Governor of Borno state, Prof Babagana Umara Zulum was born on 25 August, 1969 into a very humble home in Loskuri village in Mafa LGA of Borno State. He make it to the top by dint of hard work and sheer determination.
He combined farming with his primary and school in Mafa and Monguno from 1975 to 1980 and 1980 to 85, respectively. At class five in secondary school in Monguno, he began to fully cater for his education.
From 1984 to around 1999 (16 years) he became a commercial driver of taxis, particularly Peugeot 404. At some point, he also drove buses carrying passengers to different villages, and neighbouring states. While working as commercial driver, he learned how to fix any vehicle he drove.
In 1986, Zulum gained admission into Ramat Polytechnic in Maiduguri, owned by the state government, to study for a National Diploma in Irrigation Engineering, and lived with relatives off-campus in Kofa Biyu, a densely-populated area.
He trekked for eight kilometres from Kofa Biyu to Ramat Polytechnic and back whenever he had lectures because he couldn’t afford transport to school.
He obtained his National Diploma in 1988. In 1989, Zulum joined to the Borno State civil service as an Assistant Technical Officer in the state’s Ministry of Agriculture. In 1990, he moved into Borno State Unified Local Government Service as Senior Field Overseer.
In 1990 he secured admission into University of Maiduguri for a degree in Agricultural Engineering, and graduated in 1994. After three years, he again got admission into the University of Ibadan for an MSc in Agricultural Engineering.
He didn’t have the money when he departed Maiduguri for Ibadan but he believed he could get some work to do in Lagos. For three weeks, he lived in Alaba Rago working with commercial vehicles and there he raised the money his tuition.
He went to Ibadan, paid his fees and started. He graduated in 1998, returned to the civil service as a Senior Agricultural Engineer and later Principal Water Engineer.
After obtaining a Masters Degree, Zulum joined the University of Maiduguri in 1998 as an assistant lecturer. From 2005 to 2009, he obtained PhD in Soil and Water Engineering from University of Maiduguri, rising through the ranks, at some point Deputy Dean and Acting Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural Engineering.
Zulum decided to retain his teaching job in UNIMAID, even while he was appointed into the state government in 2011. Though a he was appointed rector of Ramat Polytechnic in 2011 by Governor Shettima, he preferred to retain his salary of lecturer in UNIMAID. He continued with teaching students in UNIMAID during his lecture hours while also managing the Ramat Polytechnic.
As rector of Ramat Polytechnic, Zulum is credited with expansions and erecting capital infrastructure using internally-generated revenue and attracting interventions from federal agencies.
In 2015, Zulum was appointed pioneer Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement by Governor Shettima.
Prof Zulum is a member of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS.
Since assumptions of office, Governor Zulum has rekindled the hope of Nigerians who have almost lost confidence in the caliber of people that found themselves in leadership positions across the country. There appears to be a consensus across the country that Governor Zulum’s political career will not end in Government House, Maiduguri as many are already rooting for him to take a shot at the presidency after his second tenure.
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