By Yusuf Adamu
In the last one week, I have been receiving calls from friends and associates both within and outside the state. Some of these calls were even from Cameroon, Chad and Niger republic. Many of the callers wanted to know about the revolutionary act of governance being adopted by the Borno state governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum.
My response to some is that, Zulum is a grassroot personality, who never forgets where he is coming from. I told them, the governor, as an Engineer and Professor has humility governing his life. I told some that, he is a passionate personality and thus, runs Borno state with passion that is why his own style of leadership is uncommon looking at governance in other states across the country. I know that whatever I have to tell them may not have described the personality of the Borno state governor, because to my mind only a selfless personality with such power and authority would go down the level of the down trodden. We are seeing this for the first time in Borno and I think after he might have served the state for eight years, the man coming after him must tighten up to march his level of achievements going by what we are seeing on ground.
Recently, the governor was going round assessing the abandon industries and hotels of high class in the state. These industries, if put in proper use, Borno would have rose from the dust of poverty to a place of glory. We always say Borno will rise again, but how would the state rises if our once glorious hotels and industries remains in their continual calling since the time of the late Mohammed Goni of blessed memory.
I know that, at some point, some of these great assets try to roar back to live but suddenly went back into oblivion. That is why when the governor took steps to bring these hotels and industries back to live again, we look at his antecedent and the passion that drives him and we are certain that, this time it is going to be for good. I personally felt that, this is the time Borno is returning to its glorious past. My advice however, looking at the years of these industries, is that, the governor should ensure that, new technology is brought into play taking into consideration the years of some of the machines and their high consumption of power.
The Maiduguri International Hotel, which is also one of the state asset, the governor took assessment during his tour has been the pride of Borno until saboteurs help in putting it in its present state. In those days, this hotel is one of the highest revenue generation asset, however, it was poorly managed. This time around, the governor may want to involve some private partners, who are good in the management of such businesses for optimum profit. I believe this hotel along if managed very well, particularly with the numbers of INGOs in Borno can changed the tally in our revenue as a state.
While discussing with some stakeholders, I told them, the governor is a workaholic, who seemed to be working inline with his everyday briefing note. Some of the people working closely with him would tell you that, the governor hardly sleeps. I have observed that, he works almost 20 hours a day sometimes because while in the late hours you my be surprise to hear that, he is at some IDP camp trying to make those vulnerable people feels the presence of government. Just a week or so, he shocked everyone when he decided to move governance to Auno. This he is doing deliberately to give the people hope in the face of crises to put a sense in them that the government did not abandon them.
I called him, a welfare governor because unlike what is obtained in other states, where governors and civil servants or governors and their people are living a cat and dog like situation. Zulum has bought both the lives of the civil servants and ordinary people on the street. I was having some discussion with my wife yesterday, when she received an alert for the payment of May, 2020 salary. Her expression about the man-Zulum tells me, the governor has followership of people, who are speaking about him from their heart. This is when some governor are saying that, they do not know whether they will be able to pay salary for the month of May! I think, if Zulum with the lean resources for a state like Borno can perform like this, then other governors must learn to take some lessons from Borno.
There was no report that, ongoing projects in the state are coming to halt because the government is giving palliative or paying salary, and or doing some of the things other governors are giving excuses as to what is bringing quarrel with their workers or people because of failed campaign promises.
Zulum has remained street with his people and always seek their involvement in any decision government is taking on behalf of the people. I believe this is true governance. The roar about covid-19 pandemic, is like becoming a past tense in Borno since the governor unlock the lockdown. This was a decision he took with the people of Borno state and everyone fully represented. Other states are now keying in the steps of Borno, but without such a passion, nothing would have been done that was done.