Babagana Zulum, a professor and the governor of Borno State said on Monday that the management of TELL Communications Ltd “ambushed” him with a special award recognising his services to the people of the state as well as his outstanding quality as a governor within a period of about one year in office.
He made the statement at the Multipurpose Hall, Government House in Maiduguri during the presentation of the TELL Special award of “Governor of the Year for Courage in Leadership”. The award was presented by Mr. Nosa Igiebor, president and editor-in-chief of the media company. The governor described the honour as an ambush, because Mr. Igiebor, accompanied by Dejo Oyawale, the chief operating officer of the company and Wola Adeyemo, executive editor, publications arrived Maiduguri on Sunday to present the award, without prior notice to the governor.
The company had decided to take the award down to Maiduguri, convinced that the governor has shown exceptional courage in the discharge of his duty to the people of Borno state because in compliance with the rule of social distancing, it decided against holding an event for the presentation of awards, conscious of the fact that such would necessarily attract a crowd. So, aside from the special award presented to the Borno State governor, TELL Communications Ltd, notwithstanding the fact that there are other worthy persons who could have been given awards this year will not organise any award ceremony for the year 2020. This, according to Mr. Igiebor, was to prevent a situation where many people will be brought together in one location with the risk of spreading coronavirus.
TELL had undertook an investigation of the activities of the governor and his response to the protracted insecurity situation in the state and concluded that he was worthy of an award, though the prevailing situation in the country, and in fact the world over, does not encourage bringing a lot of people together for the purpose of presenting awards, as has been the practice. While other people may have been considered worthy of similar awards, Zulum stands out thus the decision to present the award at his base.
However, upon arrival in Maiduguri, Igiebor and his team discovered that there was an event slated for Monday morning that could be taken advantage of. It was the public presentation of a compendium (of media reports, editorials, and commentaries on Zulum as governor) and the swearing-in of a new chief of staff. The new Chief of staff is Isa Hussaini Marte, a professor of pharmacology. Marte succeeds Babagana Wakil, who died recently.