The unveiling of a 25-year development plan, which is part of the efforts to launch Borno state into recovery by Governor Babagana Umara Zulum, is a welcome development for a state that has been ravaged by a decade-long Boko Haram insurgency.
Zulum, who launched the plan penultimate Saturday in Maiduguri, said it included a 10-year transformation strategy that set out key priorities and action plans for the short, medium and long term implementation phases.
“The vision of this plan is to ensure that in the next 10 years, that is by 2030, we transform this insurgency-ravaged society into a peaceful, stable and self-reliant society with over 70 per cent productive population.
“In the next 25 years, that is, by 2045, we wish to deliver a secured and prosperous society that is a leading regional agri-business and commercial hub which connects and supplies the markets of Central Africa, to the south, the Nile valley to the east and North Africa to the North.
“This will make Borno State to be the great stabilizing power in tropical Africa, a role which the old Borno Empire played for centuries, he added.
The governor identified five driving pillars that are critical to achieving the vision of the plan to include: Human Capital Development, Leadership in Agriculture, Healthy Citizenry, Sustainable Environment and Regional Trade Hub for Commerce that will deliver jobs and prosperity to the citizens.
“These pillars will stand on the strong foundations of Peace and Security; Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement; Purposeful infrastructure and, above all, Accountable Governance,’’ Zulum said.
The governor warned any individual or group that would want to sabotage the plan, just as he called on all development partners, international and local non-governmental organisations to key into the programme for their good and the good of Borno state.
He said that his administration, as part of the recovery plan, will ensure the relocation and resettlement of all IDPs back to their ancestral communities, adding that all IDP camps in Maiduguri will be shut down completely latest by May, 2021.
“We need our partners to support the MDAS that they would work closely with our civil servants. There will be robust monitoring and evaluation mechanism to track the level of implementation.
“This administration under my leadership will not allow any individual to sabotage this very good initiative. I wish to call development partners and good people of Borno state to really round this good initiative irrespective of political affiliation, because this is development and not politics.
“This plan represents our future, not our fact. Borno state is a state in Nigeria, therefore, our independence is key to all member nations. Therefore, the 25 years development plan is presented not only to the people of Borno state but to the partners.
“Anybody or organisation who is willing to invest in Borno state must follow this plan. That is something that is important to all of us. We are currently having 192 NGOs in Borno state. We welcome all their development. They have been with us through thick and thin. We are grateful to them.
“What the Borno government is wishing from them that they should let into our development plans, we want to identify who is working in Borno state. We want to know where you are working and what you are doing in Borno state. This is fundamental to us.
It is instructive that President Muhammadu Buhari had in 2017 assented to the North East Development Commission (Establishment) Bill, 2017 into an Act of the National Assembly. The president noted that the commission had the mandate to receive and manage funds allocated by the federal government and international donor agencies for the resettlement, rehabilitation, integration and reconstruction of roads, houses and business premises of victims of insurgency.
He added that the Act would also help in tackling the menace of poverty and environmental challenges in the North-east. “It provides for offices of Chairman, Managing Director, Executive Director (Administration and Finance), Executive Director (Humanitarian Affairs), Executive Director (Operations) and members representing the North East Zone to be rotated amongst member states of the commission,” he said.
“The commission will, among other things, coordinate projects and programmes within the Master Plan for the rehabilitation, resettlement, reconciliation, reconstruction and sustainable development of the North-East Zone.
“This will be done in the field of infrastructure, human and social services, including health and nutrition, education and water supply, agriculture, wealth creation and employment opportunities, urban and rural development and poverty alleviation.
“The commission will also liaise with federal ministries, departments, agencies, states and development partners on implementation of all measures approved in the Master Plan for stabilization and development of the North-East by the federal government.
While commending the Borno state governor and, by extension the Buhari government, for the determination and commitment to rebuild the state that had been devastated by the seemingly intractable Boko Haram insurgency, we enjoin corporate Nigeria as well as international donor agencies not to rest on their oars in the restoration of normalcy not only to Borno state, which is the epicentre of the insurgency, but the entire North-east zone.