Governor Buni, poverty alleviation and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

When Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe state took over the mantle of the state’s leadership, his top priority was, and remains, the empowerment of Yobe people. To this end, one of his first actions was the declaration of State of Emergency in the education sector.

There is little doubt that education is key to empowerment because an educated person, when that education is deployed positively, can more readily take advantage of opportunities in his environment to take care of at least his basic needs and those of his dependants.

Apart from splitting the behemoth education ministry into two – that of basic and secondary education and that of tertiary education –  and appointing very competent hands as their commissioners, he also offered over seven hundred foreign scholarships to those deserving to pursue first and postgraduate degrees.

On the home front, he has also put a master plan in place to upgrade the primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in the state, just as he has recruited more qualified teachers and retrained those already on the job.

As a further means to make learning more conducive, bursary allowances were increased and paid, with law graduates going to the law school getting almost N400,000 and a laptop each.

Perhaps knowing that an educated but unhealthy person’s abilities can be dwarfed, he also went all out to consolidate the health care gains of the Senator Ibrahim Gaidam government. His government has embarked on providing modern health care facilities to each ward of the state. Not done, he recently bought motorcycle ambulances that can effectively access every nook and cranny the state which conventional ambulances cannot. The marvel of this, apart from being on top of emergency calls, is the cost-effectiveness of the scheme as the cost of a conventional ambulance can equal ten of these.

But a hungry, educated and healthy person can be a danger to society if idle because the devil may turn his mind into a workshop. To forestall idleness, he has embarked on projects that would give employment – direct and indirect – to tens of thousands of Yobe youths.

The ongoing Trailer Park construction in Potiskum has given employment to all cadres of persons, including food vendors. When the park is completed, it is estimated that at least 15,000 jobs would be created. 

This story is the same for the ongoing market construction in Damaturu and, soon, five other towns. Already, the state’s fledgling industries like the Sahel Aluminium Roof Company in Potiskum, Nguru Oil Mill, Fertiliser Blending Plant in Gujba, Asphalt Company and many others have been resuscitated and are approaching full production capacity.

All these projects are sure sources of further employment opportunities as well as more internally generated revenue for the state.

In all this, the governor has fashioned out a policy he holds dear. This he calls ‘Yobe First’, but many of his admirers have renamed it Buniconomics. Its thrust is to give ALL contracts to Yobe indigenes except where none can execute them. But even then, materials MUST be sourced from the state where available. This curtails capital flight and complements his government’s effort to alleviate poverty and empower the populace.  This philosophy underpins all his policies in education, health agriculture and infrastructure development.

This brings Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory to mind. Professor Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist who was born on April 1, 1908, and died on June 8, 1970.

His theory was predicated on fulfilling innate human needs according to priority, culminating in self-actualization. It stresses the importance of focusing on the positive qualities in people, as opposed to treating them as a “bag of symptoms.”

Basically, Maslow theorized that man progresses from fulfilling basic needs. The needs he summed up as beginning with Physiological needs, Safety needs, Social belonging, Self-esteem (or Social needs) and rising to Self-actualisation.

In other words, man first must satisfy himself with basic needs, i.e. shelter, food, health, safety, love, education before he can comfortably move up – or be really human.

Often projected in pyramid-like form, according to Wikipedia, “the most fundamental and basic four layers of the pyramid contain what Maslow called “deficiency needs” or “d-needs”: esteem, friendship and love, security, and physical needs. If these “deficiency needs” are not met – with the exception of the most fundamental (physiological) need – there may not be a physical indication, but the individual will feel anxious and tense. Maslow’s theory suggests that the most basic level of needs must be met before the individual will strongly desire (or focus motivation upon) the secondary or higher-level needs.”

This means that in order for motivation to rise to the next stage, each stage must be satisfied within the individual themselves.

A widely read, traveled and experienced leader, Governor Buni must be aware of Maslow’s theory and the basic psychology of life.

The north-eastern region of the country is no doubt the backwaters of the country. Unfortunately, still, Yobe State is arguably the least developed in the region. It is definitely not a thing to be proud of, to bring up the rear in all indices of human development.

To develop a state, the people must be developed, and for people to develop, they must be able to cater for their basic needs. This is essentially what Maslow was saying and this is exactly what Governor Buni aims at with his Buninomics of Yobe First.

To this end the governor has initiated empowerment programmes for youths of the state to be able to satisfy their basic needs and contribute to the development of the state and the nation.

They include the training of 570 youths from the 17 local government areas of the state on paint production after which they were each empowered with the tools and start-up capital for text coat and paint production business.

The Buni administration has also commissioned 185 youths trained by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) office in digital photography. Each was presented with a set of digital cameras and other photography tools. 

The BUNI Automotive 2020 is another skills acquisition programme in Advanced Automobile Skills also organised by the Coordination Office of the SDGs in the state in which 50 indigenous auto mechanics were trained with advanced skills in automobile (vehicle diagnosis through the computer) work at PAN Learning Centre, Kakuri, Kaduna.

The administration has also ensured the training for 170 in Agric Business, Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AGMEIS) for citizens of Yobe under the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Social and Community Development, and in partnership with CBN-NIRSAL Microfinance Bank after which each person was empowered with a N10 million loan as start-up capital from a revolving fund so as to boost their small and medium businesses in the agriculture sector.

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