Despite the Boko Haram insurgency in Borno and Yobe states, FRANCIS OKOYE, Maiduguri and HUSSAINI JIRGI, Damaturu, write that their governors are focused on bringing development to the people.
It is a consensus among the people of the state that Governor Babagana Umara Zulum is driving Borno to an enviable height that even some states which are peaceful cannot attain.
His audacity has seen him embarked on massive infrastructural development in various local government areas of the state in the same manner he is pursuing the wellbeing of those living in internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps.
Aside from resettling the displaced persons and developing their communities, Zulum has constantly been distributing food and non-food items worth billions of naira to the IDPs to ensure that they enjoy a little level of comfort.
In the first one year of his administration, Governor Zulum executed 326 capital projects and 49 programmes and policies. Twenty-one of the capital projects included the construction of 6,544 sub-urban and low cost houses in 12 local government areas to resettle IDPs and the distribution of 300 surveillance vehicles to security agencies and volunteers.
There were also 76 education projects in 13 local government areas, including 21 newly established schools. The governor also delivered 46 health projects, comprising 37 new primary healthcare centres in 17 councils.
The governor also carried out 40 infrastructural projects in nine LGAs, including 30 new and rehabilitated roads, Borno’s first flyover in Customs Roundabout in Maiduguri, which is currently at the completion stage.
To improve living conditions in the councils, the Zulum administration undertook 53 projects in 21 local government areas, including council secretariats, lodges , police stations, LEA offices, courts and palaces for traditional rulers, 11 of these were new constructions while 42 were reconstructed.
Zulum also delivered 38 compacted water-based capital projects including 213 new boreholes, 18 electrification projects while eight projects were in agriculture. To address mass unemployment, Governor Zulum constructed seven vocational skill and entrepreneurship development projects, among others.
In the industrial sector, Zulum has directed the upgrade of five Borno factories that are operating at low capacity while another nine are in the offing.
The factories are the Neital Shoes which processes animal skin to leather and finished shoes, and four factories located at the industrial hub on Maiduguri-Damaturu Road by then Governor Kashim Shettima, in which 16 chains of factories were set up, most of them for the production of plastic, irrigation equipment and the processing of a variety of agricultural goods.
There are 21 factory-projects in the state capital, some of which are either dormant, at take-off or at very low capacity utilization level.
In a bid to take advantage of Borno’s geographical location with economic gateway to three countries, Zulum has intensified efforts to resuscitate some of the ailing industries.
In Yobe State, it is not an exaggeration that it is fast recovering from the huge economic and infrastructural losses it has suffered from the protracted Boko Haram insurgency which has bedevilled the state for about a decade.
The state suffered wanton destruction of private and public property including schools, health facilities, water sources, electricity supply and many others by the insurgents.
When Governor Mai Mala Buni assumed office on 29th May, 2019, he was conscious of the task ahead of him and the people’s expectations from him. He has been meeting their needs in the face of dwindling financial resources and other challenges.
He started his mission by evolving homegrown measures with a view to promoting peace, security, infrastructural development and economic empowerment of the people.
He described the mandate given to him as an opportunity to improve the living conditions of the people through the mantra of continuity, consolidation and innovation to make Yobe State achieve its full potential.
Buni had said, “I pledge not to betray the trust and confidence the good people of Yobe State reposed in me. I hereby renew the pledge to serve the state to the best of my ability and with utmost sense of responsibility.”
He has since then been exploring and exploiting new opportunities, policies and programmes, locally, nationally and, internationally to expand the existing structures for the delivering of the dividends of democracy to the people.
Buni’s focus has been on security, healthcare delivery, education, economic growth and youth empowerment. He promised to establish a functional primary healthcare centre in each of the 178 political wards across the state. Already, 53 of the proposed healthcare centres have been completed with each of the centres having a consulting room, labour room, male and female wards, well-stocked pharmacy and staff quarters to ensure the presence of medical personnel every time.
The one-storey 200-bed capacity building at the School of Nursing and Midwifery and the maternal and newborn structure under construction will no doubt also contribute to healthcare delivery in the state.
In line with the administration’s policy on industrialisation, Governor Buni has strived to provide an investment-friendly environment and promoted Public Private Partnership (PPP) to attract foreign direct investment to the state.
He has so far resuscitated three dormant industries namely, Sahel Aluminium Company, Yobe Flour and Feed Mills and the Damaturu Polythene Bags to create employment and increase the revenue base of the state.
The Buni administration is also strategising to take advantage of the new Damaturu International Airport nearing completion to transport raw materials and finished products from and into the state to improve the economy of the state
The state’s economy is largely dependent on the federal allocation with very low internally-generated revenue (IGR). Governor Buni is set to change the trend of the state’s dependency on the monthly federal allocation. To achieve this, Buni has provided 50 hectares of land in Potiskum for the construction of a trailer park under the PPP’s arrangement.
The park which is being built in conjunction with the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, will house a mechanic village, hotels, fuel stations and is projected to create over 5,000 direct jobs.
Described by his admirers as gentle, generous, humble, trustworthy, extremely loyal and down-to-earth, Mai Mala has displayed enviable leadership qualities which has endeared to the people of the state.
In an interaction with LEADERSHIP Friday, the state chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Alhaji Mohammed Chilariye, described the Buni administration as fulfilling and promising. “The governor has within two year lived up to our expectations; we will continue to support him to actualise his ambition of improving the lives of the people of the state.”
He expressed satisfaction with the pace of work going on across the state and the commitment of the administration towards economic, social and infrastructural recovery.
“Let me tell you that I am confident that the governor will achieve his set targets having attained these within two years and l want to appreciate the good people of the state for supporting the administration to perform,” Chilariye said.