Zulum: Protector of the North Eastern Realm
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 the most beautiful rhythm I have ever seen. 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 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, and tweets, and facebook posts, and WhatsApp messages. Zulum mania has caught up with young Nigerians and there seems to be a reckoning or mutual understanding that — 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. 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 and 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 was baffled by the outcome of the Borno primaries of the APC that produced the de-facto successor, as obviously, whoever got 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 or had mapped out decades of road maps to the actualisation of their dreams as governors. Kashim knew Zulum who was a Prof that had sweated out all he has become and chipped every inch of how he is now a governor of a most prominent state and a most 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!
A mentor had sent me a JPG of a young girl in her veil, with Zulum’s picture beside her, along with a caption in Hausa, saying, ‘wallahi I am from Bauchi state and I keep this picture of Zulum by my bed side, and all I want to do is migrate to Borno and meet him’. He was exchanging banter with me, driving home the point that Borno once again, have a star, a figure that is celebrated nationwide and soon enough, the world over. The UN is supporting him closely and all seems set to a different approach to curbing and curing the ‘sad-storm’ of Boko Haram.
Some highly zealous youths are even naming Zulum, the successor to Buhari. Some are calling Zulum the son of Buhari. In my state Bauchi, APC youths are all over social media, hailing him as against the Bauchi governor who is a PDP governor. Kashim was right all along and Nigeria now knows what Kashim had up his sleeves, In the courageous and irrepressible Zulum. The Borno state Governor, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum is a seasoned civil servant and was a lecturer at The University of Maiduguri, who rose to the rank of Dean and Professor, Faculty of Engineering. He later became the Rector of Ramat Polytechnic and subsequently appointed the Commissioner for Reconstruction Rehabilitation and Resettlement.
Zulum is a shining example of what purposeful leadership should be and what good governance represents. The pulse of the nation is spelling out that each and every governor should be a Zulum in his own domain. Other APC governors who have served from 2015 to date or prior, have been touted as VP alternatives, as the APC is poised to nominate or propose persons with a wealth of administrative experience, especially as ex-governors, to support whomever the Presidential candidate might be. Unfortunately, it might be a little too soon to call Zulum to the national stage. Borno needs Zulum right now, and in the immediate future. But the national stage of course need a Zulum, as a performance booster, to compare and contrast with the energy levels of the other governors, especially those of the North. The south has had great governors like Fashola of Lagos and Duke of Cross Rivers. For now — we the youths are merrily on Zulum time, dancing to them Zulum beats!