The administration of Governor Mai Mala Buni would be a year old in the next few months. Musa M Buba reports on how the administration has fared in the last one year.
Democratic governance remains the best system of government because it provides the people and society with opportunities of participation, with a voice and sense of belonging in decision-making as well as fair distribution of dividends of democracy.
Political analysts in Yobe state opined that the state under the leadership of Mai Mala Buni, a grass root politician is an example of a man that understands the true definition of democracy.
The governor who started his political career as a local government councillor moved up to become the pioneer national secretary of All Progressives Congress (APC) and now governor of the state. In his inaugural speech upon assumption of office on May 29 2019, Gov Buni left no one in doubt that he was prepared for the job.
His address assured of the high anticipations from within and outside the state that their expectations for consolidation and continuity would not only be sustained, but new innovations introduced to change the lives of people of the state. He set out his priorities with a declaration of state of emergency on basic and secondary education.
Yobe had been one of the educationally-disadvantaged states in the country. To address the anomaly, the Buni administration quickly organised a summit by pulling seasoned educationists and scholars to develop a realistic and sustainable approach that would fast-track basic education in the state.
To demonstrate his political will and commitment to the sector, the sum of N22.8 billion out of the N108.4 billion 2020 budget was allocated to the sector. A committee was then constituted to review the state of basic education in the state and it came up with a preliminary report that identified overcrowding, untrained teachers and poor structures, among others, as part of the factors responsible for the backwardness.
Professor Mala Daura, Chairman of the committee, said 30 per cent of teachers in the state had no teaching qualification hence the poor performance of students in national examinations like SSCE and NECO. To that extent, the government immediately established a Teachers’ Training centre in Damaturu in order to beef up the capacity of teachers in need of training.The report of the committee received the desired attention from the governor through timely implementation.
Hundreds of students were sponsored to various foreign universities to study courses that are in dire need in the state.Similarly, students studying in Nigerian universities and other institutions of higher learning were supported to motivate them and ease the burden of sponsorship on their parents apart from payment of national examinations.
In an effort to improve the local economy and address the menace of unemployment, government resuscitated dormant industries including Yobe Flour and Feed Mills, Yobe Aluminum Company and Yobe Polythene and Woven Sacks company that has been providing employment, improving revenue and economically empowering the people. The Yobe Fertilizer Company and Yobe Potash Company are also underway.
Blueprint learnt that at the moment, the state is also partnering the Nigerian Shippers Council to build a trailer park in Potiskum.
Since the state was carved out of former Borno state, it had lived for 29 years without a modern market. To that extent, a N2.8 billion ultra-modern market consisting of 600 shops, offices, mosques, among others, is currently under construction in Damaturu to provide 7,000 employment opportunities in the state and increase internally- generated revenue (IGR).
Also, 680 youths have so far received training on paint production and hundred others trained as auto mechanics and are provided with packs to start their businesses and employ others.
Just as in the education, a special agricultural summit was organised to move farmers away from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture. Former Adamawa state governor, Murtala Nyako, governors of Kebbi and Jigawa, successful farmers, agricultural experts and scholars were at the summit to share their success stories with farmers in the state with a view to improving agriculture.
The state in partnership with local government councils, therefore procured 103 Massey Ferguson MF375 tractors and 9,000 metric tons of NPK fertiliser last season.
Government also supplied fortified seeds to farmers, especially returnees IPDs to facilitate their economic rehabilitation and recovery.
In an effort to provide affordable houses to the people, the government had flagged off construction of 3,600 houses across the major cities of the state and also directed all contractors handling the projects to buy their roofing sheets from Yobe Aluminum Company.
Transport and Energy
The multi-billion naira Yobe International Cargo Airport has reached advanced stages of completion. Governor Buni while inspecting the project recently charged the contractors to live by the contractual completion period of May, 2020.
Similarly, communities whose electricity supply were destroyed by the Boko Haram insurgents have been restored while new communities have been linked to the national grid.
Some uncompleted roads inherited by the present government were completed and put to use. The Buni administration awarded executed and commissioned new roads in Buniyadi, Damagum, Babangida and Jajimaji.
The Yobe state government took aggressive approach to routine immunisations across the state. It later became the best performing state in the country as commended by Bill and Melinda Gate and Dangote Foundation.
According to Gov Buni, “As a government of continuity, consolidation and innovation, we are determined to maintain and build on our progress in healthcare.
“It is a progress that is recognised and celebrated both here in the state and across the country. This was why the federal government and the World Bank recently approved a grant of 29 million US dollars (or around N10.5 billion) to our state for emerging as the overall best among the 36 states of the federation in the implementation of the Saving One Million Lives Programme.”
The state government approved the construction of 200-bed capacity hostel for Shehu Sule College of Nursing and Midwifery and upgraded their allowances from N5,000 to N10,000 apart from the immediate employment granted to 37 midwives that graduated in 2019.
The government introduced 28 tricycle ambulances to ease transportation of sick and expectant mothers to health facilities especially those from hard-to-reach communities.
A N1.5 billion maternal, new-born and child health complex is currently under construction at the state university teaching hospital.
According to Governor Buni, the effort is to reduce the rates of maternal, child morbidity and mortality.
The state established disease surveillance team to monitor and sensitise the public on emerging challenges and established isolation centres for any eventualities of the Corona virus.
Rehabilitation and Recovery
A new Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs was established by the administration of Buni to facilitate the resettlement, rehabilitation and recovery of Internally Displaced Persons. The ministry had through its agencies like the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and partners including the North-East Development Commission (NEDC) provided interventions to promote rehabilitation of displaced persons who are now settled and engaged in various economic activities.
In its quest curtail the outbreak of diseases, the ministries of environment and information went round the 17 local government councils and the 14 emirate councils to sensitise the public on the need to keep their environment clean.
The residents were sensitised on Lassa fever, Ebola and the emerging Corona virus which has become pandemic globally.