By Hassan Gimba
Mai Mala Buni, the governor of Yobe State, is one of the most promising visionary nationalists, bridge-builders and democrats we have in this country.
I am not speaking of, nor would I dwell on, how he brought back the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the brink of disintegration two years ago. No, everyone knows that. Everybody is aware of how he stabilised the party and made it grow in numbers. He attracted the grassroots, who trooped into the party in numbers as well as the high and mighty who could make things happen.
Still, I am not going to talk about the three governors and tens of national and state assembly members attracted to the party by Governor Buni. No, people are aware of that.
What I want to talk about is how he did his best to bring peace and unity to the country. He doused a lot of tension wherever he went in the course of his assignment as the interim national chairman of the APC Extraordinary Caretaker Committee.
Buni was there to give maximum support to the Nigerian Military in procuring sophisticated weaponry to fight insurgency and banditry in both the North East, North West and North Central parts of the country. The relative peace and security we now enjoy has his signature input.
There was a time when the Shiites were on our streets every day of the week, demanding the release of their leader. Such protests came with the attendant collateral damages; many of them and even innocent bystanders lost their lives. There was an instance where a Deputy Commissioner of Police even lost his life. The damage to life and property was unacceptable. Such unfortunate altercations pull our development back.
Now you do not see them on the streets, and you do not hear them protesting. This has released our security agencies and agents to go after criminals so that we may sleep with our eyes closed. Mai Mala Buni, the governor of Yobe State, is instrumental to this newfound peace that has enveloped our country. I may come out with the story one day, God willing.
In Yobe, he has performed his primary assignment creditably well. According to data made available by his senior special assistant on digital and strategic communications, Yusuf Ali, Governor Buni had, among many others, already flagged off the construction of an ultra-modern market in Geidam town to further stimulate economic activities in addition to the ones already built in Nguru, Gashua, and Damaturu with some commissioned. Work on others in Potiskum, Ngelzarma, Gulani, Fika and Buni Yadi is on-going.
The governor has also set aside ₦40 billion to begin the construction of major roads across the state for the growth and development of the state by opening up areas. He will flag off the event on Tuesday.
In his quest for economic empowerment, job creation and self-reliance for the citizens, the governor has launched arguably the largest empowerment support for business owners, widows, and vulnerable persons by any state in the federation worth ₦5 billion.
Already, the governor has approved ₦500 million in agriculture loans for 4000 teachers in the state through the state microfinance bank to enable the chalk pushers to engage in agricultural activities to contribute their quota to food safety and security.
He has built and equipped at least one primary health care in the state’s 178 wards as well as constructed and equipped to international standard the largest maternity centre in the country at the Yobe State University Teaching Hospital in Damaturu.
He has built special baby care units in Gashua, Potiskum and a diagnostic centre at the Yobe State University Teaching Hospital in Damaturu, and officers’ quarters there as well as 150-bed capacity dormitories for medical students and a 200-bed capacity hostel at the school of nursing, Damaturu.
Governor Buni also expanded and upgraded Kumaganam hospital in Yusufari Local Government Area, revived Buni Yadi Hospital with new buildings after they were burnt to the ground by Boko Haram insurgents, distributed new ambulances to various hospitals in the state and created the Contributory Health Care Agency, which continues to distribute free drugs in the state hospitals and clinics.
After declaring a state of emergency on education, he has so far constructed seven mega schools with 30 classrooms each and a student capacity of 1,200, and seven smaller ones with 12 classes each with a capacity of about 800. He has already embarked on building eight more girls’ senior secondary schools to reverse girl-child school drop-out numbers and renovated about 50 others. He has also sponsored about 300 students to study abroad, as well as making arrangements for a holistic sponsorship of those studying locally at home.
In partnership with a European Union-funded project, Brice Mercy Corps, his government has enrolled 5,321 youths in various economic skills which include carpentry, plumbing, tailoring, welding, brick making, bag making and modern agricultural production among others. Such life skills help to keep youths away from the attraction to crime that idleness stimulates in the region. Some of these investments show a governor committed to improving the living standards of the people today and in the future.
Hassan Gimba is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Neptune Prime.