Borno Governor, Zulum Dissolves Cabinet


Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, has approved the dissolution of the State Executive Council.

The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Usman Shuwa, announced the dissolution of the governor’s cabinet on Thursday, saying it was with immediate effect.

The announcement was contained in a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Administration and General Services, Danjuma Ali, and made available to reporters in Maiduguri, the state capital.

Governor Zulum, according to the statement, directed all the affected appointees to hand over the leadership to permanent secretaries in their respective ministries.

He explained that the dissolution was to create enabling environment for interested members of the council to legally participate in the forthcoming primaries and congresses of the All Progressive Congress (APC).

Zulum thanked the members of the executive council for their various contributions while they held offices and wished them the best in their future endeavours.

Zulum celebrates Shehu of Borno’s 13th anniversary

… Says Shehu’s modesty makes anniversary less celebrated

Governor Babagana Umara Zulum on Thursday led citizens to celebrate the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Al-Amin Elkanemi, as he marked 13th year on the throne, since March 2009.

In a statement by his spokesman, Malam Isa Gusau, the Governor said the humility and modesty of the Shehu has made his anniversary to be less noticed and less celebrated across the country.

“It is with so much pride and a cherished honour, that I, on behalf of Government and the good people of Borno State, celebrate our royal father, His eminence the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Al-Amin Elkanemi, CFR, on his 13th resilient year on the exalted throne of the Borno emirate, since he ascended the throne in March 2009.

I have observed over time, that the Shehu’s anniversary has largely been less celebrated in comparison with other traditional institutions nationwide. This, to my mind, is because of the Shehu’s modesty and humility.

The Shehu, I think, ought to be celebrated much more, because unlike us holding public offices on temporary basis of few years, the Shehu’s office is the permanent symbol of Borno and that symbol should be our pride as sons and daughters of Borno. Individually and institutionally, we, on annual basis, place goodwill messages in the media, to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries of other eminent personalities.

We should do more and do so deliberately, in celebrating the Shehu of Borno, more so that the Shehu has with his resilience in the face of our challenges, proved to be a true leader, one that stays with his people at all moments – good or bad.

I celebrate the Shehu today and always, and I pray that Allah continues to strengthen him in sound health, in his abiding faith, in wisdom and selfless leadership. Aamin” Zulum said, as quoted by Malam Isa Gusau.

Of Zulum And The Ex- Political Thugs

By: Inuwa Bwala

For over 20 years, lack of deliberate investment in the youths have compelled mist of them to seek for means of survival. The luckier ones had found their ways out, while the less lucky ones have become easy tools for recruitment into crime or political thuggery.
By whatever name they were known, thuggery has been their stock in trade. Manipulating them as cannon fodders or using them as shields against rival thugs was a vougue amongst politicians in Borno state.
Most politicians had their private thugs, who accompany them virtually every where: facilitating their passages at public functions or intimidating perceived opponents. Those who were not attached to particular politicians were always available for hire.
Infact, politics became the habitation for jobless youths, most of whom lack skills to be gainfully self employed or hired by the Government or the private sector.
At a point, the fear of political thugs who could embarrass any public officer at occasions or go after perceived political foes of their paymasters was the begging of wisdom.
Rightly or wrongly, there was a narrative on the genesis of Boko Haram, to the effect that, greater number of the foot soldiers metamorphosed from political thugs, popularly known in Borno as ECOMOG.
Before the advent of this administration and to a large extent the previous one, political thugs or ECOMOG as they were known held the government to a ransom, whereby political office holder pay royalties to remain safe or move about unhindered.
It was perhaps the most pleasing piece of news to most public officers, when Governor Babagana Umara Zulum announced his administration’s zero tolerance for thuggery and political violence.
Going ahead to mop up the 200 youths from the streets of Maiduguri and Jere and engaging them as trainees for various skills was however a masterstrock.
The climax of it all was the provision of start up capitals, ranging from half a million Naira to two million Naira for each one of them to start their own businesses.
For those who might have tested the nuisance of political thugs, taking 200 of them off the streets and putting them into productive ventures must have been the biggest relief thus far.
Seeing the faces of those I have known over the years as thugs or political urchins, I could not help commending the Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development in Borno State, Comrade Saina Buba, for painstakingly identifying each of the youths and bringing them forth, to reap from their over twenty years of aimless wandering and destructive misadventures.
Above all, Governor Babagana Umara Zulum may have found the antidote to youth restiveness and vulnerability to crime and criminality, by this singular move.
I stand to be corrected, by I believe Zulum’s initiative is the first in the region, aimed at bringing out Gold out of cast away brass.
With this development, youths from other areas have been given hopes that, they could still be useful to the society afterall: the only precondition is for them to renounce the old trade and embrace the new vision introduced by Professor Babagana Umara Zulum.

When Gov. Zulum And Senator Shettima Toured The Mine Fields

By: Inuwa Bwala

No matter the narrative others want to promote over the security situation in Borno, fact remains that relative peace has returned to areas hitherto vulnerable and inaccessible. Nowadays except for periodic encounters in the mop up exercises by the Military, the guns seem to be silent and life is returning to normal in most communities. Credit goes to the collaborative efforts of Governor Babagana Umara Zulum and the security operatives.
For citizens who have spent close to a decade as refugees or in IDP camps, nothing could be more pleasing than returning home, to pick their pieces and bits and enjoy the new air of freedom in their ancestral abodes.
Apparently realizing the need for the people to quickly settle and to further assuage fears of future displacement, Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, in company of his predecessor, now Senator representing Borno Central, Senator Kashim Shettima decided to undertake a tour of communities being resettled.
For Governor Zulum, he was on familiar terrain and is perhaps used to the adventure, of taking cover when attacked. Having survived so many attacks in past outings, one can safely say it was a repeat adventure.
For his predecessor, Senator Shettima, who was prevented from visiting the areas for long, on security advice, it must have been both exciting and daring outing. Although Shettima has often sent emissaries with messages of empathy and palliatives in the past, this visit brought him face to face with his people and the realities of their new lives back home.
Watchers of events at home held their breaths out of fear, that, the two most progressive leaders, whose combination gives hope to the people might be exposing themselves to danger; touring what could be termed the mine fields at the same time.
Although the tour was essentially to monitor the resettlement drive, and give hope, to people, that milk of human kindness, which flows commonly with Zulum and Shettima, compelled them to do extra ordinary things: embracing the people, hugging their babies and embracing the old and sick.
Witnesses confirmed that tears of joy were flowing freely and Zulum and Shettima displayed uncommon leadership, distributing cash, food items, household materials and other items personally. As they did that, they exchange pleasantries with the commoners, even as they embarked on what people called an emotional trip, listening to what the people have to say.
Giving hints about his experiences, Senator Shettima was quoted as saying that, joining his compatriot Zulum on that tour was one of his greatest moments, as it has further proven to him, that, his choice of Zulum as Governor has indeed exposed the potentials of a great leader in the Governor.
Beyond that, it has drawn him closer to his people since he left office and has opened his eyes to the true situation of life in the rebuilding and resettlement efforts if the Governor.
For greater part of the week, the duo if Zulum and Shettima seemed to have further solidified their bond of partnership with this joint outing, giving hope to the people of Borno that the future is indeed great.
Speaking to reporters in Gamboru Ngala during the outing, the people extolled the virtues exhibited by Governor Zulum and Kashim Shettima, even as some of them openly shed tears, when the two leaders departed the areas, saying they have never known that governance could seem so far away yet very close to the people as demonstrated.

Professor Zulum and his ‘empty seat of power’

By Isa Gusau

From the most part of March 2020 to date, I have observed that Borno’s governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, abandons the executive red chair, and desk in his main office at the Government House in Maiduguri.

So far, Prof has left that elegant ‘seat of power’ largely idled for nearly two years.

On Thursday, May 30, 2019, Professor Zulum, for the first time, sat on that powerful red seat, flanked by two Nigerian flags in the elegant office of the governor. He continued to sit on the same red seat whenever he was at his office.

Suddenly, around March 2020, the Professor began to neglect that red seat of power. But why?

By his nature, Professor Zulum is exceedingly a workaholic, an extraordinary goal-getter and he is very time-conscious. It is difficult to hold a 15-minute dialogue without Prof unconsciously talking about one project, programme or policy. The governor’s mind and office are always about work.

While Zulum was using the red chair, he often had to move back and forth between the cosy red seat and a green conference table surrounded by nine chairs at the centre of his office. He prefers to hold meetings on the conference table rather than surrounded around the red seat.

Ahead of every work day, Prof would line up a number of individuals or groups of persons he either invited or gave appointments. For each person or group, he would allocate time, and always conscious of the time he sets. When anyone arrives, Prof would start with a brief salutation and go straight to the point, aiming to conclude individual sessions within five to 10 minutes and offering slightly more time for groups, depending on the issue in focus. Severally, the governor would host commissioners with heads of establishments under their supervisions and technical officials relating to particular projects around the green conference table. Perhaps, because Prof is too time-conscious, the speed with which he hosts meetings and deals with all kinds of issues, makes it less necessary for him to shift from the green conference table back the red ‘seat of power’. With time, Prof unconsciously stopped alternating between the red ‘seat of power’ and the green conference table. It is now nearly two years since Professor Zulum has only been operating from that green conference table, at the expense of the red ‘seat of power’.

I beg your pardon, I think from March 2020 to date, Professor Zulum did sit on the red ‘seat of power’, about 10 to 15 times, and in most instances, he was video recorded for state-wide broadcasts in the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic back in 2020, ahead of the June 12 democracy days in 2020 and 2021, and over some serious issues of public concerns.

Aside those momentous occasions, the red ‘seat of power’ stayed empty. Prof continues to operate from the green conference table whenever he is at the office.

But is there a potential message in Professor Zulum’s‘ addiction’ to his office’s conference table rather than the red seat?

In her 2019 research article on the ‘psychology of conference tables’ published by Science of People.com, a behavioural scientist, Vanessa Van Edwards, infers that conference tables convey meanings of serious business and each seat, from that of the boss, to every seat around the conference table, conveysa particular meaning. She implies that anyone walking towards a conference table is bound to develop the mentality of becoming work-focused and less of sociality, which definitely fit into the very nature of Prof Zulum.

As a Professor, who writes and reads a lot of research articles, Zulum apparently realized that seating around a conference table, rather than on the red ‘seat of power’ sends a message to everyone coming into the governor’s office – it’s nothing but work.

Of course, Professor Zulum’s operation from a conference table does not mean that other governors and chief executives who use their official ‘seats of power’ are not dedicated or efficient. It is a matter of style! After all, Zulum himself is far more addicted to working in the field, an attribute from his engineering training, a professor at that discipline.

And as I once wrote, Zulum is an early riser. His work clock begins from 6 am and ends between 11 pm and 12midnight.

Most times, he would send invitations at night to assemble government officials who head organs of particular sectors, particularly education, healthcare and humanitarian services. The officials converge between 6am and 7am next day at the government house. Prof would then appear, often driving himself, to lead a small convoy of two or three private vehicles. At that point, officials who may have fallen short of meeting project targets after being funded may then start praying that the Prof does not visit their projects’ sites. Perhaps, the Prof, as a strict religious adherent, offers counter-prayers earlier at dawn before he sets out. So, he ends up heading straight to the sites that the officials do not want him to visit. Zulum detests poor performances and he rewards productivity so fast, and so well.

Regularly, Prof Zulum argues that keen monitoring and evaluation is one of the key enablers of the successes in private sectors when compared with public sectors. Zulum often cites that some workers earn more in public sectors but less dedicated compared to private workers with less pay, duelargely to strict monitoring and evaluation in private sectors.

In the meantime, Zulum had in his 2022 budget address, announced a critical plan to introduce a new system of effective monitoring and evaluation in Borno’s public institutions, starting with schools, hospitals and water services.

Certainly, Zulum’s regular monitoring keep heads of public institutions on their toes, especially when they know that the governor can show up at oddest hours. More so, Professor Zulum does not appear to enjoy relaxing in the office, a(subconscious) attitude that has left largely empty, the governor’s red ‘seat of power’.

Isa Gusau is a special adviser and spokesman to Governor Zulum.

Borno: In Zulum’s shoes, what else would you do?

By Isa Gusau – August 10, 2020.
 
Before reacting to that question-headline, please, take a little while to walk in the ‘shoes’ of Borno governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum.
 

A few persons have been writing to condemn what they perceive as Zulum’s political incorrectness. They refer to the governor’s expression of concern over ceaseless killings of the people he serves and swore to protect; and on gun shots directed at him and his convoy in Baga. “The governor plays to the gallery”, one of them wrote.
 
In my understanding, the problem of these critics is not the merit of Zulum’s concern, but that ‘he speaks in public to undermine the military.’ In other words, Zulum should only raise security issues at closed-door meetings.
 
Well, if my school mate, pastor Samuel were to respond to one of the articles, he would certainly employ a prayer-quote: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do [or write about Zulum].”
 
Anyway, here is what we know. It is a quick and chronicled background to being in Zulum’s ‘shoes’.
 
On Thursday, May 30, 2019, Zulum’s first activity as Governor, was a closed-door meeting in Maiduguri with the military’s top command, leading the fight against Boko Haram. Afterwards, he summoned a security meeting with traditional rulers.
 
On Friday, June 7, 2019, Zulum attended an expanded national security meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Villa. It was Zulum’s first. As expected, Boko Haram topped the presidential closed-door meeting.
 
On Wednesday, June 19, 2019, Zulum requested and met President Buhari for one-on-one closed-door meeting, during which the governor tabled issues on Boko Haram’s resurgence in Borno.
 
On Friday, August 23, 2019, in the wake of simultaneous killings by Boko Haram in Gubio, Magumeri and Konduga LGAs, Zulum returned to the presidential villa for a second one-on-one closed-door meeting with President Buhari. Zulum expressed reservations over the military’s new idea of concentrating troops in ‘super-camps’ rather than the operational strategies they used in gaining grounds back in 2016. The previous day, Thursday, August 22, Zulum had met the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, over the same issue.
 
On Wednesday, February 12, 2020, Zulum had private sessions with President Buhari in Maiduguri. The President had paid empathy visit to Borno, over Boko Haram’s massacre of 30 travellers at Auno.
 
On Thursday April 9, 2020, Zulum was back to the villa for another one-on-one closed-door meeting with President Buhari, to discuss implications of President Derby’s led Chadian onslaught on Boko Haram. Zulum was concerned that insurgents in Chadian territory were fleeing into Nigerian portion in the shores of Lake Chad.
 
On Monday, June 15, 2020 (an interval of five weeks) Zulum returned to the presidential villa for another one-on-one closed-door meeting with President Buhari. This time, Boko Haram attacked and massacred more than 80 villagers in Gubio.
 
In 15 months, Governor Zulum had at least five one-on-one closed-door meetings with Nigeria’s President, Commander-in-Chief, over security issues in Borno, and at least 20 private sessions with the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai. These were aside regular phone calls.
 
Zulum has held series of one-on-one meetings with other service chiefs, and the Minister of Defence.
 
Zulum has held hundreds of one-on-one meetings with successive theater commanders, GOCs, brigade commanders and other top military officers in charge of ‘Operation Lafiya Dole’, the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, and brigades across Borno.
 
In January 2020, Zulum had travelled to N’Djamena, Chad, for closed-door meetings with commanding officers at the headquarters of the Multinational Joint Task Force.
 
Zulum had declared an official day of statewide fasting and prayers (Monday, February 24, 2020) to seek divine intervention for the military’s peace building efforts to succeed. Muslims and Christians in Borno and beyond, responded to the governor’s call with a fast that Monday.
 
To match prayers with action, in barely 15 months, Zulum approved the procurement and deployment of almost 400 Toyota Hilux vehicles to the fight against Boko Haram. These vehicles are critical to the operations of the military, other security forces and volunteers in the fight against Boko Haram. The Borno State Government regularly supports these operational vehicles with fuel and maintenance.
 
Zulum also supports families of soldiers, especially those killed in combat. The governor makes it a habit to pay morale boosting visits and to offer welfare support to military formations in all his many humanitarian trips across the 27 local government areas in Borno.
 
Openly, Zulum pays tribute to gallant soldiers.
 
At the government house in Maiduguri, Zulum accords special treatment to military commanders and heads of other security establishments. With or without appointments, military heads walk to Zulum’s office anytime the need arises, and the governor suspends everything else. He attends to requests, often for ‘logistics’, brought by security heads, and he is particular about the military’s.
 
So much is the governor’s commitment that the Chief of Army Staff, Buratai, on Sunday, May 24, 2020, publicly described Zulum’s support for the military as being “immeasurable.”
 
Before the COAS, Nigeria’s Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd) said on Monday, December 16, 2019, that the Nigerian military was happy to have in Zulum, “a governor that is very versatile and dedicated in the operational activities of fighting Boko Haram.” Magashi also spoke in public.
 
Zulum’s commitment transcends the military.
 
In his first week as governor, Zulum increased the monthly allowances of thousands of volunteers in the Civilian JTF, hunters and vigilantes. Zulum re-equipped the volunteers and recruited more across all LGAs. He knows they critically support the military.
 
Zulum even created a rapid response squad, equipped with operational vehicles, and armed volunteers.
 
The governor also established a security trust fund, hosted a north-east strategy summit on security, and when invited, attends all security related programmes, in and outside Borno.
 
However, in the midst of all these strategic meetings, series of security interventions and politically-correct consultations, one thing remained unchanged – hundreds of people in Borno are continually massacred by Boko Haram and communities sacked. Gun shots were directed at the governor in Baga, where army commanders confirmed to Zulum, that there was no Boko Haram. So, who fired the shots: non-existent Boko Haram, soldiers, or ghosts?
 
Yet, abductions and videotaped executions continued.
 
Now, which leader, with undiluted conscience, would remain silent because of political-correctness? Who would speak for bereaved and displaced communities? Whose voice, above the governor’s, would loudly call for the decisive action needed in Borno?
 
In a nutshell, if in Zulum’s shoes, what else would you do?
 
Isa Gusau is Special Adviser on Public Relations and Strategy to Governor Babagana Umara Zulum of Borno State.