By: Inuwa Bwala
Some people may argue that there is nothing amusing about Presidential visits to states, either for official or private reasons. Not many were therefore excited with President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Borno on Thursday. To them, it was just one out of so many such outings.
But to the people and Government of Borno State, especially, the Governor, Kashim Shettima, the visit was historic, strategic and expository. Historic in the sense that it accorded the people an opportunity to disabuse the mind of the world that Borno was not just a war ravaged zone but a work enclave where an Eldorado has emerged from the ruins of destruction. That such an opportunity also came as one of the President’s first official engagements in a state after the 2019 Presidential election, amidst competing request from others, gives citizens that sense of fulfillment. It was august that it also came on the heels of calls on the President by some interests: selfish as they were, to ignore Borno and her troubles. It was made even pleasing to Borno people, that such nudges were ignored by the President.
It was strategic because it came at a time the security situation in the state seems to be getting greater attention, and global focus is shifting from Borno as the theater of war, to other areas where the situation is even more precarious. Although brief, it accorded the President the opportunity to practically see a rising modern city from the debris of war and destruction. President Buhari could not conceal his inner satisfaction with what has become of Borno despite the reports of daily arson. Perhaps, he was more impressed with the mood of the people even in the face of the physical and psychological trauma.
It was expository because it brought out those things Governor Shettima has been doing, even with the detraction of the Boko Haram carnage. The President might not have believed until he visited the Borno Industrial Park: conceived and developed in the midst of the Boko Haram war. It might have sounded doubtful to him, if he were merely told about the revolution in the education sector, with the massive structural upgrade and establishment of new schools. President Buhari might have been difficult getting convinced that the state of the earth equipment in the hospitals he visited actually existed in Borno.
Governor Shettima would have had it rough for taking the President off his planned trip outside, if he had no such projects the president commissioned. More importantly, his critics would have had their ways, if President Buhari had not only commended Governor Shettima for the projects he executed even in a war time.
So many people, including citizens of Borno State were not aware that the projects are massive, until the President visited. Perhaps, this explains why, days after the visit, the projects showcased by Governor Shettima remains the thematic discourse of President Buhari’s visit to Borno State.