Tears often drop from my eyes, any time I cast my mind back to that historic moment, Distinguished Senator Kashim Shettima, then Governor of Borno State lifted Umar Kadafur’s hand as the running mate to Professor Babagana Umara Zulum in the Governorship race for 2019. Shettima evaded all attempts to stop him by using his left hand to perform that ritual, apparently realizing the need to put to rest the intrigues, uncertainties and speculations that attended the choice of Professor Zulum’s deputy.
My tears were drawn given the fact that,I know what Zulum could do, and picking Umar Kadafur as his Deputy further re-enforced my confidence that Borno may be in for great moments with the combination. Beyond that, that action symbolized an end to my years of persecution and political estrangement by one man, who appropriated to himself the powers of the almighty.
Given my experiences in the past three years, I would still have been happy if Kashim Shettima had lifted the hands of Lucifer as the Deputy Governor designate. I leave that story for another day. For now, let me concentrate on why there could not have been a better choice of the Deputy Governor than Umar Usman Kadafur. I stand to be corrected, but I think Kadafur is the youngest to hold the office of Deputy Governor in Borno.
Since being sworn in, which came only a few days before his birthday, Umar Kadafur has demonstrated uncommon loyalty and dedication to assisting his boss. He was quick to adjust to the approach of his boss, and handled his assignments with due diligence, to the effect that, Governor Zulum once confessed to his confidants that, he goes to sleep with his two eyes closed every time he assigns his deputy to perform certain tasks.
I feel there could not have been a better testimony of mutual confidence between the two, given our recent experiences. Let me also confess that, I aligned myself with this administration without being invited as a mark of my respect for the duo of the Governor and his deputy, and my personal conviction that they will make the difference. And I hope to cling to my position like white on rice.
Those of us who vouched for him as the best choice for the Deputy Governorship have not been disappointed, given his brilliant outing so far. He has so much endeared himself to people who were hitherto reluctant in accepting him. He has also silenced those who refused to believe that no one man can be a man for all seasons.
His younger ones revere him, his age mates admire him and the elderly ones respect him. From a rascally youth on the streets of Biu, he transformed into a leader many others would like to emulate. Above statement perhaps surmises Umar Usman Kadafur, the Deputy Governor of Borno state.
Notwithstanding the fact that he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, being the child of one of the most outstanding business man to come from that part of the state, all his life has been a life of struggles, and the fortunes he makes from his struggles often go into philanthropy or charity. He has his hands in every business pie that tends to bring in profit and enable him touch the lives of the people.
Umar Usman Kadafur is into hotel and tourism, internal and external décor, catering, poultry, cattle rearing, crop farming, and construction; all of which he combines with politics. Sometimes, I wonder where he gets the energy to cope with so many businesses at the same time and yet remain focused.
Looking back at his life thirty or thirty-five years ago, when he was more youthful and often adventurous and rascally like children of his age, people may tend to wonder about the transformations that took place in Umar Kadafur, which has today made him one of the respected leaders in the history of Borno.
Every adventure he embarks upon and every business venture he undertakes tend to endear him to people and often placed him high above his peers. This much I confessed to him sometime when we were chatting about the things of life generally. Always calm, calculative and patient with others.
His seeming gentleman disposition and innocent mien must have deceived those who feel they can distract him. While always speaking about his willingness to go along with everybody who is ready to come on board the new train, Manager, as he is fondly called could be bold and courageous.
Although he knows virtually all those who have been working in tandem with others to cause disaffection amongst politicians in Southern Borno in particular, the Deputy Governor has thrown his doors open to all, including to those who worked against his emergence, so that we could heal the wounds of the old and work for the success of the current administration.
I recalled an incident where some people tried to slight him during an official function, forcing him to take a drastic step, that seemed to redefine the moment of political alignments in Hawul. The story is well known of how he changed the Special Adviser from Hawul based on his boss’ directive because of conducts unbecoming of a political appointee.
With what I have seen of him so far, coupled with the much I know about him, I wish to state that Umar Usman Kadafur offers hopes for the future emergence of youths as leaders in Borno and beyond.
Happy birthday Kawu and congratulations for clocking one year in office serving with dignity, loyalty and hard work.
Inuwa writes from Marama in Hawul Local Government Area of Borno State.