By Ambassador Usman Sarki
Doing things on time, according to high standards and with joy, is a scriptural admonishment that people in power should take to heart religiously. Time is a commodity that neither power nor riches can possess, therefore the fleeting moments granted in life to leaders should be used wisely and judiciously according to the scriptural tenets.
Counting the days and months has become habitual traits in mankind signalling our impatience to witness change and progress or the passing of calamities. A hundred days are moments that can be broken down into hours and seconds. They are in themselves mere statistics that represent the passage of time only.
However, in Professor Babagana Umara Zulum’s frenetic world of achievements, one hundred days are moments of activities and restless dedication to the rebuilding of a society shattered by insurgency and mindless criminality of Boko Haram in Borno State. Feverish activities and ceaseless work are the hallmarks of creativity and dedication to a cause.
The cause for Governor Babagana Umara Zulum, CON, FNSE, mni, is the reconstruction of Borno State and its rebirth from the ashes of Boko Haram’s malice and iconoclastic devastations. Building schools, hospitals, houses, overpasses, new roads, office blocks, vocational centres, and a variety of other edifices, is just a part of the tryst that Governor Zulum made with his destiny and that of the people of Borno state.
Completing the construction of an entire secondary school plus several primary institutions equipped with all necessary facilities within just three months, can only be possible with the knowledge of the limitations of time and opportunities. The magnitude of the overall accomplishments of Governor Zulum can be intimidating and mind boggling actually.
Consider the following statistics as an example. 624 primary healthcare centers (PHCs) that were destroyed by the blind malice of Boko Haram terrorists are being rebuilt with 350 already completed. One million uniforms have been produced for primary school pupils with 900,000 textbooks ready for distribution. Thirty new mega secondary schools have been built and 1,851 classrooms have been rehabilitated or reconstructed.
More than 531,000 textbooks have been procured for the state’s secondary schools with an additional 100,000 back-to-school kits procured for the students. Eighty-eight science laboratories have been built in twenty-two secondary schools while 200,000 sets of school furniture were provided for the students’ convenience. 4000 teachers for both primary and secondary schools have been interviewed, profiled and shortlisted for immediate employment.
Fifteen rural schools have been brought back to their original locations in different parts of the state. A significant reduction in the numbers of out-of-school children has been recorded in Borno State in the past four years and the numbers are expected to fall drastically in the next few years.
These facts may seem like the wisp of air blowing across the brow of the weary traveler. But they are the cold facts of what is going on in the corner of Nigeria called Borno State driven by the fastidiousness and indefatigable energy of Governor Babagana Umara Zulum.
Another hundred days God willing, might bring some prodigious performances to light particularly in the areas of qualitative human development. Building hospitals and schools and spreading such facilities across the state are necessary objectives that are driven not by haste, but by the consciousness of being behind time and trying to catch up with lost moments.
These achievements may seem looming large in these days of palliatives and quick fixes, but compared to the overall needs of Borno State, they are actually a drop in the river of necessity that Governor Zulum is trying to cross on time, according to standards and with particular joy.
Many indispensable projects call for the Governor’s attention, but only that many can be attended to within the time and resources that are available to the state. Selective attention therefore to projects that are deemed critical is important. Auditing the progress of work and ensuring the quality of execution are essential towards sustainable development in the state.
The roles and responsibilities of the Commissioners charged with projects should transcend their own individual limitations and encompass the wider vistas of shared vision within the government, as established by the Governor in his personal dedication to quality and standards.
I had the privilege to witness this when I accompanied the Governor and the Vice-President, His Excellency Kashim Shettima, GCON, to commission projects in Maiduguri, on 9th September, 2023. Within a matter of two hours, we made the rounds of completed projects notably a Community Secondary School and a Primary Health Care Centre at Shuwari II, another Community Secondary School at Alikaramti, a Day Secondary School at Gamboru Liberty at Ngwom and flagging-off of construction of the Jere Rice Bowl Road project on the outskirts of Maiduguri.
The aggregate of all these plus many more that have been executed already and others still on the drawing board, should translate into the stabilisation of Borno State and her emergence beyond conflict status. It is time to make sure that the new narrative of peace and sustainable development is told by a discerning public that is a witness to the transcendental changes that are taking place in Borno State under the watchful eye of Governor Babagana Umara Zulum.