Throw up and win by the Buni govt

Since the assumption of office Mai Mala Buni on May 29, 2019, as governor of Yobe state, the state has been retrogressing in many aspects. Debt stock has taken a historical all time high with clear incongruity to the IGR, tagging of Yobe state as that with emergency in education has now transitioned from insecurity-driven emergency in education to poor governance-driven emergency in education, the state is now witnessing substandard infrastructure, and above all, negligence/poor administration is struggling to become the working language in the state.

One of the quickest and most captivating moves made by Governor Buni in his earliest time in office was declaring the state of emergency on education. People were excited and hopeful that Buni administration will solve one of their most daunting challenges. They assumed that children of the poor will be exposed to quality education with standard infrastructure and teachers will have the best welfare ever. A committee on education revitalisation was set and immediately commenced activities.

Today, even after the submission of the committee’s report, what is happening in education in the state is worse than how his administration met it. The hope people had in them is gone, the excitement flipped over and turned to a deep sorrow, people are only witnessing the opposite of what they were been promised.

It began with slashing of teachers’ salaries with no explanation whatsoever. This was followed by the non implementation of teachers’ promotions, they were issued promotion letters that are taking forever to be implemented.

Boarding schools nearly closed across the state due to the inability of the government to pay the food vendors.

According to a report published on July 1, 2022, by ‘Daily Nigerian’ most of the 140 contractors engaged by the state government were not paid; a debt of N1.4 billion. This has resulted in the contractors threatening the state government that they’ll discontinue their services which will undoubtedly lead to the compulsory closure of the schools. Similarly, the Nigerian Tulip International College Yobe are recently seen to be sending messages to parents and teachers informing them of the indefinite postponement of resumption date.

The people in the state are crying out loud and referring to the emergency on education that was declared as a throw up and win by the Buni administration.

Glancing at Yobe state debt stock, according to a report by the Debt Management Office (DMO), the agency responsible for coordinating the management of Nigeria’s debt, as at 30th June 2019, when Governor Buni was only one month in office, the debt stock of Yobe state was N27.4 billion.

According to most recent report by the DMO, as at 31st March 2022 – when Governor Buni was less than three years in office, the debt stock had skyrocketed to N88.147 billion. This is translated as Buni administration borrowing about N60.682 billion in less than three years. It doesn’t stop there, the most pitiable thing is that the state is not witnessing any capital projects that are generating revenue or attracting investors.

Is this not cluelessness? Where is the money going? What is the fate of Yobeans and Yobe if this should continue for another four years? ‘I am asking all these because I don’t know’. We need to start searching for answers otherwise our future and that of our children is at stake.

States like Kaduna were able to develop substantive plans in education, indigenes’ welfare, infrastructure, among others, and they are doing remarkably well. According to a report by Channels Television on 29th June 2022, Kaduna state has attracted both local and foreign investments worth $4.2 billion. Their debt stock dropped from N97 billion in June 2019 to N72 billion in March 2022. With such examples, where is Yobe heading to?

Pictures going round the social media are showing how the recently concluded houses are being destroyed by rain and wind due to their substandard nature. Some unconfirmed reports are even saying some of the beneficiaries are returning their allocations for the above reason. This can be seen as purely a lack of substantive and proper monitoring and supervising structure. When one looks at states like Borno and the likes of Governor Babagana Zulum, seen supervising and monitoring projects by himself, one just wishes for the Zulumization of his own state.

Not just wishing to have Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna or Governor Zulum of Borno state, we also have an alternative, we have a role to play, to bring change, not just an ordinary one but a better change. It is high time we started holding our leaders accountable.

The days of remaining silent are gone, the days of no action are also gone. When the call to get your PVC is loud, it is the call to secure our future, it is the call to secure the future of our children and that of our grandchildren.

We should hold our PVCs closely and go out to address whatever we think is not going well, otherwise we shouldn’t blame anyone even when our children ask us questions in the future.

Atiyaye writes from

Damaturu, Yobe state via

[email protected]