A governorship candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Borno state, Babagana Umara Zulum, says he was a commercial driver from 1984 to 1999.
Zulum, a professor of irrigation engineering at the University of Maiduguri, made this known in an interview with Daily Trust.
The governorship candidate spoke about his humble beginnings in Loskuri village, Mafa local government area of Borno.
His words: “Every day, I trekked for seven kilometers to reach my father’s farm from our home,” he said.
“From 1984 to around 1999 (16 years) I became a commercial driver of taxis, particularly Peugeot 404. At some point, I also drove buses carrying passengers to different villages and neighbouring states. At a later time, I drove commercial pickup trucks carrying firewood from forests. While working as commercial driver, I learned how to fix any vehicle I drove.”
The academician said he become responsible for his own education at class five, narrating how he worked hard to make ends meet.
Zulum recalled how he gained admission into Ramat Polytechnic, Maiduguri, in 1986, to study irrigation engineering while living with a relative about eight kilometers from campus.
“I trekked for eight kilometers from Kofa Biyu to Ramat Polytechnic and back whenever I had lectures. But I was already used to long walks all my life, as I couldn’t afford transport to school. Whenever I drove taxis and returned the vehicles to owners, I used what I got for my basic school needs. I later also became a commercial operator of grinding machine, and I owned one in Mafa, and during weekends I went there to serve customers,” he said.
In 2015, Zulum was appointed pioneer Borno commissioner for reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement, which he said was one of the biggest challenges in his life.
His words: “Governor Shettima told me in September 2015 that he was trusting me with so much funds for the rebuilding of hundreds of communities destroyed by Boko Haram, and he was worried about the displacement of more than two million people of the state. That appointment was one major challenge, and I took it up ready to die doing it or trying.”
The academician clinched the APC governorship ticket after beating seven of the 21 contenders that participated in the primary.