The outgoing governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, has said he is confident the state will move to the next level of speedy development because he is handing over power to one of the most honest persons in the state.
Mr Shettima who is leaving office on Wednesday said the governor-elect, Babagana Umar’s honesty dwarfs those of most of politicians he had come across in the state.
He said this while receiving board members of the North East Development Commission (NEDC) led by Paul Tarfa at the weekend.
The NEDC board of directors were in Maiduguri to flag off their operation.
They paid the governor a courtesy call after taking a tour of their proposed office site and some of the IDP camps in the state capital.
The governor assured them of the state government’s cooperation, especially with the person of Mr Umar as the next governor of the war-torn state.
“In Professor Babagana Umar you have a partner that you can work with because no one understands the key development nexus better than him in our system,” he said.
“He has been our gateway to the European Union; just last three weeks he was able to secure 20 million Euros for our schools; he has won the confidence of the World Bank. He was the commissioner for reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement (RRR). He was the one who rebuilt Bama, Gwoza; he was the one responsible for the reconstruction of Chibok, Askira, Kareto, Damasak and so many other communities.”
Mr Shettima said besides his dedication to duty and capacity to deliver on what he sets out to achieve, Mr Umar’s incorruptibility also stands him out.
“But above all, his greatest asset is his integrity. We have pumped in over N20 billion into the ministry of RRR, and it is very un-Nigerian for you to superintend over N20 billion and you do not have a house of your own. And Professor Umar did superintend over such a huge amount of money and yet he left without having a house of his own.
“So these are some of the attributes that endeared him to me, and to the people of Borno State.
“The governor-elect is from a very humble background; he is from Mafa, a very wretched community along Dikwa road. Growing up he had to sell firewood in order to finance his education. He sold firewood for 12 years, driving a pickup van to deliver the firewood just to finance his education.
“He is a man of uncommon dream, passion and ambition. He used to trek from Kofa Biyu area to Ramat Polytechnic (a distance of about 10km) From there he rose to the pinnacle of his career in the university as a professor of irrigation engineering. So I have to celebrate my own. He is the first professor to be a governor in Northern Nigeria.
Earlier, Mr Tarfa commended the state government for providing the Commission with the site and property for its head office.
He said he was impressed with the achievements of the outgoing governor in the area of reconstruction and building of the people’s resilience.
Mr Tarfa said his commission by their visit to Maiduguri, had commenced work in earnest and would soon roll out its intervention programmes even as he solicited for the full cooperation of all state governments under the jurisdiction of the NEDC.