Estimable Gov Buni and the National Honours

On Tuesday, October 11, 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari conferred and presented national honours to 437 Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in different spheres of national development and endeavours. The occasion, which was held at the State House, Abuja was graciously attended by the recipients, their families and well-wishers and it was pretty colourful.

It’s actually gratifying for someone to be recognised and honoured by his country for his sterling contributions to national growth and development. This is especially so at a critical time when leaders, policymakers, traditional and business class are severally blamed for compromising and impeding national development.

In fact, no matter how bad the situation is in Nigeria, there are a silent few who have done and have always been doing all they can for the prosperity of the county and the blossoming of its economy amidst the glaring challenges gawking at us right in the face.

So, those honoured are the few out of millions of Nigerians who firmly have faith in the future of the country and underwrite their own part to the same line.
It truly encourages those rewarded, requires them to do more for those still living and in active service, and also gives impetus to not only be more nationalistic but also in their own way, contribute to the nation’s progress.

There is no doubt that awards of this magnitude illustrate the fact that the federal government and Nigerians in general are conscious, scrutinising, and recognising every individual’s role in nation building.

Certainly, all the awardees deserve it but seeing the name of the present Governor of Yobe state and former Caretaker Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Mai Mala Buni, and other illustrious personalities, further gives convincing level of credibility to the nomination and selection process of the recipients, especially in the Nigeria’s susceptible court of public scrutiny where no matter how decent and noble things are, we give them political and biased colouration.

Though, I am not from Yobe state but I acknowledge Governor Buni’s rare leadership qualities and the remarkable feats he has been able to record in less than four years of his stewardship in spite of dealing with twosome and challenging positions synchronously; actively dispensing good governance in Yobe state and course-plotting the affairs of his party at the national arena.

In his daring decision and tenacity to liberate the hitherto left in the lurch desert, Buni took over the mantle of leadership of Yobe state at an time the whole state was overwhelmed and devastated by the marauding Boko Haram insurgents. The Boko Haram insurgents pillaged all the nooks and crannies of the state including local communities. The defenseless people of the communities became refugees in their own land; hopeless, despondent and despaired.

Buni, notwithstanding the blatant challenges rubbernecking at him in the face, rolled out a recovery plan in all the sectors of the state’s economy while giving security an utmost priority. He was bequeathed a state that lacks nearly and practically everything; education, security, health, agriculture, infrastructure, youths and women empowerment, among others.

Sadly, before he settled down for the job, a new tragedy came bashing; the Covid-19 pandemic which has affected the whole world and even the major economies had to struggle to survive let alone Africa, Nigeria, and Yobe state.

But fortified with stanch enthusiasm and commitment to get the state out of the woods, Governor Buni was able to give an urgent artificial respiration to almost all important sectors of the state’s economy.

Education was given the priority it deserves. Buni, immediately he assumed the mantle of leadership in the state, declared a state of emergency in education by building schools, employment, training and retraining teachers, and giving local and international scholarship to the brilliant indigenes of the state to study various courses at different universities.

By way of matching words with action, Governor Buni graciously injected over N2 billion into the hitherto comatose education sector and over 300 schools renovated and equipped with modern facilities to create conducive learning environment.

Equally, next to education is health as it’s widely said and agreed that health is wealth. Governor Buni has in a bid to revamp the dilapidated health sector upgraded the sector by building over 130 health centres in fulfilling the promise he made to construct 178 of the centres in the state.

Also, to bridge the gap of inadequate manpower in the health sector, Governor Buni sponsored 233 indigenes to study medicine and surgery, basic medical sciences in various universities in faraway India and the most amazing thing is that, most of them are the sons and daughters of the haves and the haves not.

Today, Yobe state has become a hub of infrastructural transformation with befitting roads network, modern markets, model schools, airport and lots more. It will be an underrepresentation of fact to use this piece to highlight the exceptional feats of Governor Mai Mala Buni but the few listed here will go a long way in unmasking the rare personality and leadership attributes of Mr. Buni.

He’s always there for his people – a servant leader. Recently, when the communities in parts of the state were hit by massive and deadly floods, Buni was seen inspecting the areas affected with helicopter, canoes, and cars, depending on the nature of the terrain and how easily the communities would be accessed. This was apart from setting up a strong committee to look into the tragedy with a view to ameliorating the sufferings of the affected people.

It’s justifiable and worthy to always acknowledge unusual leaders in the midst of the rotten majorities. Awarding Governor Buni with ‘National Honour’ as Commander of the Officer of the Niger, CON, by President Buhari is not only an honour done to him or the people of the state but humanity in general. Buni has, through his leadership sojourn, proved to be an amazing and rare gem among his contemporaries.

Congratulations Your Excellency, Governor Mai Mala Buni CON.

Bala writes from Bauchi, Bauchi state