 million was distributed to 9,154 beneficiaries in the micro, small, and medium enterprises scheme. His Excellency Governor Zulum explained that the scheme was meant to reduce youth restiveness and encourage people to work in cooperative groups for collective wealth creation and sharing. A total of 4,024 tricycle operators, 3,130 mobile phone repairers, and 2,000 tailors were among the fund’s recipients.

In the past three years, Zulum’s government has spent N4.2 billion in economic stimuli on various groups. Worthy of particular note was the implementation of the policy aimed at providing succor to the families of members of the Civilian Joint Task Force, CJTF, who lost their lives in protecting the people from Boko Haram attacks. His Excellency the people Governor has increased the N20,000 monthly stipend hitherto paid for the welfare of the 300 orphans to N30,000, while N300 million was released to cater for their education. The amount was approved for their scholarship from primary to university level over a period of five years. The mother or guardian of each orphan was given N50,000 and a bag of rice, along with bundles of clothing. His Excellency personally supervised the distribution of

some of these items himself.

The state government has also rehabilitated 300 health centers and constructed 64 new ones, as disclosed by the Commissioner of Health, Professor Mohammed Arab. “The sector,” said Arab, “was grounded to a halt, but we are now witnessing a total rehabilitation, reconstruction, and transformation by this administration with the support of our partners.” His excellency continued with his predecessor’s vision of building massive, befitting, and well-equipped mega schools —  primary and secondary schools that look like universities. From  2019, 24 of such schools, each capable of holding 1,500 pupils, have been completed, with 1,000 teachers recruited. Boko Haram had killed 176 teachers in Borno State.

The massive construction and rehabilitation of schools by the His excellency's government sends a message that Boko Haram’s sworn mission to kill Western education in the state has failed. Education has bounced back, bigger than ever.  Also, the steady flow of funds to the MSME sector is aimed at restoring the economic lives of the people to levels higher than they were before the insurgency. A caring government like Zulum’s is just what everyone in the state, including the returnee insurgents and the ones still in the bush, needs to abandon sect-inspired crimes against humanity and channel their energies into creating a better future that works for all.

Buoyed by Governor Zulum’s achievements so far, the Chairman of the Borno State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alh Ali  Bukar Dalori, showered encomiums on the governor in a recent public event. “We are proud of our Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, for his dedication to plight to the plight of Our people “ At least, this government has executed more than 300 people-oriented projects across the state.” Despite the ongoing campaign of terrorism by Boko Haram and ISWAP.

His excellency's extraordinary performance under pressure and his compassionate, personal-touch leadership style have resonated at the national level, such that his name featured prominently among the preferred choices of the Nigerian people from across the divides just before the presidential primaries of the APC. Zulum proactively ruled himself out of the race, as he had more pressing work still to do in Borno State. Eventually, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu won the primaries and picked Zulum’s predecessor, His excellency senator Kashim Shettima, as his running mate, based on his track record of performance as Governor of Borno State. True greatness begets greatness. Borno has been richly blessed in terms of producing great leaders since 2011.

Copied From Vanguard New January 27, 2023