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Borno: Zulum’s appointments of advisers and critical areas missing

Borno State Governor Babagana Umara Zulum recently appointed advisers to strengthen his government and improve service delivery. However, some critical areas were not covered, hence…

Borno State Governor Babagana Umara Zulum recently appointed advisers to strengthen his government and improve service delivery. However, some critical areas were not covered, hence the need to draw his attention to the following areas:

  1. Special adviser for petroleum resources was not addressed. Oil in the Lake Chad Basin has not been explored, despite being on the card for a very long time. The exploration was thwarted by the current security challenges. However, there is relative peace in the area now. With the security support, the exploration can commence. His Excellency should appoint a person that is familiar with the industry to fast-track the process. If the exploration had succeeded as planned, Borno would have long joined the list of oil states enjoying the 13 per cent deprivation.
  2. Special adviser on foreign direct investment. Borno State, being among the oldest states in the country, remains a relatively civil service state. Because of non-industrialisation, indigenous business men cannot do much without capable and useful partners to do business. Borno State has many minerals underground that are still untapped and industries are needed in the state to accelerate the development. Government should, as a deliberate policy, do what Mohammed Goni did as a governor from 1979-1983. Through government intervention, he established five key industries in the state, but unfortunately none is working today. The adviser, if appointed, should help to mobilise foreign investors to the state.
  3. Special adviser on foreign affairs. Recently, the activities of His Excellency have shown that the state government is engaging with the foreign governments, non-governmental organisations and others for assistance on the current security challenges in the state. The adviser will assist the government with professional advice and liaise between the state and federal governments.

Government should now focus on the state economy following His Excellency’s commendable resettlement and rehabilitation of internally displaced persons, infrastructural development and the strengthening of the local government council.

It should look at reforming the Borno tax code to raise the revenue which was only N3 billion in the first quarter of 2024.

Governor Zulum should look at the following areas:

  1. Introduction of inheritance tax in the state: The government should tax five per cent of inheritance. Many Muslim countries were doing this and may not affect the value of the inheritance. It should do this through its institutions responsible for sharing tax influence.
  2. The introduction of a special driving licence for Keke Napep to check the recklessness of the operators.
  3. The reintroduction of poll tax (Haraji): It is unclear why this tax was abandoned when it was doing well, with revenue accruing to the state and shared by the state, local government and emirate councils. Reintroducing it would help the government to gather native intelligence to help to checkmate the current security challenges.

The government should look into the overstretched facilities at the public hospitals and upgrade some of the existing primary healthcare centres to meet the large demands of the population, improving access to affordable health services in Maiduguri. Conservatively, due to the number of displaced persons and the growing population, the population of Maiduguri may reach seven to eight million.

Education is the key to development and Borno State needs a working education system. The government should replace the unqualified teachers still teaching in our primary school. Kashim Ibrahim College should remain for learning and training teachers in the state.

Very soon the governor would celebrate the first year in his second term. But as we move on, Borno people will be worrying over who will succeed a governor that has brought courage, transparency and accountability to governance.

Trust is earned and the governor has earned the trust of the people by demonstrating the capacity and political will to deliver projects and manage government resources. Even critics will acknowledge that the governor has passion for his job. In spite of the political divide, his critics and those exerting political pressure on him to satisfy their ego, he has continued to prioritise the people’s interest.

 

Mohammed Zannah, No. 33 Kinshasa Street,

Wuse Zone 6, Abuja, FCT

 

 

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