Zulum: Matching words with action

Borno state governor Professoer Babagana Zulum recently matched his words with action when he visited two health centres in the state. SADIQ ABUBAKAR reports. 

It is often said that wonders shall never end. This is because less than 24 hours after a surprise visit by Governor Babagana Umara Zulum to Umaru Shehu Ultra Modern Hospital where he expressed his disappointment over the poor power situation there, a solar-powered system has been installed at the hospital located around Bulumkutu axis in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state. 

The system was installed few days after following a directive  by the governor the previous night when visited the hospital and met patients in darkness due to blackout said to have been for a number of days. 

Technicians of the state Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, carried out the installation under the directive of their commissioner, Dr Babagana Mustapha Mallambe who first sought permission from his fellow commissioner in charge of the Ministry of Health. 

After this, a power system with relevant number of batteries and solar panels was fully installed with lights restored. 

Investigation reveals that more sustainable measures are expected to combine with the solar system.  

When Gov Zulum intervened

It would be recalled that Governor Zulum around 10pm on Friday night last week showed up unannounced at two hospitals in Maiduguri only to find patients in darkness due to power failure that had lingered for a number of days.  

Zulum was at Umaru Shehu Ultra Modern Hospital and Fatima Ali Sheriff Maternity Hospital, both around densely populated Bulumkutu communities in Maiduguri. 

The governor had just returned from Abuja and decided to drive from the airport straight to the hospitals soon after he got a hint from private sources that the hospitals were under blackout for days.

The governor then went to see things for himself and confirmed that patients were indeed in darkness because there was no diesel supply to standby power generators. 

Both hospitals relied on generators because of lack of electricity supply from the national grid since Boko Haram insurgents destroyed electricity equipment along the Maiduguri-Damaturu highway in response to which frantic efforts were still being made by federal and state officials to restore connections to areas yet to have electricity, including parts of Bulumkutu axis. 

Zulum, a Professor of Engineering, asked persons in charge of generators at both hospitals some technical questions which led to his confirmation that the generators had no problems at all. They were fully functional but simply lacked diesel to power them. 

“It is very unfortunate that no official either from the Hospital Management Board or the Ministry of Health drew my attention to this outage, :the governor queried. 

“If we can power our streetlights constantly, I see no reason why we cannot power our hospitals, ” Zulum lamented as he consoled with the patients and their loved ones for being in darkness despite dealing with illnesses.

Wondering the quickest way to mobilise diesel, he directed that available diesel meant to power generators at the Government House, Maiduguri, where he lives, be immediately transferred by trucks to both hospitals, pending his meeting with officials of the state Ministry of Health the following day, to find a sustainable solution.

Zulum also directed the installation of solar installations at Umaru Shehu Ultra Modern Hospital and the upgrade of existing solar-powered installations at Fatima Ali Sheriff Maternity Hospital as sustainable solutions to the lingering power problem. 

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