By Inuwa Bwala
Most State Governors announced their deputies as Chairmen of the COVID 19 Pandemic committees in their respective states. Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum did not therefore do anything unusual in naming Umar Usman Kadafur as Chairman of the Committee on the pandemic in Borno State. But one cannot understand the fuss Umar Kadafur’s chairmanship of the committee is generating.
I do not envy the deputy Governor in that position, because of the high risks attached to this kind of assignment but as usual in this part of the world, some people felt they are better suited to handle the task, which may tend to give them an opportunity for self enrichment at the expense of the job. Since the outbreak in Borno state and the attendant initiatives by the committee to curb its spread and ensure compliance with lawful orders in enforcing procedures for managing the pandemic, some faceless individuals have tried to induce one mischief or the other, trying to discredit the chairman of the committee.
I know that from the unnecessary controversy surrounding the handling of the index case, through the filming of a screening center and posting same on the social media as isolation center, to the recent encounter with a group of irritant soldiers, there is mischief lurking.
Kadafur may have disappointed bookmakers, when contrary to their predictions, and in the face of the subtle blackmail and sabotage, hoping that he will fail, he and the COVID 19 committee seem to be succeeding.
Watching the video of the encounter with soldiers who forced their way through the cordon at the entrance gate into Maiduguri and maltreating members of the committee, which include two commissioners, I knew something drastic will follow. I was nit physically there, but I am not disappointed at Umar Kadafur’s handling of the situation to the effect that he took a swipe at the soldiers involved in the milieu. So many Nigerians were so impressed with Kadafur’s outing during that encounter, going by the comments in the media and the phone conversations with people who matter.
I understand the Governor, Professor Bavagana Zulum had earlier passed through the route and on noticing how people were desperate at forcing their ways into Maiduguri city in the face of the inter state travel ban, called for immediate enforcement of the requisite orders.
It was while the process was still ongoing that a group of soldiers, defying all protocols and orders gate crashed and in the process molested members of the committee killing one driver in the process.
It was at this point that the Deputy Governor as Chairman of the committee stepped in to protect his members and correct the restore order.
I have always said that those who are deceived by the kind gestures of Umar Usman Kadafur may be shocked when the provoke the fire which I know burns in his belly.
Always smiling and extending hands of friendship to people in his daily routine, Kadafur is not patient with those who take Government for granted in ensuring the safety and security of citizens.
I was not surprised at his open show if anger at the soldiers, who are known to often disregard civil authority under the guise of being on emergency assignment.
In this case, the soldiers did not only loose their voices in trying to defend what was clearly indefensible but were exposed in their regular show of brigandage. Those who hitherto think Umar Kadafur is a toothless bulldog and often tried to undermine his authority should better realize with that encounter that the youthful politician even as a humble and friendly administrator knows his onions and could spit fire when provoked.
I will leave out the story of the two ladies who earlier posed as part if a suffering lot in an isolation center, having seen another video of the two ladies profusely apologizing for their misdemeanors,. I laughed, knowing from the onset that they were either being used as cannon fodders or did not know what they bargained for in trying to embarrass Government.
I know as a matter of fact that Nigerians are all partners in the management and control of the pandemic, and because the virus is no respecter of class or creed, there is always need for collaborative efforts amongst all stakeholders. For us in Borno, coming in the face if the age long Boko Haram crisis, such a collaboration becomes even more imperative without giving room for distractions.
Umar Usman Kadafur has taken serious risks in working to carry out the mandate given to him by his boss. That he is still free if the virus despite the risks he took, is by the grace if God. Let us support him like every leader deserves and not crucify him like a villain. More importantly, those who may wish to cause further mischief, I want them to know that fire burns in this seemingly harmless gentleman. NEVER NESS WITH KADAFUR.
I pay special tribute to Proffessor Babagana Umara Zulum for not only finding members of the COVID 19 worthy if delivering, but also for the support he has given them. As for Kadafur, I want him to know that there are people who are daggers drawn should he shield his own sword in working for the people.
Bwala writes from Marama in Hawul LGA if Borno srate.