Not less than 600 clergies, amongst them 20 Archbishops, 144 Bishops, and hundreds Reverends converged in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where the church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) honoured Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, with a “prestigious award for courageous and purposeful leadership in challenging times”.
Nigeria’s head of the Anglican church, Most Reverend Dr. Henry Ndukuba, whose title is the Archbishop Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria, presented the award to Borno State’s Head of Service, Barrister Simon Malgwi, who represented Governor Zulum at St Andrews Anglican Church at Rumuobiokani in Port Harcourt.
Malgwi’s appointment in itself a testimonial to Zulum’s cosmopolitan and non-religious style of administration, being the first Christian in Borno’s history to be appointed Head of Service.
Zulum’s award (and those of three other recipients) was one of the main events at the Anglican Communion’s bi-annual meeting of its “Standing Committee” usually attended by Bishops, and delegates from the 165 dioceses in the Church of Nigeria, representing the clergy, laity and the women ministry of the church”..
The meeting began on February 20, 2022, but the official opening held on Wednesday, February 23 (being the award day) while the meeting is to end February 24.
On the reason for the honour on Zulum, Primate Ndukuba said the Borno State Governor has distinguished himself in less than three years in the helms.
He noted that: “This award supersedes religion. We are tired of leaders that are not responsible and that is why we the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion deemed it fit to honour those who have excellently proven themselves worthy in serving their people: Our intentions are to bring to the fore the selfless service of leaders in such a trying time and Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State stands out.“
Primate Ndukuba, speaking amidst ovation from the gathering at the Cathedral, said: “Professor Babagana Zulum is a true leader, worthy of emulation and we are proud to have him among leaders in the country. He has been attacked severally while discharging his duties but he continued to show zeal and passion to bring hope to the state that’s suffered 12 year insurgency. We pray God to continue to guide, protect, bless and uplift Professor Babagana Zulum now and always.”
Governor Zulum, speaking through the Head of Service, Malgwi, thanked the Anglican communion for the award, which he said, came to him as a pleasant surprise.
He said: “I have received several awards but this one is very special because it came from clergy and it came from a church to one that is not a christian and your decision speaks volume of the objectivity and sincerity of purpose of the award. I very much cherish and value this award.”
The Head of Service led Borno’s delegation which included the state’s commissioner for poverty alleviation, Mr Nuhu Clark, Special Adviser on Community Relations, Mr Kester Ogualili and Senior Special Assistant on Youths and Jobs Creation, Mr Christopher Akaba.