In these days of stock-taking by state governors after 100 days in office, Governor Mala Buni of Yobe state has had modest achievements as MUSA M BUBA writes.
Since the creation of Yobe state out of the former Borno on August 27 1991, the state has been lagging behind in different sectors especially education, healthcare, youth empowerment, agriculture, works among others. The most backward is education, coupled with the activities of Boko Haram which its ideology of prohibiting western education, leading to the killing students and teachers, burning down of school structures, abduction of students, among others.
However, on May 29 2019, the former APC scribe, Mai Mala Buni was sworn-in as the executive governor of the state after
scoring 79.3 per cent of the total votes cast in the election.
During his inauguration, he promised to revitalise all sectors by creating job opportunities. In line with that, he immediately declared a state of emergency on basic and secondary education.
In its quest for solution, the state government met with local government chairmen, education secretaries, selected principals and
traditional leaders. The aim was to identify the problems of basic education and work towards addressing them.
The deputy governor, Idi Barde Gubana, who represented Gov Buni at the meeting, said the objective is to lay a robust foundation for the restoration of the lost glory in the teaching
Another step taken was setting up a 42-man technical committee to visit schools, agencies, stakeholders in order to offer suggestions for immediate implementation.
To that extent, an education summit was held to unravel the problems bedeviling the sector. The governor said during the summit that, “Our education system is still not where it is supposed to be. We still have so much work to do. The performance of Yobe students in various national examinations, including SSCE and NECO, is not very impressive.”
He said the summit was held because of the abysmal performances of students at primary and secondary levels. Most of the papers presented at the summit proffered solutions on the way forward.
The former vice chancellor, University of Maiduguri, Professor Mala M. Daura, said while
submitting the committee’s interim report that only 30 per cent of teachers in the state has the required teaching qualifications.
He said, “About 30 per cent of the teachers on ground have no teaching qualification. The general outlook of enrolment is about 60 per cent of eligible students and a high proportion of about 40 per cent are out of school”.
He noted that the committee after visiting 1,430 schools across the state found out that teaching and learning environment in urban
setting and local government headquarters are overstretched with students ranging from 180 and above in a classroom as against 40-50 with poor enrolment and retention.
Governor Buni while thanking the committee assured that the recommendations would be
implemented soonest within the available resources at his disposal.
He therefore called on the secretary to the state government, Ministry of Education and other relevant agencies to make sure they work
hand-in-hand to see that the sector receives solid attention.
Buni also approved the inclusion of 20 physically-challenged persons to study abroad. This was in his effort to carry along people with
special needs apart from their bill that is at the Third Reading stage in the House of Assembly.
Recently, he also approved the establishment of a teachers training centre in the state capital to upgrade the capacity of existing teachers, run induction programme for newly-recruited ones, organise in-house training and improve the capacity of school administrators and quality assurance officers.
Commerce and Industries
In an effort to create job opportunities, Yobe Flour and Feeds Mills, Woven Sacks Enterprise of Yobe and Woven Sacks Company abandoned over a decade received the attention of
Governor Buni within his 100 days in office. After several visits, he released the sum of N80, 441,731 for its revitalisation. Also, the sum of N94,921,282 was released for Sahel Aluminum Company owned by the state government in order to be resuscitated to spur economic activities in the state.
He said, “As I have said in my inaugural speech, it is part of the economic policies of this administration to ensure that we revive all our
industries, particularly the Gujba Fertiliser Blending Plant, the Yobe Polythene and Woven Sacks Factory and the Flour and Feed Mills in
“As for the Yobe Polythene and Woven Sacks Factory, because of the environmental effects of polythene, we would be more interested in the woven sacks aspect since our state is agrarian and our farmers use a lot of woven sacks,” he said.
The state government in partnership with Nigerian Shippers Council had within the 100 days of the governor performed the ground breaking ceremony of Potiskum Truck Transit Park. The governor said the park would include hotel, fire station, mechanic village, bank, security stations, among others.
Hassan Bello, the executive secretary of the council told residents that there were about 5,000 trucks going in and out of Potiskum due to its economic advantage and the presence of the largest livestock market in the state. He said if completed, would, apart from revenue generation, create jobs to over 5,000 youths.
The governor also directed the construction of modern markets in Damaturu the state capital. Other places where modern markets were to be constructed include Ngalda, Geidam, Potiskum, Gashua, Nguru.
Recently, Governor Buni, Mr Bill gates and Alhaji Aliko Dangote have committed themselves to do more to strengthen routine immunisation and general primary healthcare in the state in terms of coverage. This was discussed at a mid-year review meeting as part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which took place via video-conferencing with Buni at Polio Emergency Operations Centre in Abuja while Gates and Dangote joined from the US.
Governor Buni also flagged-off the 2019 first round of maternal, newborn and child health week with a promise of 90 per cent of coverage in the state. He said the overall aim was to improve the effectiveness and efficiency in delivering qualitative MNCH services and ensure effective transition in other health interventions towards achieving optimal healthcare delivery in the state.
The state government in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and Malaria Consortium had also distributed 2.3million Free Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) as preventive measure for malaria disease. The effort was to free the citizens from mosquito bites and safeguard the entire populace from malaria.
In his inaugural speech, the governor promised to unfold agricultural blueprint that would make it attractive in order to move away from
subsistence farming to large-scale production. Already, within his 100 days in office, his administration signed a contract worth N2.5billion for the supply of nine thousand metric tons of fertiliser and supply of
Mercy Ferguson (MF 375) tractors to boost agricultural activities in the state.
Signing the contract on behalf of the state government, the permanent secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural resource, Alhaji Mangarima Lawan, said the effort would ensure food security in the state. As part of activities marking his 100 days in office, the governor flagged-off the distribution of 103 tractors to the 17 local governments, women groups and youths.
The NPK fertiliser supplied was also flagged-off and sold at N3,000 per bag with each local government getting 3,000 bags apart from
farmers’ associations and other groups.
Also the governor had earlier launched another 100 units of tractors supplied by North East Commodity Association (NECAS), under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) anchor borrowers programme to boost agriculture.
The state government and the Kingdom of Morocco also agreed to partner in the areas of agricultural development and youth empower as the administration takes steps to accelerate the socio-economic development of the state.
The two sides would work towards the resuscitation of the Gujba Fertiliser Blending Plan and put it back to production so that would have a steady and dependable source of fertiliser. Alhaji Lawan said the governor had within the 100 days in office spent over N3billion in the sector.
The civil service
Since he was sworn-in, he had maintained his predecessor’s status-quo in the prompt payment of salaries of both state and local
government employees, overhead cost, among others.
Buni, also had within his 100 days in office approved N228,914,250.19 for the payment of the benefits of 198 local government retirees of which 42 were deceased while the remaining are still alive.
Works and Transport
Within two weeks on resumption, he inspected
road constructions within the state capital and the multi-billion naira international cargo airport under construction which he urged
the contractors to strictly adhere to the contractual agreement as only
contractors with speedy and quality work would henceforth be awarded contracts.
Weeks later, he flagged off the construction of Buniyadi township road at N673 million, saying the roads and drainages were in fulfillment of his campaigning promises to make life reasonable for everyone.
The state Community and Social Development Programme (CSDP), which emerged the best performing agency in the federation made presentation of N72,245,368.00 cheques for implementation of eight community and
10 group micro-projects in Damaturu.
Buni said since the inception of the agency, it had assisted in the implementation of 260 community micro projects worth over N1.1 billion and over 500, 000 people in various communities across the state have
benefited directly and indirectly.
Also Yobe state government in collaboration with federal government has launched poverty and vulnerable recovery programme: ‘Youth
Employment and Social Operation’ (YESSO) targeting 2,000 youths and vulnerable persons.