Deputy Governor of Borno state, Umar Kadafur, was at the centre of a history-making event on Saturday as the nation rolled out drums to celebrate the 62nd independence day of Nigeria.
Mr Kadafur had, by sheer act of providence, stood as the representative of his boss, Governor Babagana Zulum, when the state moblized, for a first time, to mark the country’s independence day after over 12 years.
It is on record that following the emergence of the Boko Haram conflict, the state had not been able to celebrate the #independenceday due to fear of security breach by the non-state actors.
And for over a decade the people of Borno did not have a taste of what it feels like to gather and celebrate the #independenceday.
As the security in the state improves, the state government decided to make the 2022 edition of independence day a memorable event for the state.
The state deputy governor became a man of history on Saturday, for not only being the special guest of honour at the relaunched October 1 day, but he was also the first deputy governor of Borno to mount the ceremonial police van, usually reserved for Governors, as he rode on behalf of his boss, to inspect the colourful parade staged by the Nigeria police Borno state command.
“No deputy governor had ever mounted the ceremonial police van during a parade event like this in the democratic history of Borno state,” said a 70-year-old veteran journalist, Ibrahim-Gwamna Mshelizza.
Former Governor Ali Modu Sheriff was the last governor to mark independence day in 2008 when Nigeria clocked its 48th year of independence.
The deputy governor who represented his boss, Governor Babagana Zulum, who was out of the country, said the day was “worthy of celebration by all well-meaning Nigerians home and abroad.”
“This auspicious occasion could not hold in Borno State for quite some time, due to the peculiar security challenges bedevilling the State.”
“Notwithstanding, today’s celebration is indicative that peace is gradually returning to the State and the country at large, as a result of the successes recorded by the gallant troops of the Nigerian Military and other sister security agencies which steered the State Government to closed down all IDP camps in Maiduguri Metropolitan Council and Jere Local Government area as well as voluntary resettlement of many communities across the State.”
“It is evident that the administration of His Excellency, President Muhammad Buhari, GCFR, Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria has shown a strong commitment to the indivisibility of Nigeria and ensures that every citizen has access to freedom of life and basic social amenities.
“On this day and in the spirit of rededication, we renew our commitment to confronting the challenges of critical infrastructure destroyed by the decade long.Boko.Haram insurgency and explore avenues to create job opportunities for our teeming unemployed youths thereby minimizing the upsurge of social vices in the society.”
“We remain confident that with the massive investments we have made in the last three years in the expansion and strengthening of our resettlement and recovery effort, we shall succeed in our commitment to provide the dividend of democracy on a sustainable basis and attainment of our Policy Thrust.
“We must improve job creation, access to education, healthcare delivery services, security, and portable water supply for both human and animal consumption, among others. We can do these only in a climate of peace and security”, the governor further said.
“He enjoined all citizenry to remain united, live peacefully and shun all tendencies capable of plunging the nation into chaos and anarchy as the 2023 general elections are fast approaching and urged all to imbibe the spirit of patriotism and peaceful co-existence for a prosperous nation.
“We need to commit our hero’s past to reflect on the gains and lessons learnt over the years and face the challenges of our time. We must be evident in our character of selflessness and sense of responsibility that characterised the lives of our heroes. For the nation to actualise its corporate vision, there is a need for all citizens to appreciate the differences and diversity inherent in Nigeria., he stressed.
“Though the country is facing several daunting challenges, he believed that the challenges are surmountable, stressing that in the face of all these challenges, our resolve and abiding faith must remain unshaken for the interest of the country. 62nd Independence.”