Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State has been nominated by journalists in Imo State, through the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) for the union’s Distinguished Leadership Award.
This, according to a statement on Friday by the governor’s spokesman, Mallam Isa Gusau, is in recognition of his boss’s selfless and people-driven leadership.
He said the NUJ presented the nomination letter to the governor’s Senior Special Assistant on Media, Babasheikh Haruna, and the governor’s Special Adviser on Community Relations, Chief Kester Ogualili, who hails from Anambra State.
He said both were in Owerri, the Imo State capital on Friday to honour an invitation by the NUJ, ahead of the Union’s Summit planned for May 25.
The nomination letter, which was jointly signed by Imo Chairman of the NUJ, Chief Christopher Akaraonye, Secretary, Juliet Dim and the Summit’s Planning Committee Chairman, Emma Odibo, stated that a panel of journalists selected Zulum, after a thorough evaluation of leaders across the country.
The NUJ described Zulum as a selfless leader whose only interest is making lives better for his people.
Speaking after receiving the nomination, Senior Special Assistant on Media, Babasheikh Haruna and the Special Adviser on Community Relations, Chief Kester Ogualili, differently spoke on Zulum’s activities in Borno.
Haruna said: “Though we’ve been experiencing a lot of challenges, we are working hard to change the narrative in Borno State. As I am talking to you, a lot of transformation is taking place despite the crises.
“This has been overshadowed by what’s currently happening, but I assure you that it’s only a matter of time we will have these problems behind us.”
He noted that Zulum is currently grappling with the challenges of resettling the persons displaced by the insurgents in the state and expressed optimism that peace will return to the state.
Also speaking, the Special Adviser on Community Relations, Kester Ogualili, described Zulum as one of the most detribalised Nigerians, stressing that the Igbo community in Borno State is so proud that the honour was coming from the southeast.
He described Borno as a second home to them, adding that the Igbo community has enjoyed immense benefit from his days as the rector of Ramat Polytechnic.
He said: “We the Igbo community in Borno thought it heart-warming for you to have remembered our principal. We are at home in Borno. Zulum does not call us non-indigenes, but taxpayers. We live in Borno and that’s where we train our children. He is a true bridge builder and a certified nationalist.”
He added that Igbos’ relationship with him did not start as Governor but Ramat Polytechnic, saying there are many Igbo teachers.
“Igbo are doing well in Borno because they are not being marginalised. We have benefited from Borno’s entrepreneurship programme and during Christmas, he provided vehicles for us to go home and also parcel for widows in our communities.
No discrimination in admissions at Borno State University. Equal chance for everyone and no discriminatory fees” the adviser added.
NUJ’s Vice-Chairman, who chairs the Summit’s Planning Committee, while handing over the letter, said the council was proud to be associated with Zulum’s achievements in Borno, especially the fight against insurgency.