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Gov Shettima needs support to retain his name in history – Dr Mohammed

Since the death of Alhaji Zannah Mustapha, the deputy governor of Borno State, over a month ago, there are agitations on who will step into…

Since the death of Alhaji Zannah Mustapha, the deputy governor of Borno State, over a month ago, there are agitations on who will step into his shoes from Southern Borno. Dr. Habu Mohammed, a one time newspaper editor and now a development consultant, and a conflict management specialist is among the people considered qualified for the post. Mohammed says leadership is all about welfare of people. Excerpt:
Your name has been mentioned among those who are considered qualified to succeed the late Borno State deputy governor. How do you feel?
I thank Almighty Allah that I have been found worthy of mention. Secondly, I am extremely humbled and enamored that following my very long association with my people, though modestly and quietly, they have attached a great deal of value to it. The massive outpours of support encourage me. I hope that God will make it possible for me to assist the governor to rebuild our dear state to an enviable height.
How would you make a difference if the governor picks you?
People should be the judges. However, I know that our people have high expectations from government and feel that leadership should be about service. It is about commitment to the welfare of our people. I am prepared to support the governor. Generally, the trend now is to get people who can do the job. That is why everybody feels that Nigeria is now working because it appears to everyone that there is a paradigm shift. Some of us symbolise this paradigm shift. With the situation we find ourselves in now, especially in Borno State, there is need for hard work and due diligence in carrying out one’s assignment.
Governor Shettima has been battling with Boko Haram insurgency. Late Zannah was seen as a great pillar through that trying moment. Would you be able to do what he did?
As a deputy governor, you are basically to assist your principal, the governor, to achieve or realise the goals he has set for himself as he steers the ship of the state. So, what is important is for one, as his deputy, to show loyalty and competence. Carry out tasks assigned to you by your boss diligently and with the fear of God, realising that at any time, you will be held to account. Our governor is a delight to work with because, we are aware he allowed his late deputy a chance to realise his potentials. For me, that is part of the attraction-to work under an educated and liberated mind. When you listen to the governor talk, you know he is broad. He reads widely. If he picks me, which I hope he does, I will be to him what Osinbajo is to president Buhari, a believer in his principles.
With the renewed effort of the Nigerian military, the expectation is that Boko Haram will soon be history.  If you are selected as deputy governor, how would you help attract resources from within and outside the country?
Well, we thank God that the end of the insurgency is in sight. I am also a victim of the insurgency. My house was burnt down when the insurgents attacked Biu, my home town. On the issue of coming up with measures to attract resources towards rebuilding the ravaged communities, I will propose that His Excellency widens the political space and taps from the wisdom and knowledge of so many committed and patriotic people from the state on the way forward. Before now, I have spoken severally about this concern at different fora. I will advise the governor to hold an enlarged stakeholders meeting, involving the academia, business community and other opinion leaders from all over the state, to rub minds and offer suggestions. Deriving from this, the state will be able to map out a comprehensive blueprint to attract donors, development partners and investors to come and assist. I will suggest we start with the people within the state to boost citizens’ confidence. After we would have given citizens deep sense of belonging, I will suggest that government embarks on sensitisation measures, both nationally and internationally, without prejudice, on the issue of insurgency in the North-east which has already gotten global attention. I will advise His Excellency to reach out to our development partners who are already convinced about the need to offer assistance. Incidentally, some of them have already expressed readiness to partner with the state on the way forward. You know, we have people of goodwill in this country. We equally have them outside the country. All the state needs to do is to create synergy to achieve this goal. I am positive that if the groundwork is done well, government shall be able attract reasonable resources towards rebuilding our communities.
How reliable would you be?
With all sense of humility, I can say that with the support of Almighty God, one should be able to cope with the demand of such an office. Having risen to become an editor in my journalism career, I am sure you know, more than anyone else, that we are used to working under intense pressure. And don’t forget I am doing my doctorate degree programme in political science at the University of Lagos.

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