Your Excellency sir, you deserve congratulations on your election. Never in the history of Yobe state has a candidate been so overwhelmingly accepted by virtually every one as you. The day you emerged the candidate of your party was the day people started counting the days to your inauguration. That was for those who were not privileged to know you well before.
For those who knew you earlier, the tell-tale signs that you would sooner govern your beloved state were obvious. You are one of the most intelligent, generous, open, embracing and considerate politicians who has friends everywhere and enemies nowhere ever to come out of the state. Above all, you are a real bridge-builder with a listening ear to all who can whisper and a broad shoulder for the head of the sorrowing.
Your election has rekindled hope in the generality of the people. Previously, one had to be from a particular elite class to make even the slightest of impact as an aspirant. The state was drifting towards being the playground of those with abundant but questionable wealth, those who have been in the corridors of power since its (Yobe’s) creation and those who have the ears of the “owners” and their political recruitment methods. They were also preparing to enslave the state for their children and their anointed.
With your emergence, you have opened the state up to the deserving. Any honest Yobean can now rise up, beat his chest and aspire for greatness since he now knows and believes he is a stakeholder and that his children, too, have hope.
Anywhere an election that brings a government on board is tainted by force or subterfuge will know little peace unless, or until, the wrong is righted. Yours was clean. It was the choice of God exercised through the electorate. Your administration will witness the peace that comes with people knowing it is their choice at the driving seat.
With less than ten days to your inauguration, you must know the expectations of people from you are high. To whom much is given, it is said, much is expected. Perhaps, never before has the expectation been this high apart from the expectations after Yobe’s “independence” from Borno on August 27, 1991.
Yobe can be the proverbial land flowing with milk and honey – the food basket of the nation: a land where no man is, or feels, oppressed; where every citizen deserves the opportunity to excel and where government officials can be considerate and always make the collective good of all their primary interest.
But the followership has its part to play. It must be able to shun sycophancy, always tell the leadership the truth, and embrace hard work and belief, for it is within its fold that leaders spring.
Out of many, God, in His infinite wisdom, chose you. It must be for a purpose, which is incumbent upon you to fulfil. Your mission is not in the dark; He has it cut out for you. And, surely, He has equipped you for the task because He does not do things at random. And out of many, you will pick those you will delegate responsibilities to. Yobe is yours as God has willed. You are the father of all, irrespective of party affiliation, tribe or which corner of the state one comes from.
Your aides must be made to know that the purpose you are entrusting them with responsibilities is not to impoverish your people or marginalise any of them on account of any mundane reason. They must be just and fair, not vindictive and biased in whatever guise. They must know that the people are entrusted to you by God. Leaving worthy legacies are far better than leaving mountains of gold and silver.
Since the 1950s, our (all over Nigeria in general) campaign issues have always revolved around pipe-borne water, poor hospitals, bad roads, fallen standard of education, lack of agricultural inputs, etc, and they are still the campaign issues of today and from all indications, I am afraid, of tomorrow.
Lay these issues to rest so that your 2023 re-election campaign will be on the Next Level.
Nigerian parents and governments now send their children to Ghana, Togo, Niger, Benin Republic and Sudan to study. I do not have to talk of Turkey, Europe, America, Asia or the Middle East. How many Chadian parents send their wards to Nigeria to study? But this outgoing administration has built a school where children from all over the country come to study. More qualitative and specialised schools that can rid the state of out-of-school children, thereby nipping potential social strife in the bud, need to be built.
The giant strides in health care delivery should be maintained to the extent that Nigerians who rush abroad for medical treatment can come down to Yobe for solutions to their health challenges.
Agriculture with value-adding infrastructure should be enhanced. Therein is a promise for massive economic engagement that can cut unemployment by half as well as lay the foundation for industrialisation. This will, no doubt, improve personal income and internally generated revenue for the state.
There is no need to cry and despair over foreign investors. That, of course, does not mean they cannot be courted; if they come, fine, if they don’t, fine, just re-orientate the state’s outlook and world view. The state is blessed with natural resources that Nigerians have the capacity to develop, individually and collectively. Pursue that and, without begging, investors will troop in.
Another matter you may want to look into is the issue of Umrah in the last ten days of Ramadan. This time every year almost leaves the state empty with governance taking the back seat.
This Ramadan, because of baton changes almost all over the country, will be different. Government officials will remain behind and this shows that if their going to Umrah was solely to seek the face of Allah, nothing should stop them from going.
In the Daily Trust of October 10, 2008, Malam Adamu Adamu, in his column entitled Memo to Umrah Returnees, gave a perspective into what Muslims spend on Umrah. The sum, though colossal, was only for Umrah during the month of Ramadan.
His estimate was N20.625 billion annually, which corresponds to N206.25 billion in 10 years. But I believe this figure to be a conservative estimate. And do not forget that the dollar was about N200 in 2008.
Agreed that such a huge sum was for the whole country, but Yobe, relative to its size and revenue, too, spends a lot on that. A third of the amount would go a long way to improving the school systems, water, power, agriculture, health, etc. Such amount, spent in the right way, would go a long way to alleviating the socio-economic pressure that most households are grappling with.
But because we lack depth and are inconsiderate of essence, a man’s neighbour(s) may be wallowing in abject poverty while he indulges in such annual rituals and gloating in the pride of owning mansions, exotic cars, hundreds of millions, shares in choice companies and all that shows that one has “arrived”.
To make matters worse, government business towards the end of Ramadan in almost every state, not only Yobe, but in all of the north, comes to a halt because every public officer has gone for Umrah. Yet, one can stay at home and develop ones soul more than an Umrarite.
While it is not a bad idea to go on such religious sojourns, it would be a welcome idea if state funds are not used indiscriminately. Yobe needs every kobo ploughed into its development.
Not many states, including those in America and Europe, were as developed as Yobe when they were of the same age it is now. This is a fact. But while it is also a fact that the industrialised nations went through the evolutionary stages of development, most modern nations less than 80 years old jumped a lot of stages in their bid to develop, just like many toddlers are known to jump the stage of crawling to that of walking.
It has worked for some. But for some, they must pay the price while others are already paying. For those who it is working for, they were blessed with good leadership. Yobeans believe they have that kind of a leader in you.
Succeed you must. Seek His guidance and protection. Failure is not yours and, in shaa Allah, because you hate failure and your election has His stamp, those who may think they can tie you down will forever remain disappointed, Your Excellency.