By Bode Olushegun
Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, has declared Monday as a day to pray for the return of peace to his troubled state and the defeat of Boko Haram insurgents, who have terrorized the state for 11 years.
This is the second time the governor would be making such declaration with the first made on Monday February 24, 2020.
Zulum made the declaration after separate meetings on Saturday with Islamic and Christian leaders.
Zulum, in a statement after the meetings with the clerics, explained that his regular trips to frontlines were not out of pride or to attract attention but rather to satisfy his conscience and discharge his obligations to the people of Borno.
The governor said: “I will like to start by, once again, registering our depth of eternal gratitude to the good people of Borno State for the overwhelming support and sincere goodwill our administration has been accorded in the last 17 months.
“Nothing I say here or anywhere else can best describe the extent of my gratitude to the people of Borno and many Nigerians outside Borno.
“We have been shown enormous love and support from day one till date. Above being loved and supported, the people of Borno State have proved to trust us and have faith in what we do.
“For me, one of the greatest feats a leader can attain is to earn the trust and confidence of those being led. On the other hand, the worst thing that can happen to any leader is to lose the trust and confidence of the people.”
He said: “Trust is a burden. When people trust you, they invest their fears and hopes in you and they leave you to your own conviction, your own decisions, and most importantly, they leave you to your fear of Allah or the lack of it.
“We are grateful for the trust the people have shown to us and I do solemnly reaffirm that Bi-iznillah, we will not betray the trust and confidence reposed in us by the people of Borno.”
He added that: “Fellow citizens of Borno, in the midst of our firmness, individual and shared commitments to Borno State, we must always recognize that the kind of challenge Borno is facing, is one that is complex.”
He said: “The reality of our situation creates a conflict between our human needs for safety versus our conscience and obligation to those we represent.
“It is not an issue of pride, boasting or to catch the limelight. It is an issue of conscience and obligation.”
Zulum said: “One of the easiest ways all citizens can continue to help is never to associate with the insurgents, to pass useful information to security forces and to consistently pray for our armed forces and volunteers. Our prayers should include those risking their lives, including humanitarian workers and those who undertake reconstruction works in communities.”
He said: “As an outcome of today (Saturday’s) consultation, I hereby declare Monday, the 19th day of October 2020 as a second day for statewide fasting and prayers for peace in Borno State. I will like to request, with gratitude, that we approach the fast with the same enthusiasm, devotion and faithfulness as we did on Monday February 24, 2020.”
He asked that everyone should dedicate the day to fasting and seek divine intervention in the situation of the state, insisting that day has not been declared for public holiday or for dramatic gatherings.
He said: “What is required is the purity of our intentions and submission to Allah as we fast and pray from our homes, offices, market shops, other businesses and places of legitimate endeavours.”