Social media were awashed with explicit expressions of joy and fulfillment by millions of users; the entire Borno indigenes and those residents in the state, jumped, and chanted songs of joy as His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum was sworn in, on the 29th of May, 2019. Their joy knew no bounds, as they have so much faith in him, given that he has been tested and trusted in the proper management of men and materials in his previous public positions.
It is widely anticipated that his wealth of experience and laudable achievements as the then Rector of Ramat Polytechnic and pioneer Commissioner Ministry for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (RRR), would be brought to bear in the fight against the gory tales that marked the inglorious decade-long activities of Boko-Haram insurgency in the state. The good people of Borno State believe that with his unrivaled passion and concern for the plight of the common man, Borno State was about to witness tremendous shared prosperity in all its ramifications having Zulum as the Governor.
Aware of the high expectations on him and driven by the unquantifiable love he has for his people, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum,Mni, immediately after being sworn in, swung into action – a clear indication that he was in a hurry to take Borno State to a higher level of all-round development.
Usually, Governors in Nigeria upon completion of one year in office are assessed by the people based on their blueprints, policies and achievements, or are expected to give an account of their stewardship within the one year. While the good people of Borno State expected little or nothing in the areas of infrastructural and human capital development in Zulum’s one year in office, taking the state’s peculiar problem of Boko-Haram insurgency into account, Zulum wowed everyone with his unprecedented achievements, ranging from security beef-up to infrastructural and social/ human capital development within just one year in office. Considering the peculiar problem of insurgency in the state, Bornoans were wowed and consequently left bereft of speech in utter admiration of the Governor’s giant strides in all aspects of governance, whilst, meticulously revolving within the confines of his visionary, people-focused, articulated development agenda which he christened: 10-Pact Transformation Agenda.
How amazing! Within 365 days in office as the Chief Executive Officer of Borno state, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum undertook 375 projects, out of which 326 are physical projects with the remaining 49 as capital-intensive programs and policies. 375 projects in 365 days? An average of one project per day? Yes, Exactly! An unprecedentedly amazing achievement, right? That’s Governor Babagana Umara Zulum for you! A man popularly dubbed as “Governor Workaholic”.
The Academic Don turned politician has shown clearly that his administration places a premium on the security of its citizenry, as it has ebulliently made several sustained efforts in tackling security challenges in the state. With 300 patrol vehicles purchased and distributed to CJTF, Military and other sister agencies, the establishment of a security trust fund, the formation of the Rapid Security Response Team, special protection component for farmers tagged Agro-rangers, created, procured security gadgets to CJTF and the upward review of their allowances, visitations to high-risk security areas for citizens’ needs assessments, among many other efforts has shown how focused and determined Gov. Zulum is, on security matters.
Governor Zulum APC’s led administration outstanding achievements or exploits in the area of education within one year in office is breathtaking. It is on record that within the one year in office, 76 verifiable projects were undertaken across 21 LGAs. 49 projects are already completed with 27 still ongoing in the education sector of the state. Governor Zulum embarked on massive construction, rehabilitation, and renovations of hundreds of blocks of classrooms and offices in schools.
In furtherance of that, solar-driven boreholes with overhead tanks, properly equipped computer centres, sporting kits were provided to many, Libraries were renovated with a modern design one constructed to promote research and reading culture, and many other sought -after interventions, just to ensure an enabling environment for enhanced qualitative teaching and learning in the state. With his giant strides in the areas of education within the last one year, the Governor clearly demonstrated that he is not oblivious of the obvious fact that education is the key to scientific and technological advancement, the means to combat unemployment, and the foundation of social equity.
Apart from his giant strides in education which have left the good people of Borno State awestruck, the health sector has recorded huge transformation. The sector benefited 46 physical projects in 19 LGAs out of which 37 are newly built primary, comprehensive, and maternity healthcare centres with some few still ongoing. The Governor was aware of the unmitigated disaster dearth of equipment could pose to the people’s wellbeing and therefore, promptly procured several types of equipment of world-class standard and essential drugs for most of the healthcare centres in the state, among many others.
In the areas of Rural/ Urban Development, His Excellency, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum, also clearly showed his committed resolve to build Borno State of our dream, as he yet embarked on massive construction of over 6000 housing units, installed litany of electrification and transformers on notably rural Communities across the LGAs.
Governor Zulum’s led administration within one year in office embarked on the construction of a flyover bridge- a never-done-before project in Northeastern part of this country, rehabilitated and constructed several kilometers of road, with some still ongoing and declared state of emergency on potholes in the state.
Despite the Governor’s great achievements in many areas such as Health, Education, and Rural/ Urban Development, among many others, aware and concerned with the plights of the people of Borno State, Governor Zulum drilled hundreds of solar-powered boreholes, constructed and reconstructed several vocational centres or skills acquisition centres for job creation, undertook the construction of 53 municipal buildings in 12 LGAs with 34 successfully completed, in a view to speeding up the Governor’s civil authority restoration processes in the recaptured LGAs.
The Transport sector, in addition to the massive road construction projects, has witnessed remarkable improvements as Borno Express- the state-owned Transport company is witnessing rapid transformation, data capture for commercial vehicle users is ongoing, among many other reforms by the Zulum/Kadafur led administration.
Borno state still houses over two million IDPs forcefully chased out of their communities by Boko haram insurgents in camps and host communities with women and children been the most affected due to their vulnerabilities. Sadly, these vulnerable groups are usually being short-changed by some insensitive and stonyhearted individuals and groups who in the name of rendering humanitarian intervention divert food and non-food items meant for the displaced.
Concerned about this unfortunate situation, Governor Babagana Zulum who is also a humanitarian decided to get directly involved in coordination and supervision of distribution of food, clothes, and conditional cash to displaced persons in many communities across the local government areas of the state.
In the last one year, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum has personally supervised and distributed palliatives to hundreds of thousand individuals and families in fourteen local government areas. To address policy inconsistencies and lack of coordination in humanitarian response, Governor Zulum established Agency for Sustainable Development and Humanitarian Response with the mandate of coordinating activities of Non-Governmental Organisations, among many other interventions rendered in the area of humanitarian support and social protection.
One year down the line, Governor Zulum has traversed liberated as well as difficult-to-reach communities in almost all parts of the state to render humanitarian assistance while the IDPs catch a free glimpse of their august visitor, thrilled in a joyous mood full of hope that their agony and fear will soon be history.
The commerce and industry sector is the backbone of the economy and its development. Hence, state-owned companies such as BOPLAS, BOSCO, Borno wire, and nail industry have witnessed great transformation for enhanced services. This is in addition to the construction of a new modern market in Kwaya-kusar and market stalls in many LGAs.
Agriculture, ecology, and biodiversity were greatly considered as Firgi(Dry season) farming, installation of Rice mill Zabarmari, procurement and repair of modern farm implements, the establishment of woodlot plantation, construction of drainage systems to counter erosion and flooding, 2.7 million trees raised, and many others.
Little wonder, Governor Zulum wowed everyone within one year in office as he performed beyond expectations, against all odds.