Professor Zulum A Beacon of Hope in the Nigeria Project -By Stephen Peter Okangla

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As a young and concern Nigerian, I am beginning to nurse doubt in the future of this great country that lies in West Africa. I am beginning to doubt the greatness of the so called giant of Africa in her products and output. For the past years I have arrived at the conclusion that the gloomy clouds that surrounds Nigeria is the architect of her sons and daughters. At some point in my deepest and troubled thought I ask myself rhetorically; what is wrong with Nigeria? What are the cause of our problems? What should we have done differently to salvage Nigeria out of this ugly situation? Why do we allow the strange man to drive us in his “strange wagon?” What happened to the fleet of cars and the fat bank account left for us by our innocent fathers? These and many more questions have rendered my heart desolate and sentenced me to deep thinking.


I cannot continue to feign ignorance after embarking on a voyage of discovery to learn from the gods the reason behind our doom. The reason for our sorry state is now not far-fetched because when you look around and see the numbers of Saints, Imams, Sheik and Prophets in our political milieu with no hope in sight you will discover that our problem is fundamental and hovers around us like a vulture. Even those we chants their songs and beat their drums in our farms, offices, markets, mosque, churches, community gatherings and christen “Messiah” turned out to be the very bones in our throats which is driving us irredeemably to the grave.

However, I reserve the pleasure and honour of discussing one man who have proven himself worthy of a marketable commodity and recently brought a great relief to my burden and deep thinking. To me that man is a special Nigerian, to others he is a different specie who has come to teach us what leadership and humanity entails. He is the man who in a very short time of leadership, has become a beacon of hope and the light which has eluded us for decades in this part of Africa.

Anytime I read through the news with my phone and I come across the name Zulum I quickly scroll to locate and read the content because I know something good and inspiring lies beneath.  I must tell it to the world that the little stay of Zulum in Government House has brought respite and a renewed hope to the people of his state and the entire Nigerians including me who believe so much is capacity and sagacity in handling herculean task. With Zulum in office the journey has been a movement from one level of monumental success to another phase of unprecedented project. The latest out of the innumerable strides of his was the release of over twenty two million naira for payment of scholarship to seventy five indigent Borno State law students in various Law school campuses across the country. It may interest you to know that the last time such magnitude of attention was paid to legal education in the state has escape the heart of man. One fact that pricks my heart and let tears drop from my eyes is the Governor’s faithfulness and sincerity in managing the meagre resources of the state in the face of massive security challenges that threatens the state. I therefore submit that if there is one man we should celebrate and sing his praise in Nigeria, it should be Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum the Governor of Borno state.

Furthermore, another thing that rekindles the hope and faith in me and which has succeeded in burying the frustration in me is the rate in which other Governors from the North Eastern Zone are fast emulating the qualities of Zulum. Only recently it was reported that Ahmadu Fintiri the Governor of Adamawa state awarded scholarship to Adamawa indigent students at law school to the tune of N400, 000.00 each to cushion the hardship and aid their academic performance. Similarly, early this year the news flood the University of Maiduguri Campus that Gov. Fintiri provided free mobility to indigent students at UNIMAID escorted by the military and also provided feeding monies to the students, this is the kind of leadership we must nurture and sustain in Nigeria.

I must not forget in a hurry the strides and achievements recorded in Yobe state by the workaholic Governor Mai Mala Buni. His sponsorship of primary and university education in Yobe state is par excellence and enviable. His support for indigent students of Yobe state is massive, the side that interest me the most is his promise of Jobs for all the law school students. This left me wandering in my thought if Yobe state is truly in Nigeria? He has not only done these but have also sponsored indigent students to pursue various career in science and technology in the Europe. These is in fact a pinch of their numerous strides and achievements in repositioning and stabilizing the economy of their state as well as the education sector. I must confess, the deeds of these Governors is the kind of governance we have been yearning for in Nigeria at large and I owe nobody apology for saying it!

In continuation, let everyone know that what informed this paper is the light that have shine on us through the combine effect of good governance of a conscious, upright and dedicated governor. My stay in Borno state has conceive in me a new hope and life for Nigeria. If a governor in an insurgents ridden state can achieve such massive developments in infrastructure, education and social welfare in his few years of leadership, then no governor in Nigeria is excusable for failure! On what basis will you challenge this piece? If you say my article is born out of sentiment, are my not an Idoma from Benue state? And Governor Zulum a kanuri from Borno state? Are my not a Christian and prof. Zulum a Muslim? This is the fact and must not be swept under the carpet! Indeed Zulum is a city built on a hill which cannot be hidden, his pragmatic and God fearing style of leadership which now serve as a reference point for North Eastern governors is what has quicken my spirit and hope in this country. It should emulated, bought and hold high by Governors from other geo political zones in Nigeria. With the like of Zulum in corridors of power the provisions of Section 14 (1) (2) (b) and Section 18 (1) (2) (3) (a) (b) (c) and (d) of the Constitution Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended is obtainable and practicable in Nigeria.



I have written at length and time is ripe for my pen to take a nap. However, before I do that let me borrow the words of my father and mentor PLO Lumumba who has made his point clear on the crusade to repositioning Africa in several of his symposia and lectures. He said “it used to be said that we should out of the box, I am submitting to us that time has come that we must think without the box, we must throw away the box and begin thinking because we do not who brought this box that we are being taught to think outside of” I am therefore submitting to us that the time is ripe for us to embrace the idea of thinking as if the box never existed in this part of Africa! In other words we must begin to do things differently, we must begin to do things that we liberate us completely! This is the only way we can become Zulum like. It is the only way and manner we could provide scholarship for our students, build good roads for our people, build market Market for our women, provide job for our teaming population and provide quality education for the poor masses. It is the only way we can unseat restiveness in the heart of our youth.

Let all chairmen seat up, let all law makers seat up, let all commissioners seat up, let all ministers seat up, let all governors seat up, let the president seat up today and be Zulum like. By so doing we will be able to immortalize ourselves in the heart of men as Zulum has done! Embracing the style of Zulum is the only way we can silent the drum of war and separation that has taken over our public space today! It is the only way we can unseat banditry, terrorism, kidnapping and other social vices which sit as Czar in our society today!


Stephen Peter Okangla writes from the University of Maiduguri. He can be reach via

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