Zulum: Of Valor, Camaraderie and Focus

On the 14th of January, 2020; in ‘Zulum: Protector of the North Eastern Realm’, I wrote “I stopped dancing, or rather stopped partying almost 10 years ago, right after school, but I must say that the trending video with soldiers stepping to the beats of a new vibe, dancing to the Zulum Zulum Zulum! beats — was too irresistible and I had to play it over and over, and step up to it! The soldiers’ rifles and AKs made good material as they held them with style, dancing to a most beautiful rhythm. It was both native African or afro-beats as they call it, and at the same time, a blend of the most wonderful hip-hop music and dance display.

Zulum is growing popular and fast! Youths all over the country, east and west, north and south; are all ecstatic about Zulum and the social media is awash and upbeat with GIFS, tweets, facebook posts, and WhatsApp messages. Zulum mania has caught up with young Nigerians and there seems to be a reckoning or mutual understanding — Zulum is the face of the future and the near perfect crusader for real change, and real-time purposeful leadership.

I had cause to write about former governor Kashim Shettima; two articles precisely, one on the 28th of April, 2019, on leadership newspapers titled; ‘Kashim, A War Time Master Builder, and the other on the 26th of May 2019, on the same newspaper, titled ‘Kashim: The War time master builder does it again’. Of course I lamented the irony that a fulani man like me, from Bauchi, an empire that defeated the herculean Shehu of Borno; was out in public, showering encomiums on a ‘kanuri’ man. But Kashim had outshined, outclassed and outperformed his contemporaries, who were governors of the various APC states, most especially the northern ones. I had to gulp it in and pronounce him a Master builder, despite the fulani/ kanuri banter.

I was baffled by the outcome of the Borno primaries of the APC that produced the de-facto successor, as obviously, whoever gets the ticket for the party’s gubernatorial candidate was surely clinching the seat as the next governor of Borno state. Little known Prof. Zulum, from nowhere, clinched the ticket and was chosen above more seasoned party men as well as veteran politicians who probably had life long ambitions to become governor, and had mapped out decades of road maps to the actualisation of their dreams. People better prepared for the most challenging political seat of leadership. Kashim knew Zulum who was a Prof. who sweated it out and earned all he has become. Prof. has now chiseled out every inch of how he is now the governor of the most prominent and vital state, having been the capital of the North eastern State of Borno, Bauchi and Gongola.

Zulum drove from Maiduguri to Lagos as a commercial driver, and worked his way up the academic cadre as a lecturer. Kashim saw what he saw and appointed him to work with him in his cabinet. Kashim was recently on tv, confessing that Zulum is every inch way better than him, jokingly saying that Zulum’s stature too is larger than Kashim’s.

There is no need for me to remind the reader of the viral video of Zulum, ‘raking’ at soldiers at a check point between Potiskum and Damaturu, chiding them over bribes. Zulum’s strides in combating political thuggery as the root cause of Boko Haram, has earned commendations from the UNDP (United Nation’s Development Programme). The UNDP is now replicating Zulum’s model of empowering 2,862 youths with 30,000 Naira each for six months. Zulum spent his night at an IDP camp to personally distribute blankets to 1675 families. Before now, he had sworn with the holy Qur’an and invoked God’s wrath on anyone, himself including, if they illegally or corruptibly took anything that belonged to the internally displaced persons.
Zulum has also appointed about 30 special advisers to his government. Zulum here, Zulum there, Zulum everywhere you go in naija!

It wasn’t of much wonder when various Presidential aspirants came asking for Zulum to be their VP nominee. His performance was outstanding in just the first few years of his service as Governor of Borno State. Zulum declined. Despite the very steady and persuasive moves by party stalwarts and Villa big wigs, along with other Northern governors, he refused to shift ground. His boss, Sen. Kashim Shettima was another hugely convincing candidate for the position. The VP nominee ‘brick bat’ and intrigues within the APC, called in Prof. Zulum’s hour of camaraderie and Valor. He just wouldn’t compete with his boss, Sen. Kashim who was his predecessor and benefactor. Kashim had put in more years as a governor, and 8 years made him the more experienced and steady hands for the job of being Tinubu’s Vice. Besides, we stand no chance having Zulum taken away from the messiah’s work he is doing in Borno. Borno needs him more than Nigeria needs him. I was opportuned to have Sen. Kashim, Prof. Zulum and Sen. Abu Kyari, at the latter’s residence. The respect Prof. Zulum had for Kashim and vice versa is just so endearing and enviable. In leadership schools, the two are worthy of emulation. They stand out almost totally alone on a pedestal of honor and integrity. I can’t wait to see how much ‘joy’ Sen. Kashim as Vice President Insha Allah, would bring the way of Prof. Zulum as a 2nd tern governor.

Tahir is Talban Bauchi.

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