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Unlike some past Nigerien leaders like former Prime Minister Mamane Oumarou or former President Tandja Mamadou, President Mohamed Bozoum didn’t descend from the Kanuri people or even by far related to any tribe from Nigeria. As a matter of fact, unlike what most people may think he isn’t even one of our distant cousins, as we all know Nigeria and Niger have commonalities both in language, culture and faith, and it is known that Borno and some part of north western Nigeria, particularly Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara, Jigawa and Yobe States have common borders with Niger and families do live in the two countries divided by the French and British colonialists.

It was also a known fact that the former president of Niger, Tandja Mamadou of blessed memory is Kanuri by tribe; a tribe that is predominantly present in Borno, Yobe, Jiagawa and some states in the northeast and northwest of Nigeria. President Bozoum isn’t at all connected to Nigeria in that context. However for him to have felt it courteous to extend his country’s second highest honour to another person who, by the way isn’t a president of a country and isn’t in anyway connected to any international business, is to say the least outstanding. President Bozoum honoured the Governor of Borno State Prof Babagana Umara Zulum mni with the second highest honour of his country; making Zulum the first non-Nigerien, serving or retired President of a country to receive such honour.

One may wonder why? Well the truth is not far fetched, when you do good, good things come your way and sometimes when you are giving your best you may not notice that other people elsewhere far away from you are watching you and taking account of whatever it is that you are doing, that’s the simplest answer I can give. This honour is a testimony, that what Prof Babagana Umara Zulum mni, is doing is indeed the right thing at the right time for the right reason.

His selfless sacrifices of ensuring the good people of Borno aren’t totally forgotten by history, made him stand out. His commitment to ensure that his people, at the very least are made to feel some sort of hope for survival, made the masses to have solace in the comfort of his leadership in the state. What Zulum is doing isn’t theatrics. It is clear and obvious; his zeal and his actions speak louder than anyone can hear. The issue of resettling people devastated by a decade long insurgency back to their roots, isn’t a child’s play by any standard. It requires a lot of commitment, courage and bravery. Above all, it takes a great deal of sacrifice and wisdom to achieve it.

Many may not be too privy to the happenings in the state, but for those who live in the areas mostly affected by the insurgency, they truly know what this great man is doing. It may sound plausible to some but in reality, what Zulum is doing in Borno State is highly commendable. The people in some rural areas have access to food items and some basic needs of life; though not entirely but a fresh breath of peace and tranquility has gradually started to surface, thanks to the relentless efforts made by Governor Zulum and his team.

I congratulate him, his cabinet and the good people of Borno and by extension the entire people of Nigeria for having their son receive such an honor from another country that’s also beleaguered by the same insurgency. Today, we all appreciate what good can do, and what leadership with sincerity of purpose can attain. Indeed, for the President of a foreign country to deem it fit to honour our leader with his country’s second highest honour, it shows that, the level of appreciation for the Governor’s hard work, sincerity, selflessness and leadership qualities is being felt not only from within, but also from afar. This should be considered amongst the greatest feats any son or daughter of Borno should celebrate.

I wish Governor Zulum well and thank President Bozoum of Niger for honouring him with such prestigious award.  My prayer is for this insurgency to end and by Allah, it shall end. The people of Nigeria and Niger will remain united under the commonwealth of brotherhood. Once again, congratulations to Governor Babagana Umara Zulum mni, on the award of “de Grand Officer Dans I`Ordre” from Niger Republic, which is the equivalent of the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger, GCON, in Nigeria’s ranking of national honours.

Engr. Muhammad Zarma writes from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.