April 27, 2024

Governor Zulum is an oppressor

Borno state governor Babagana Zulum

Gov Zulum

By Abdul-Rahman Animasaun

When the headline “Governor Zulum is an Oppressor” boldly flashes before you, it is bound to stir curiosity and intrigue, much like how Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, the Governor of Borno State, has managed to captivate not just the people of Borno, but also the entire country.

The epithet “oppressor” may seem at odds with Governor Zulum’s reputation. Interestingly, Zulum’s name almost sounds like the Arabic word for “oppression,” yet the only “oppression” he evokes is the virtuous kind – one that challenges the status quo and inspires action among his counterparts leading various states in Nigeria.

The term “oppressor” was a street slang coined in Nigeria in the ’90s, meaning a person who had everything you wished or longed for: money, clout, style; someone whom everyone looked up to, a person who put all his or her peers in the shade.
Well, the good people of Borno have Governor Zulum to look up to. He’s got clout, he puts public funds to good use, he consistently delivers, and often outshines his peers.

Doesn’t that qualify him as an “oppressor”?

Nigerians can’t seem to get enough of Governor Zulum and the commendable work he’s doing in Borno.
Babajide Kolade-Otitoju said on the TVC NEWS programme, Journalists’ Hangout, “What Governor Zulum has done is what I expect his colleagues to do; this governor keeps setting the pace. Sometimes you ask yourself if he were a governor in another state, maybe in an oil-producing state, for example, what will he do? Because Borno State has had to face years and years of relentless Boko Haram insurgency. Many of the local governments, people can’t live in them. Most parts of the local governments. But you can see the Governor is determined to ease the pain of his people.”

People are angry and bitter, expressing their sentiments, especially on social media. This prompted Governor Zulum to urge people to stop comparing him with other governors and casting aspersions on them. He defended other governors, saying that there are different situations in each state, with its own peculiar problems.

Explaining his aggressive approach to developmental projects in Borno, Governor Zulum emphasized that it wasn’t about competition but rather about addressing the “unquantifiable challenges” the state faces.

Amid a landscape where some governors are entangled in politics of ego or pursue self-serving projects, Governor Zulum stands out for his unwavering commitment to serving the people of Borno with excellence.

The comparisons and people’s dissatisfaction with some governors are unlikely to cease anytime soon.

Borno state has long endured the menacing presence of Boko Haram insurgents, leaving behind destruction and despair. However, Governor Zulum has risen to the occasion, swiftly embarking on a mission of rehabilitation, reconstruction, and providing much-needed relief to the beleaguered residents of the state.

It’s old news, but still as refreshing as ever, that Governor Zulum spearheaded an impressive number of capital projects. Within his first 100 days, 120 projects were accomplished, followed by 356 in his debut year, and an ever-expanding count that surpassed 600 by his third year in office – and he shows no signs of stopping.

Governor Zulum’s relentless pursuit of progress and innovation has not gone unnoticed, earning him the distinguished ZIK PRIZE within a year of assuming office – a feat unprecedented among Nigerian governors.

The reverberations of his leadership resonate far beyond the borders of Borno state, setting a new benchmark for governance in Nigeria and prompting others in power to reevaluate their approach and priorities in serving their people.

Governor Zulum’s groundbreaking initiatives, such as the introduction of electric taxis to address transportation challenges post-subsidy removal, and stellar performance in primary healthcare, led to Borno State winning global recognition last year at the maiden Primary Healthcare Leadership Award organized by the Nigerian Governors Forum in conjunction with UNICEF, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Aliko Dangote Foundation, and the National Healthcare Development Agency.

The Governor’s visionary “Overview of Borno State’s 25-year Development Framework and 10-Year Strategic Transformation Plan” has attracted attention from foreign agencies and diaspora groups eager to collaborate and support the implementation of his transformative agenda in Borno state.

In an era where leadership is often debated and scrutinized, Governor Zulum’s stewardship stands as a beacon of hope and progress, illuminating a path for others to follow in reshaping the narrative of governance and development in Nigeria.
As the legacy of Governor Zulum continues to unfold, one thing remains certain – He ain’t done yet!.

•Abdul-Rahman is a UK-based consultant in Innovation in Government, Strategic Partnerships and International Cooperation.