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Assessing Mala Buni’s Five Years of Reconstructing Yobe

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Assessing Mala Buni’s Five Years of Reconstructing Yobe

That Yobe state in recent past was nearly brought to its kneel by Boko Haram insurgents is no news, the news is how well it has fared since the push back of these non-state actors, a story of reconstruction, resettlement and rehabilitation which was executed by Governor Mai Mala Buni. Michael Olugbode takes a critical look at what has been achieved in Yobe state in the last five years.

Yobe was one of the tripartite BAY states that Boko Haram laid siege to for over a decade and reined terror on, destroying every factor of production – land, labour, capital and entrepreneur. The land was nearly desolate when Mai Mala Buni took charge as Governor on May 29, 2019. Though nothing should be taken away from Ibrahim Gaidam who for a large stretch of his administration withstood the destructive insurgents and was able to squeeze out sizable impact, but there was no doubt that the state needs a midas touch and perhaps a magician to be brought back to life on the exit of Gaidam. 

Entered Buni, who was thrown the challenges of bringing a state from the throes of destruction into an era of live with the onerous task of reconstruction, resettlement and rehabilitation. 

Buni immediately after he was sworn in made a vow saying: “This is a new mandate that will enable us to continue with the implementation of far reaching policies and programmes towards making Yobe State achieve its full potentials to greatness through the policy of Continuity And Consolidation of legacy achievements recorded by the administration of Alhaji  Ibrahim Gaidam.

“In keeping with the Oath of Office and Oath of Allegiance just administered on me, I seek the guidance of Almighty Allah (SWT) to enable us deliver on our promises and to abide by their tenets. I and my Deputy also pledge to citizens of Yobe State that, we will work to justify the confidence and trust reposed in us.”

He added that: “I hereby renew the pledge to serve the State to the best of my ability and with utmost sense of responsibility.

“It is evidently clear, that a lot of efforts have been made to provide security, qualitative healthcare, improved education, massive infrastructural development especially road construction and agricultural development, among others, to add value to the lives of the people. These laudable achievements had no doubt improved the quality of lives of the people.

“Under the new administration therefore, these sectors will continue to be given the desired attention they deserve. The new government will explore and exploit new avenues and opportunities locally, nationally and, internationally, to improve and expand the existing structured policies and programmes for delivering maximum dividends of democracy to the people.

We will take advantage of our State belonging to the ruling national government to make federal presence more visible and efficient, to contribute to the development of the State, and improve the lives of the people.

“Government will pursue every opportunity with high sense of responsibility to ensure that, what rightly belongs to the State in terms of appointments, projects and programmes are given to the state. This administration would partner with our national legislators to pursue our entitlements with vigour. We will ensure that our state’s quota in federal appointments are fully accessed and occupied by our people.”

Buni particularly pointed out areas to be given priority to include: security, education, health care delivery, agriculture (with special focus of production of gum arabic, sesame seeds and livestock), water supply, rural electrification, tourism, resettlement, reconstruction and rehabilitation, civil service and traditional institutions.

That he delivered on his first term mandate of four years has been judged by the people of Yobe State who gave him a second term of another four years.

At his second term inauguration, he acknowledged the challenges he faced in his first term saying: “We are all aware of the global and national challenges facing humanity including low crude oil price, debt crisis, decrease in foreign exchange earnings, diminishing allocation from the federation account, the COVID-19 pandemic, and economic recession. 

“Furthermore, the effects of global warming and climate change have compounded the situation leading to excessive flooding with its attendant adverse consequences on the socio-economy of our people.

He, however, stated that: “We have made progress during the last four years, and we will continue to do so until our last day in office,” and also vowed to continue the post insurgency recovery, peace and security; healthcare delivery; agriculture; education; infrastructure; commerce; mass housing; water resources and environment; law and order; governance and accountability; public service reforms; wealth creation, and minerals resources development.

A person who was in Damaturu or elsewhere in the state during the commencement of Buni’s administration and on a visit now would definitely see that the state has had a touch of magic, and this was what was showcased to journalists who were invited to see Buni’s Midas Touch.

At the Yobe State University, for instance, one of the points of attraction was the Biomedical Science Research and Training Centre (BioRTC), the BioRTC is home to equipment valued at over N1 billion, acquired through grants and donations secured by Dr Mahmoud Bukar Maina, with robust support from Governor Buni.

Key equipment include Zeiss Laser Scanning Confocal Microscopes 780 and 700, LI-COR Odyssey imaging system, Applied Biosystems, 7300 Real-Time PCR system, full tissue culture suite, Cellular biobank, Nikon Eclipse Microscope 50i with fluorescence, Bio-Rad Mini-Protean System, UVP BioDoc-It imaging systems and others.

It was learnt that the clinical significance of some of the equipment includes the ability to visualize detailed cellular structures, and live cell imaging capabilities to help in observing dynamic processes within cells in real time.

Researchers were on hand to tell journalists that the Multicolor Fluorescence Imaging enables the simultaneous visualization of multiple fluorescent markers, aiding in complex biological studies such as cancer research, neuroscience and developmental biology, while the Full Tissue Culture Suite which facilitates Drug Testing and Development enables the screening of potential drugs on cultured cells, and accelerating the development of new therapies.

At the Yobe State University Teaching Hospital, the Chief Medical Director, Professor Baba Waru Goni, said hundreds of people receive kidney dialysis for free.

“It is all for free while we continue with the research to find a lasting solution to the problem. It is practically impossible for the poor to pay at least N50,000 for a session of dialysis. We thank the governor for his magnanimity,” the CMD said.

A tour by the newsmen without security escorts across the state was without a breach and showed peace has finally returned. 

In Machina, a local government that took about three hours to drive to from Damaturu, the state capital, the Commissioner of Commerce, Hon. Kaigama Umar showed an industry on the rise, the Sesame seed development centre, which he said: “is to add value to the value chain of sesame seed production. Yobe is one of the leading states that produce sesame.

“But our farmers are not getting value for their money. This is why this centre was established. We have three others in other parts of the state, including Potiskum,” Umar said. 

The journalists were able to see great markets built by the governor, the massive Trailers Park, the connecting road, a cargo airport inherited from last administration nearing completion, among others.

In fact, the Secretary to the State Government, Baba Malam Wali, who represented Governor Buni at a press conference was definitely proud and confident to roll out the achievements of the government in the last five years.

He said among others that, “You may agree with me that the present administration has been consolidating on the achievements of successive administrations by making progress in manpower training and intensifying efforts to increase internally generated revenue collection and strengthening the Treasury Single Account.

“The reforms and new approaches adopted enable us to minimize leakages in the execution of government businesses and record landmark achievements in the implementation of policies such as the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), State Fiscal, Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) and the Electronic Government Procurement System (e-GP) has fetched us commendation of the Federal Ministry of Finance and by the World Bank. 

“Similarly, the World Bank awarded us a grant of 5 million dollars due to our reforms, which are in tandem with world best practices in procurement, Annual Auditor General’s Report and other fiscal reforms,” he said.

He noted that: “With the scarce resources at our disposal, we have been able to complete the rehabilitation of Katarko-Goniri and Siminti-Godowoli roads while rehabilitation work is ongoing along Geidam-Bukarti, Bayamari-Yunusari and Yunusari-Kanamma roads.

“We are undertaking new intercommunity road construction projects of the Damaturu-Kalallawa 25.5-kilometer dual carriageway for easier access to the Muhammadu Buhari International Cargo airport; and completed the dualization of the Abattoir Junction-New Bye-pass Roundabout along Potiskum road for smooth movement of high rate of traffic.

“We are also constructing the Damagum-Gubana, Bulanguwa-Kumagannam, Nguru-Bulanguwa, Danchuwa-Garin Abba-Garin Bingel, Chumbusko-Tagali, Nguru Highway-Karasuwa Galu town, Fika-Maluri, Jaji Maji-Karasuwa town and Kukuri-Chukuriwa-Dawasa intercommunity roads, among others.” 

He concluded by saying Yobe is ripe for investors and assured that security of life and property will remain their watchword.

Definitely Buni has done greatly for Yobe, and he is having a bonus three years to etch his name into the annals of governors in the state nay the country that have used their tenure well to impact on their states. (THISDAY)

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