The sad and devastating impact of the protracted Boko Haram insurgency has had terrifying effects on education, economy and social life of Yobe state and, projecting a seeming bleak future for the state.
When Mai Mala Buni assumed office as the executive Governor of Yobe state on 29th May 2019, he announced working on the mantra of Continuity, Consolidation and innovation, to build on the achievements recorded by the previous administrations and, to introduce new policies, programmes and projects that will move the state forward.
Governor Buni came prepared, focused and calculative on areas identified for immediate intervention to provide a promising future to the state. Education, Healthcare delivery, Agriculture, economic growth and development, youth empowerment, security and infrastructural development among others were captured for immediate and special attention.
To demonstrate his commitment, the governor in his inaugural address declared a ‘State of Emergency’ on basic and secondary education in the state, pledged to establish a functional Primary Healthcare Center in each of the 178 political wards in the state, revamp the economy to reclaim the people’s means of livelihood which was lost to insurgency, engage the youth into productive ventures for gainful employment, provide support to the security and to enhance infrastructural development.
To achieve these, a home grown approach guided by the peculiarities of the state were introduced, and the first ever summit on Education was organized to reposition basic and secondary education in the state. The summit assembled reknown academicians, experienced education administrators, seasoned educationists , parents/guardians and students, to disect the problems associated with basic and secondary education in Yobe state and, to suggest possible solutions to fast track the development of education.
A committee under the chairmanship of Professor Mala Daura, an erudite scholar, former Vice Chancellor, University of Maiduguri and now, Vice Chancellor Yobe State University was constituted. The committee visited 1,439 schools across the state and came up with recommendations for short, intermediate and long term approaches.
The Buni administration wasted no time in implementating the short term measures and thus, constructed and equipped seven model schools of 30 classrooms each in Damaturu, Gashua, Potiskum, Geidam, Buni Yadi and Nguru to decongest over stretched schools and provide conducive teaching and learning environment.
The training of over 3,000 and promotion of 10,000 teachers boosted their morale to remain committed to their work. The project was supported with provision of about 15,000 classroom and staff furniture, just as instructional materials were also made available.
The dream of providing affordable and accessible healthcare delivery by the Buni administration was centered on providing a functional primary healthcare centre in each of the 178 political wards for effective, efficient, affordable and accessible service delivery to the doorstep of the people.
One year after, 53 out of the proposed 178 Primary Healthcare Centers were completed. Each of the 53 new primary healthcare Centers has a consulting room, equipped labour room, pharmacy, laboratory, Male and female wards, conveniences and staff quarters to ensure 24 hours availability of personnel. Similarly, the construction of N1.5 billion Maternal, New-born and Child Health complex at the state university Teaching Hospital Damaturu would support the efforts of curbing child and maternal mortality.
The procurement of 28 tricycle ambulances to tackle transportation of sick persons and expectant mothers to health facilities would no doubt support people in the rural communities to access nearest healthcare facilities. While the reconstruction of General hospital Buni Yadi, destroyed by Boko Haram in 2015 has provided the returnee community with a health facility, just as the new contributory Healthcare scheme for state and local government workers was introduced to access effective healthcare services.
Like the education sector, the first ever summit on agriculture was also organized to revitalize and unlock the huge agricultural potentials in the state to support it move away from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture. Government procured 103 Massey Ferguson tractors and 9,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer which were sold to farmers at subsidized rates to promote farming being the mainstay of the people for economic recovery and food security.
As part of the economic recovery measure, the resuscitation of the state owned aluminium factory, Flour and Feed mills and the Woven sacks company by the Buni administration, has created several employment opportunities with a chain value in transport business, food vendors etc. Similarly, the Damaturu modern market under construction, and the newly signed Gashua and Potiskum markets awarded for construction would provide the enabling environment for increased volume in both local and international trades and spur economic growth. While, the Potiskum Trailer Transit camp and mechanic village under construction would generate 5,000 direct job opportunities.
The engagement of youth who are vulnerable to social vices into various trades such as paint making, automobile repairs, GSM repairs and Social media training and supported with starter funds, provides them with opportunity for self reliance and economic empowerment.
For the people of Garin Bingel, Gubana, Buni Yadi, Jajimaji, Damagum, Babbangida and Malam Matari, the construction of roads and execution of 26 electrification projects executed in Sunsuma, Shekau, Koriyel, Kasaisa, Waziri Ibrahim extension, Pawari, Dikumari, Potiskum, Gashua and others, has justified the reconstruction and recovery drive of the Buni administration.
As the state enjoys relative peace and security, government has shown great commitment to the completion of the multi Billion Naira Yobe International Cargo airport whose runway was recently test landed with two aircrafts and His Excellency Governor Mai Mala Buni with his personal staff enjoyed maiden flight from the Damaturu cargo airport to Abuja, just as finishing touches are on going and getting set for commissioning.
- Mamman Mohammed is director-general, Press and Media Affairs, to Yobe State governor.
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