By: Inuwa Bwala
It is no longer news, that, Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum has bagged yet another award, this time from far away Niger Republic.
He was decorated with the National medal of the country’s “De Grand Officer Dans’l Odre”, the equivalance of Nigeria’s Grand Commander Of The Order of the Niger, GCON. And was decorated by President Muhammad Bazoum of Niger.
While this is reserved for Vice Presidents, Senate Presidents, Speakers of the House of Representatives and the Chief Judge of the Federation, here in Nigeria, President Bazoum of Niger felt Zulum deserves the medal from his own country, because of the Governor’s extra statemanlike disposition.
I did not hear about it, untill I listened to some young men discussing from the sidelines, during my sister’s funeral service, expressing their disappointments that Nigeria has failed to honour Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, only for such honour to come from a foreign land.
They were all agreed that, if ordinary Nigerians have their ways, they could have awarded Professor Zulum the highest award for leadership in the land.
I could not help agreeing with them, that, amongst the present crop of leaders, the Borno State helmsman stands out as one who has earned the admiration of Nigerians for his numerous exploits in meeting yearnings of his people.
Shortly after listening to the young men, I came across the post by the Deputy Governor, Umar Usman Kadafur, in which he explained why the Governor’s attainments could not be hidden from the scrutiny of foreign leaders.
He said, that, “bagging yet another Meritorious award from Niger Republic of Second Order National Honour “de Grand officer Dan’s I’ Ordre” which is the equivalance of the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger, GCON, was not only appropriate but timely.
Not long after, I came across another post, by the Secretary of the Borno Elders Forum, Bulama Mali Gubio, mni, also extolling the virtues of Governor Zulum and hailing the award from the President of Niger. And torrents of other posts followed from different quarters, including Nigerians in the diaspora.
Reading through the goodwill messages sent to the Governor, I had to cast away the mourning countenance and join fellow Nigerians in celebrating the man.
Long before he became the Governor and before this award, I have been an admirer of Professor Babagana Umara Zulum. He has been very pragmatic in leadership, honest in his dealings, brutally frank and straight forward, shrewd in politics and very generous with his own resources.
Testimonies of people he worked with have been endearing enough. And as commissioner in one of the buoyant ministries, he had no material things on display, as his achievements.
His emergence as Governor, remains the greatest things Senator Kashim Shettima did for the people of Borno state. Kashim’s foresight in that regards remains unrivaled anywhere in Nigeria.
It was not surprising that Governor Zulum hit the ground running in 2019 when he took over as Governor. The things he did, the developments he brought about and the hopes he bequeathed are stories for another day.
It remains an incontrovertible fact, that if anybody deserves honours in this country, Zulum will be amongst the first. It is left for President Muhammadu Buhari, to emulate his Nigerien counterpart in also honouring Professor Zulum.
I congratulate Professor Babagana Umara Zulum and wish him good health, long life and many more attainments.


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