By Abdulkareem Haruna
The true definition of selfless leadership has recently been exemplified in its superlative form by the Governor of Borno state, Babagana Zulum.
The scene was at the Maiduguri International Airport. Governor Zulum was already booked for a flight to Abuja; and an injured military officer who was brought from the frontline was also booked to fly outside the state for treatment.
Before Governor Zulum’s arrival, the airliners, upon seeing the condition of the military officer, identified as Major Garba, denied him access to fly on their aircraft. Their excuse was that their rules prohibit them from flying a passenger in such critically ill conditions.
The gallant soldier had a serious bullet injury while battling with Boko Haram terrorists in Borno state, which required him to seek advanced medication outside the front line.
Major Garba, a gallant and fearless officer was to fly to Abuja for a session of surgical treatment.
But with the airliners denying him a boarding pass, Major Garba was left stranded and had to wait endlessly for a military flight that will arrive at the end of a time-wasting bureaucracy and clearance.
Still whirling in pain and anguish, Major Garba was however spotted by Governor Zulum who was on his way out of the state for an official function in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city.
The governor, in his usual mien as a selfless personality, did not ignore the soldier. He stopped by the wounded officer whom he noticed was writhing in pain.
While sympathising with the officer and thanking him for the sacrifices he and his colleagues are making for the state, Governor Zulum got to find out that Garba sustained bullet wounds while fighting Boko Haram insurgents in the Wajiroko frontline of Sambisa Forest in Damboa local government.
The governor also got to learn that the officer would not be travelling as planned because the airliners refused to carry him due to his illness condition.
Zulum was not happy that a wounded officer of the nation’s military who ought to be celebrated was left to pass through such physical and psychological pains.
Zulum had to intervene. And he did that by cancelling his trip with the commercial airline and immediately asking his aides to order a chattered flight that has room to fly the gallant officer.
“His intervention was instantaneous as it was far-reaching to save the life of the critically wounded Nigerian Army officer,” said Zagazola Makama, a popular analyst of the insurgency in the Lake Chad basin.
The Humanitarian Times learnt that the governor also accompanied the wounded soldier on the flight to Abuja and also gave substantial support for his medical treatment.
Analysts have, in reaction to the governor’s uncommon support for troops, noted that such magnanimity from the governor remains his main signature “support and concern for troops of Operation Hadin Kai (OPHK).
The Humanitarian Times is publishing this report because the gesture of the governor is in line with its humanitarian niche.
“It was important to publish because sources within the military in the northeast have confirmed to journalists that the Governor’s gesture has been hailed by several troops on the front lines who said they are even more motivated by such an altruistic show of kindness to fight on and save more lives.”, the editor said.