Democracy Day: Democratic Forces Defend Ideals, Values of Democracyin Nigeria... Babagana Zulum

By Ahmed Abu, The Nigerian Voice, Maiduguri
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Governor Banagana Umara Zulum of Borno State has said that all democratic forces in the country have hailed the courage, fearlessness and the commitment of the electorates of Nigeria and Borno State in particular for standing firm in the defense of the ideals and values of Democracy.

He also expressed gratitude to the Almighty God for steering the development of the democratic and political processes since then and the gradual strengthening of democratic culture in our country.

Zulum stated this Wednesday at the Ramat square Maiduguri where thousands of large crowd converged to witness the maiden democracy day on June 12, 2019.

He said: "Although ample progress have been noticed during these period of sustained democracy as a result of improved electoral processes, better guarantees of our rights as Nigerians, particularly freedom of expression and freedom of association. What is more remarkable is indeed the spectacular political experience of Borno.

" We witnessed a tremendous political awareness and overwhelming participation of the citizens in making decisions as to who should govern them. This is more so in the face of treacherous anti-democratic challenges of Boko Haram in the state.

"In fact, all democratic forces in the country have hailed the courage, fearlessness and the commitment of the electorates of Borno for standing firm in the defense of the ideals and values of Democracy", Zulum said.

The governor further assured that the right time to start enjoying the dividends of democracy is now, "more especially as we transit into the Next Level. Over the years, we lost greater part of our democratic gains to the devilish acts and destructive tendencies of the Boko Haram insurgents".

"As we all know, over 80% of our development infrastructure were destroyed by the insurgents. We witnessed a massive displacement of communities and a record high number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country."

He further appreciated the special wisdom that informed the decision of the Federal government to designate June 12th as the ‘Democracy Day’, pointing out that, In fact June 12th epitomizes a historic turning point in the political development of our great Country.

" The germane political struggle that was triggered by the unpopular ‘Election Annulment’ saw to the return of democratic governance on May 29, 1999.

"We have hundreds of dropouts and out-of-school children, high proportion of our able bodied youths became unemployed, we had great loses in livestock, destruction of irrigation and farming facilities and collapse of market and trade facilities and high levels of food insecurity," Zulum said.

The governor also said," the task before us are enormous given the mean resource base but we will never relent or give up. We are going to face all the challenges squarely until we are out of this big mess sooner than later by the grace of the Almighty. "

"I emphatically mentioned in my inaugural address that my 10-point agenda really articulates the development framework to launch Borno to the Next Level. The fact that security stands out as the most paramount, I did not waste time in calling for a Security Meeting in the state and having high level talks with the President and the Chief of Army Staff within the two weeks of my assumption of office.

"I have garner support to reinforce security measures and deploy additional strategies to counter the insurgency. I have taken measures to empower our Civilian JTF, give more logistics support to all security operatives and create better platform for cooperation and consultation.

"I have done that and will do more. I will not hesitate to take any action or support any cause that will bring permanent peace to our dear state. As an agrarian state my immediate concern is to ensure a quick return to farming," Babagana said. "I am committed to ensuring that farmlands in all accessible communities are opened up now, adequate farm inputs provided and security given to protect both the farms and farmers.

"We must take full advantage of the onset of the raining season to ensure that our rural populace who depend largely on agriculture for their livelihoods are positively engaged. "I have opened up talks with our Development Partners and the Central Bank to generously assist with the necessary inputs and soft loans and grants to empower our farmers", Zulum said.

"Our immediate policy thrust is a quick return to farming as we remove all impediments and obstacles on the way. As we all know Borno has a unique economically advantageous location of sharing borders with Chad, Niger and Cameroun and unfettered route even to the Central African Republic. "According to him, he was not unaware of this huge economic and commercial potentials of the state and the enormous benefits that may accrue to us as citizens.

He disclosed that he had taken bold steps in the past two weeks to initiate the commencement of road construction works along Maiduguri- Dikwa- Ngala road and Bama-Banki Road. "In addition, I have directed with immediate effect for the opening of Gwoza–Limankara road and comprehensive maintenance of numerous road networks that greatly adds value to internal trade and commerce in the state.

"Let me on this Great Day reassure our displaced brothers and sisters in the various IDP Camps that we will honour their genuine request for a safe return to their homes as soon as possible.

"We will ensure minimum standards, in terms of guarantees of security, safety assurances and access to basic services and livelihoods, repairs of damaged infrastructure are made before the people return to their respective homes", Zulum said.