Muhammad Badaru Abubakar, the Executive Governor of Jigawa doesn’t need a new mention in the Nigerian political space.
Apart from being a governor, he was known for his successful role as the Chairman of the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative Implementation Committee.
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With grace, decorum and sense of humility, Badaru is able to handle the state’s politics, economy and social development with exceptional brilliance, thus, putting the state on the higher pedestals of progress in all facets of human endeavour.
The handling of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic by Governor Badaru is one area where his spectacular leadership qualities were noticed and appreciated by all and sundry.
After the official announcement of recording the first index case of COVID-19 in Nigeria by the federal government, Badaru’s administration started preparing against the pandemic expected surge across the country.
Before recording its first index case, the state government had already set up a fully functional isolation center, a mobile response team and a task force committee under the leadership of a versatile medical professional and the state Commissioner of Health Dr. Abba Zakar Umar, to work day and night as the government provides all the necessary support in order to curtail to the barest minimum or ideally, prevent the disease from entering the shores of Jigawa State.
Badaru also treated with exceptional courage and political statesmanship, the issue of the repatriated indigenous almajiris to the state by the same Kano State Government at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the highest sense of responsibility and humility expected from a religiously cum politically knowledgeable leader, he didn’t only receive with an open heart the ‘internally exported’ almajiris, but, equally extended to them all the necessary attention deserving of humans first, and as citizens.
They all received the highest form of clinical attention, provided with befitting clothes, feed the best meals, and camped in the best conducive environment and when the time comes for them to be handed over to their respective parents, food items and cash were distributed that could at least support them and their families, to adjust their new status.
While, Badaru imposed the strict use of the face masks and ensure full adherence to social distancing across the state as advised by professional regulators, a policy which he personally exemplify in all instances, at places of worship, meetings with stake-holders and during press briefings, the state didn’t witness a complete shut-down.
The government only applies lockdown in places where a suspected case is reported to enable it to trace contacts and as soon as sample (s) are returned negative, the lock-down is usually lifted and people allowed to conduct their daily search for livelihoods.
Right from the onset, Badaru’s administration didn’t take any chance against the disease for granted.
Unlike some states were financially buoyant individuals donated cash, buildings and equipment in order to support their states fight the pandemic, it took Jigawa a little push from the Federal Government palliatives and some assistance from like-minded indigenous individuals and other friends of the state like Alh. Aliko Dangote, and some corporate Organisations to develop a stronger zeal.
But, above all, it is the policies put in place by the State Government and its political will to curtail the spread of the pandemic in the state, which did the magic.
If calmness, maturity, sincerity of purpose, exceptional leadership traits, prudent management and utilization of public fund are a criteria to consider in electing and or selecting leaders to the top echelon of public office in Nigeria, then, it remains duty bound for the country’s power changers across national divide to beam their search light in the North-West towards this tested and trusted grassroots politician and people mobiliser come 2023. We pray, so it shall be.
Mustapha Rabo Ringim, Special Assistant, NGOs, Jigawa State Government.