Babagana Zulum is not afraid of Boko Haram terrorists
Professor Babagana Umara Zulum is an unusual leader. In a nation where leadership is scarce as far as steering the ship of state is concerned, Zulum has proven to be a star and achiever. He’s the governor of the troubled north-east state of Borno, where Boko Haram has held sway over the last decade, killing thousands of people.

Zulum was elected governor in 2019 and after he took the oath of office hit the ground running. Several local government areas of Borno have had their inhabitants displaced as a result of the activities of terrorists. Those that are not living in Internally Displaced People, IDP, camps in Maiduguri, the state capital, are living in other camps outside the state.

The governor had been working hard to secure the state for the return of the IDP. He has constantly been pressing the Federal Government and the military to aid his administration in bringing peace to Borno. His pressure on the military has often seen him clashing with the forces on ground in Borno. The welfare of his people is uppermost in his heart and has tried everything possible to deliver good governance to them. There was an instant the people were complaining about extortion of the populace by military personnel. Zulum uncharacteristically went out to see situation for himself and caught uniformed men in the act. The governor cried out to the whole nation and that problem was fixed. Today, the military know their place not to harass Borno inhabitants.

The Professor has been leveraging on Agriculture area which the state has comparative economic advantage to rally his people. A scheme to provide security for farmers was hatched early in his administration. That has paid off as most farmers have returned to the land. Zulum has been encouraging and resettling the IDPs in the various local government areas of the state.

In July this year he was attacked by Boko Haram who see him as a threat to their terrorist campaign in the state. Zulum was returning to the state capital from one of the local governments where he had been superintending over developmental issues when the terrorists attacked his convoy. Undaunted since that attack, the Professor of Engineering has intensified efforts at resettling his displaced people.

In one of his unusual act as governor, last year the governor was in one particular local government very early in the morning and visited a school where he met just a teacher that early in the morning, waiting for her students. The governor was surprised to meet this particular teacher that early at her duty post. Upon interrogation by the governor the woman it was learnt had been teaching in that school for 31 years. Zulum rewarded her commitment, dedication and sense of patriotism. Several infrastructural projects aimed at restarting the state have been floated by the governor.

In a highly unusual tactic, the Boko Haram faction suspected to be linked to the Islamic State (IS) group in September used a donkey strapped with explosives to ambush the convoy of the governor. The latest ambush came after Governor Babagana Zulum survived an attack by the terrorists while he was travelling to Baga Town, an area near Lake Chad.

His convoy was ambushed again on as he was returning to the state capital, Maiduguri, and this time militants putting a donkey on the road, one official said. When soldiers saw it, they shot at the animal. Explosives then went off and the terrorists immediately came out from their hide-out to open fire on the convoy. The governor had toured Baga town in preparation for the return of thousands of residents displaced by Boko Haram militants in 2014. The several threats to his life are more of catalyst to spur on Zulum rather than discourage him. It is therefore not surprising that he is loved by his people and resonate in the consciousness of the nation.