By Abdullahi Adamu
His name rings a bell across the landscape of Borno State and Nigeria. Yet, many Nigerians have never met him face to face. Still, his strings of achievements anchored on people-oriented projects have made Governor Babagana Umara Zulum of Borno State a household name in the country, drawing ceaseless applause for him.
But he remains a very simple and unassuming man despite the strategic work he has been doing to change the face of Borno State and restore hope to a people traumatized by ceaseless attacks unleashed by the Boko Haram fighters. Zulum came to the scene when the morale of the people and their psyche had been battered by the evil elements who have continued to distract the polity. These terrorists still steal and destroy whatever is of good report and value to the citizenry.
If the governor had not been on the side of the people, he could have chosen to resign to fate and sit back to moan the atrocities being waged against the state and its people by Boko Haram. But he has refused to act and behave like a typical Nigerian politician who seeks self-gratification over the nation and people. Instead, Zulum has chosen to make a difference in the lives of his subjects and add value to them. The governor has chosen service over propaganda and quality and verifiable projects to add value to his people instead of propaganda which many of his contemporaries deploy as a survival strategy in governance.
The 50-year-old Agricultural engineer, who himself has tasted poverty and hardship, chose to embark on projects that directly impact the people’s lives. And the projects are many and widespread across the length and breadth of the state. They are verifiable and physical for even the blind to see, touch and feel their presence. The projects touch all aspects of development, with education topping the list apparently because the governor comes from the ivory tower, where he has made a mark as a professor of agricultural engineering.
The statistics speak for themselves: “On education, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum undertook 76 capital projects in one year. He created and built 21 primary, secondary and sub-tertiary schools in 13 local government areas. These include a new 60-classroom mega primary school at Njimtilo; 30-classroom mega school at Ajilari Cross, another at Abuja-Sheraton community; yet another in Askira.
“All of these were started and delivered within one year. Six additional new schools were delivered, while 11 are at various levels. Fifty-five existing schools were completed, reconstructed or rehabilitated and equipped across the state. Beyond infrastructure, Zulum regularly appears in schools unannounced. He takes teachers roll call to instil discipline and restore the glory of the public-school system in Borno State,” a report written about him captures boldly.
In health care delivery, the governor has also left an indelible mark within the short time he has spent in the state. “In his first year, Professor Babagana Zulum accorded greater priority to primary healthcare at the grassroots level. In that sector, Zulum undertook 46 projects, from which 37 new primary healthcare centres, PHCs, were established in 17 local government areas. Twelve of these new PHCs have been completed, while 25 are at various stages.
Zulum reconstructed two primary healthcare centres in Tungushe and Walama; and rehabilitated the state’s Psychiatric and Skin Disease hospitals. Zulum rehabilitated two hospitals in Rann and Lassa; and upgraded Biu General Hospital to a specialist level. The Umaru Shehu Specialist Hospital was also remodelled. Zulum also established and funded a Contributory Healthcare Scheme to increase access to quality and affordable healthcare services by the people of Borno State.”
The governor has also extended the area of security, agriculture, and infrastructure to alleviate the suffering of the people who have come under constant attacks by terrorists in the state. Governor Zulum has, through hard work, commitment and dedication to his people, emerged as a true servant/leader.
Abdullahi Adamu sent this article via email@example.com.