One of the major outcomes of the 2019 general elections in Nigeria is the electoral victory of the National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mai Mala Buni, as the elected Governor of Yobe state. A seasoned administrator and core party loyalist, who is consistent with the party right from its early days; and through the coalescing political party metamorphosis to the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mai Mala Buni has demonstrated excellent qualities as a man of integrity, discipline, intelligence, and self control.
His rise from Yobe state chairmanship position of the party to become the national secretary of the APC is mainly attributable to his goodwill and proven sense of dedication and leadership acumen. As an accomplished party administrator, it was not surprising that, at the height of the search for a most capable hand for the post of national secretary of the ruling party at the centre, Buni’s nomination attracted overwhelming support and approval from both the leadership and followership of the party.
Mai Mala Buni is a man of courage, consideration, and understanding. He is a dependable leader whose selflessness is never in doubt. The people of Yobe state might just not know how much leadership favour they have attracted to the state by this trust of their mandate which they lavishly bequeathed to him on March 9, 2019.
In his acceptance speech after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared him the Yobe state governor-elect, Mai-Mala Buni, in his characteristic disposition of building bridges of friendship, the spirit of magnanimity in victory, and leadership charisma of all-inclusiveness, urged the opposition parties in the state to join hands with him and move the state forward.
“To those who did not vote for us, the elections are over and we still remain the good people of Yobe. I extend hands of fellowship to every one of you to join hands with me and contribute meaningfully to the development of our state,” he beckoned.
Reiterating his determination to justify the confidence reposed in him by the good people of Yobe state, Buni said, “I also want to thank you immensely for the confidence reposed in me and my election as the state governor. I promise to justify this confidence, make your choice a worthy investment and pledge to make our state the pride of all”.
The Yobe state governor-elect said he will embark on massive investments in agriculture as a mitigating force against unemployment and poverty reduction in the state. Agriculture, he explained, will unlock the abundant economic potential of the state through youth empowerment and deliberate policies that will lift the poor population out of poverty and make them self-reliant and economically and financially independent.
He assured that his administration will not deviate from the educational policy trust of Governor Ibrahim Gaidam and ensure that all Yobeans of school age get quality education in the state.
“Our basic foundation of school, the primary schools, will be given a quantum leap as a deliberate paradigm shift to change the narratives in our basic education system in the state,” Mai Mala Buni said.
The governor-elect, who had worked closely and meritoriously with President Muhammadu Buhari as the national secretary of the ruling APC, said President Buhari has fulfilled promises he made, especially in the area of infrastructural projects and security of lives in the country.
“This is an opportunity for us to connect with the centre and enjoy all the benefits that connect us with the centre. Yobe people and the entire North-east will remain grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari for securing our land. Before now, you cannot stand here but today, we are traversing through the nooks and crannies of the state because of the improvement of security,” Mai Mala said.
Mai Mala Buni is a thorough party man and a grassroots politician, who rose through the ranks to become the senior special assistant to the governor on legislative matters, the pioneer chairman of the APC in Yobe state as well as the national secretary of the party. He played a stabilising role in the APC, which earned him a re-election into the post. Mai Mala Buni has developed a political network of friends across the country, particularly when he served as the national secretary of the APC. In fact, his office was the rallying point for state governors, members of the National Assembly, ministers, party faithful and political bigwigs. He discharged his function with such precision and efficiency, which earned him silent visibility across the country.
With his background as a core politician with network of friends across the country, the governor-elect is definitely an asset to Yobe because of his capacity to bring the state into national political limelight and attract various development projects from the federal government. Yobe is a rural state with various challenges of development. The state also had its own bitter taste of the Boko Haram insurgency, which practically stalled development in areas that have direct impact on the human capital development indices.
The insurgency caused economic dislocation and disrupted the social life of the state. The out-going Governor Gaidam has performed excellently in building the confidence of the citizenry in the government as well as the provision of infrastructure and social services ranging from health care delivery to schools, roads, agriculture, etc. All eyes are now on Mai Mala Buni to consolidate on the achievements of Governor Gaidam and equally expand the frontiers of development in Yobe state.
As a member of the APC followership, and, indeed, a core party loyalist of whom the benefits of Mai Mala Buni’s good leadership initiatives and human face administration, not only in the party national secretariat but down the states and local governments rungs, have been manifest, I am positive of the tremendous impact which his leadership ingenuity would bring to bear on Yobe state. I am also positive that Mai Mala Buni has the capacity to take the developmental strides already set by his predecessor to the next level. God grant him the grace!
Okoi is an Abuja based Civil Society activist and political commentator.