Building a new Borno through post-insurgency dialogue 

Borno state government recently organised a townhall meeting where the values which the state was known for prior to insurgency were discussed. SADIQ ABUBAKAR reports.

With the gradual emergence of relative peace from the 14 years insurgency that claimed hundreds of human and animal lives as well as the wanton destruction of public and private property worth billions of naira, government seems to be looking inward towards reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement projects. This is being carried out by both state and federal governments. 

To that extent, a few days ago, Borno state government  organised a maiden zonal townhall meeting for social reorientation which brought together critical stakeholders from the Borno Central Senatorial District to discuss ways and means of fast-tracking the Borno Restoration Project. 

The townhall meeting provided a platform for constructive dialogue, collaboration and engagement among key stakeholders in the state with the aim of promoting attitudinal change that would as well renew the pride in Borno values through the restoration of the age-old dignity of the state.

It featured a keynote paper, lead paper, panel session, and interactive discussions that engaged the diverse audience on how to restore the prestige of Borno through attitudinal change among the citizenry.

Gov Zulum thanked participants

The state governor, Prof Babagana Zulum, represented by the commissioner of information & internal security, Prof  Mohammed Usman Tar, thanked participants for keeping faith with the state government. He reiterated the state government’s commitment towards working with all relevant stakeholders to revive the values, morals and dignity of the state, by reclaiming her position as a regional hub for development in the North-east. 

In the welcome address, the governor highlighted the need for the social reorientation pillar of the state’s 25 Year Development Framework and 10 Year Strategic Transformation Initiative. In a keynote paper, the chief adviser to the governor on Sustainable Development and Humanitarian Affairs, Dr Mairo Mandara, reflected on Borno changing the dynamics of societal perception of itself in turbulent times. 

She also explained how a new culture of peace and prosperity should emerge from the rubbles of extreme violence, nothing that the Borno Restoration Project is aimed at building a vibrant and enterprising people who are committed to rebuilding Borno. She said the responsibility of building  peace, security and development in Borno requires a collective effort from all stakeholders. 

Recalling Borno values

In his lead paper,  Dr Hassan Zanna Boguma (the Zannah Boguma of Borno) reflected on the importance of conscious cultural identity as the worth and values of individuals, underscoring the need for communities, especially youths, People Living with Disabilities, marginal and vulnerable segments of society to be carried along in governance with a view to taking ownership of development programmes and embrace a collective culture of belonging, imbibe livelihood strategies and contribute to economic development of the state. 

The panel session on the theme: ‘Rewriting the Narratives through Social Reorientation’ featured panelists cutting across religious and traditional institutions, youth and women representatives and provided an open platform for discussion with the audience around issues of social reorientation in the state. It was a  rich discussion that unearthed a lot of ideas and recommendations for the social reorientation program in Borno. 

The communique

The communique issued at the end of the event and adopted by all participants, called for change of attitude amongst Borno people and a spirited return to the age-long virtues of discipline, respect, dignity, tolerance, industry, creativity and self-sustainance Borno was known for. 

It further urged the state government to put in place the resources for not only infrastructural development, but also development of a social fabric that will reinforce the state government’s drive towards building an agricultural and industrial base and a self-sufficient and export-oriented economy.

In attendance were dignitaries from the government, security agencies, the academia, media organisations, CSOs, CBOs, traditional institutions, religious bodies and members of the State Executive Council.

Others include the Commissioner of Police; Director of State Security Services, the State Controller of Correctional Services, the Commandant NDLEA, Comptroller of Immigration; the Chief Imam of Borno, Muslim and Christian preachers; the Vice Chancellors of Al-Ansar University and Borno State University; Permanent Secretaries and civil servants that  added value to the meeting. 

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