Inaugural Address by the Governor-Elect of Yobe State, His Excellency, Honourable Mai Mala Buni On The Occasion Of His Inauguration And Swearing-In Ceremony At The Banquet Hall, Government House Damaturu On Wednesday 29th May 2019
Ladies and Gentlemen
Today marks yet another milestone in the history of our dear state with administering of Oath of Office on my humble self as Governor and, His Excellency, Alhaji Idi Barde Gubana, as Deputy Governor of Yobe State. This day, marks the beginning of a new administration which you, the good people of Yobe State, conscientiously voted into office on March, 9th 2019.
This is a new mandate that will enable us to continue with the implementation of far reaching policies and programmes towards making Yobe State achieve its full potentials to greatness through the policy of CONTINUITY AND CONSOLIDATION of legacy achievements recorded by the administration of His Excellency, Alhaji (Dr.) Ibrahim Gaidam FCNA, FCPA.
In keeping with the Oath of Office and Oath of Allegiance just administered on me, I seek the guidance of Almighty Allah (SWT) to enable us deliver on our promises and to abide by their tenets. I and my Deputy also pledge to citizens of Yobe State that, we will work to justify the confidence and trust reposed in us.
Your Excellences, Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, you may recall that on 29th September, 2018, on the occasion of our courtesy call and thank you visit to His Excellency, Alhaji (Dr.) Ibrahim Gaidam, following my nomination and endorsement as the Governorship aspirant and eventually the APC candidate in our State, I pledge not to betray the trust and confidence, His Excellency and the 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.
There is no doubt that His Excellency, Alhaji (Dr.) Ibrahim Gaidam, FCNA, FCPA, had placed Yobe State on the path of greatness. His leadership is a reflection of the thoughts of Muhammed Bello Ibn Usman Danfodio where he says “If the Almighty Allah wishes people good, He gives leadership in their affairs to the best of them. Such leaders would lead the community or State in the right path and put matters in correct places. They would seek the advice of people who have ideas that are handy in solving problems” His Excellency Alhaji (Dr.) Ibrahim Gaidam had indeed proved to be the architect of modem Yobe.
While registering our profound appreciation and sincere gratitude to His Excellency, I wish to reassure him that, we would continue to draw inspiration from his wisdom and wealth of experience to sustain, deepen and widen the legacies of his administration.
May I take the opportunity provided by this gathering to equally appreciate the National and State leadership of our great party, party elders, women, youths and indeed all supporters of our great party, the APC for their unprecedented support, guidance and wise counsel before, during and after the 2019 general elections.
My debt of gratitude also goes to the Director-General and members of our State Campaign Organization for the 2019 general elections. I also thank notable individuals, groups and organizations at all levels for providing strategic direction which contributed towards ensuring total and land slide victory for all candidates fielded for elective positions by our great party.
Their love and support for our party has clearly confirmed the fact that Yobe State is indeed the home of APC and this shall be maintained, In-sha Allah.
As the elections are over, and the mantle of leadership has, at this occasion been bestowed on us through the Oath of Office we took just a while ago, we, the good people of Yobe State, have today commenced writing another chapter in the history of our State.
May I, therefore, remind us all that, this is a collective project and responsibility? We should work together in making this administration to succeed in serving the State diligently and meritoriously, to make life more meaningful to our people and, to make Yobe State a better place for all.
I therefore solicit the support, cooperation and prayers of everyone in the state for our administration to succeed in serving the people better. We will also continue to tap from the rich experiences and successes of our past leaders, fellow politicians, seasoned bureaucrats and technocrats, the academia, the business community, farmers and indeed members of all trade groups to enable them contribute their quota to the building a virile and prosperous State for the benefit of all.
It is evidently clear, that a lot of efforts have been made to provide security, qualitative healthcare, improved education, massive infrastructural development especially road construction and agricultural development among others, to add value to the lives of the people. These laudable achievements had no doubt improved the quality of lives of the people.
Under the new administration therefore, these sectors will continue to be given the desired attention they deserve. The new government will explore and exploit new avenues and opportunities locally, nationally and, internationally, to improve and expand the existing structured policies and programmes for delivering maximum dividends of democracy to the people.
We will take advantage of our State belonging to the ruling national government to make Federal presence more visible and efficient, to contribute to the development of the State, and improve the lives of the people.
Government will pursue every opportunity with high sense of responsibility to ensure that, what rightly belongs to the State in terms of appointments, projects and programmes are given to the state. This administration would partner with our national legislators to pursue our entitlements with vigour. We will ensure that our State’s quota in Federal appointments are fully accessed and occupied by our people.
In this regard, a vibrant DESK OFFICE will be established at the Abuja Liaison Office to monitor and pursue our dues and entitlements. The era of short changing the State is over. I wish to reassure you that this administration will, In-sha Allah be responsive to the needs of the people.
We will continue to pay special attention to security of lives and property, provide quality healthcare delivery, and improve education, agricultural production, infrastructural development, socio-economic development as well as youths and women empowerment.
Your Excellences, invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, our tragic and horrendous experience of the Boko Haram insurgency, which claimed many innocent lives, rendered thousands of people as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) had also destroyed several public and private properties. We will continue to consider that as an attempt to shatter our collective dreams and hope for a prosperous future.
We, the people of Yobe State are appreciative and remain immensely grateful to His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Nigeria armed forces, the security chiefs, officers and men of the security forces for the commitment to the war against insurgency and subsequent liberation of some communities hitherto occupied by the insurgents.
We are indebted to the efforts of our gallant officers and men of the Nigeria Army, Air force, the Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Security Service, Civil Defence, Vigilante and Hunter groups, some of whom paid the supreme sacrifice for the peace and security we now enjoy. May the souls of the departed officers and men of the various security organizations rest in peace.
Let me also appreciate the support rendered by the state government to the security organizations during this period, under the leadership of His Excellency, Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam. The support has no doubt contributed to the success of the fight against insurgency in the state.
Today, most of the displaced persons have returned to their communities and (are) actively engaged in various socio-economic activities to rebuild their livelihoods.
Furthermore, I salute the courage, resilience and determination of communities affected by the insurgency and their commitment to resettlement and rehabilitation to pick up what remains of their lives once again.
Although there are still pockets of security challenges on some soft targets, it is gratifying that there is general improvement in security situation across the State. We are confident that the efforts of our security forces will be crowned with more improved and sustainable peace and security in no distant future, In-sha Allah.
Let me use this opportunity to reassure the security agencies and our people that, this administration would no doubt build on the peace and security so far achieved. We shall also explore other avenues for a stronger cooperation, collaboration and synergy between government and the security organizations to be more proactive in tackling potential security threats and, to enhance sustainable peace and security across the state.
I therefore enjoin everyone to support and cooperate with the security operatives. You should endeavour to provide them with credible, useful and timely information to enhance proactive approach to security situation as we are all stakeholders in the security of our state.
Education, as we all know, is the bedrock of any meaningful development in every society, State or nation. We have in the last 10 years, in spite of the security challenges, recorded tremendous improvement in educational development under the Ibrahim Gaidam-led administration.
The efforts in improving primary education and upgrading facilities in the secondary schools are quite commendable. The Yobe State University, has also no doubt moved so fast, and moving so close to older Universities in terms of facilities, infrastructure and intellectual content.
Let me also state that, we are not unmindful of the over stretched facilities in our schools and, the need to provide more. We are conscious of the increase in population of some communities especially, where displaced persons choose to settle in such communities.
Our administration would strive to ensure prompt payment of counterpart funds to the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), to enable the State access UBEC grants to improve primary education.
We would equally build more schools classrooms, employ more teachers as well as improve teacher’s incentives and provide additional instructional materials to meet the requirements of such communities.
This approach would be replicated in the secondary education sector, we will equally make teaching profession attractive and education more functional. The payment of examination fees by government to students in public schools would be sustained. Parents and guardians in the state would be free from the burden of paying school and examination fees for their wards.
In order to improve and encourage pupil’s enrolment in our schools, this administration will partner with the Federal Government for the implementation of the Home Grown Feeding Programme.
We will continue to support the state owned tertiary institutions such as Yobe State University, Mai Idriss Aloma Polytechnic, College of Nursing and Midwifery, College of Agriculture, College of Legal and Islamic Studies and, the College of Administrative and Business Studies, to be centres of academic excellence, and to produce adequate, trained and qualified manpower to serve the state and beyond.
Similarly, we would continue to provide scholarships to support and encourage research by our vibrant and resourceful intellectuals in the State University. We are a state with our peculiarities.
This administration would support the conduct of research and development to proffer home grown solutions to the peculiar challenges faced by the State. This should be seen as a challenge to the management of the University and the academic community at large.
In view of the great loss suffered by the education sector from insurgency, the State Government would partner and seek for special intervention from the Federal Ministry of Education, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TET Fund), philanthropists and International Organizations to support us in our commitment to rebuilding education in the State.
Your Excellences, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, our administration is determined to move the State away from an educationally disadvantaged to an educationally prosperous one.
This, we will, In-sha Allah, pursue with vigour, determination and the commitment it deserves. Accordingly, we will take proactive steps to rehabilitate and equip to standard at least one Science Secondary School in each senatorial zone in the State.
In line with our commitment to reform the education sector, I hereby declare a state of emergency on primary and secondary education in the state, to build a solid, vibrant and robust foundation for the development of education. Government would as a matter of deliberate policy continue to provide the necessary support to move education in the state to greater heights.
Healthcare delivery is undoubtedly a key priority of this administration. We appreciate the solid foundation laid by the Ibrahim Gaidam administration and would work assiduously to improve on it.
In conformity with the principle of Continuity and Consolidation, the scope of the State Primary Healthcare Management Board will be repositioned to promote efficiency in primary healthcare delivery.
Government would establish more health centres, maternity clinics and dispensaries; provide adequate drugs and facilities and employ more healthcare providers for accessible, affordable and efficient primary healthcare services at the grassroots.
Our objective is to ensure establishment of at least one functional primary Health Care Centre in each of the 178 wards of the State. Similarly, General Hospitals will be established in the Local Government Headquarters where none exist to ease the burden of travelling long distances to access secondary healthcare services.
The Yobe State Teaching Hospital has no doubt made impressive mark as a tertiary healthcare institution, providing efficient services to the people. No wonder, the state has become a hub of medical tourism for patients in search of qualitative medical attention.
This administration considers it necessary to upgrade the capacities of health institutions in the State by providing state-of-the-art medical facilities and equipment to provide the best services to the people. Government will continue to look into the welfare of healthcare providers to enhance healthcare delivery.
The Medical College established in the state university, will be nurtured and supported to provide a conducive learning environment for the training of manpower for our health institutions. As the saying goes, health is wealth; this administration is determined and committed to creating a healthy population for an economically prosperous state.
Agriculture remains the major employer and mainstay of our people. This administration will soon unfold an agricultural blueprint to make agriculture attractive and profitable. The program is designed to empower our people to move away from subsistence farming to large scale production for food security and economic growth.
Government would as a matter of priority, support our farmers with timely provision of agricultural inputs mainly tractors, improved quality seeds, fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides to control the scourge of pests.
In our drive to achieve food security and improved agricultural production, the State will procure more tractors, while every Local Government Council will also get 20 tractors each in the next one year.
We have mapped out plans and strategies to canvass for an extension of the Federal Government’s Farmer Anchor Borrowers program to the State. Government will also collaborate with National and International Agricultural Organisations to support individuals, groups and farmer organizations, to expand and establish more farms.
Your Excellences, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, this administration is conscious of the threat posed by the existing environmental challenges in the state, and our share of the scourge of global warming and climate change. The combination of these factors would no doubt continue to have negative impact on agricultural production in the state.
In view of this therefore, government would encourage irrigation farming on the existing wetlands across the state. A survey would soon be carried out to identify areas where rain water will be harvested and harnessed for the purposes of irrigation. Accordingly, government will sponsor our youths for training on Agricultural extension services and modern agricultural technology within and outside the country.
While acknowledging the efforts of the Gaidam administration in developing Irrigation farm in Ngum, Geidam and Jumbam, we shall consider establishing more irrigation sauces on Ngeji, Ngalda, Nyakire, Dokshi, Buni Gari, Buni Yadi, Gujba, Damagum, Jakusko, Gashua, Yunusari, Buduwa and Njamel wetlands. This will continue in other places as we progress.
Harnessing the Natural Resource Potential of the State
Your Excellences, distinguished invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, it will interest you to note that Yobe State is endowed with huge agricultural resources as well as mineral deposits in commercial quantities that can support the establishment of industrial processing plants in the state.
We shall fully harness the rich agricultural potentials in order to improve the economy, create jobs, reduce poverty as well as provide food security across the state. The agricultural potential include:
This economic tree is massively planted in Nguru, Bursari, Gujba, Tarmuwa and Jakusko local government areas. The product is in high industrial demand for pharmaceuticals and confectionary use in Europe, America, Middle East and Asia.
The Sesame seeds are produced in all the 17 local government areas of the state. There is increasing demand for the product across the world. Although many of our farmers are already engaged in cultivation of sesame seeds, government will provide the necessary inputs and make arrangements for markets to save our farmers from exploitation by shylock middlemen.
Yobe State is undoubtedly a leading livestock producing State in Nigeria, with an estimated livestock population of over 2.7 million herds of cattle, 2.1 million sheep and 3 million goats being the highest in the country according to 2016 records of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
With these huge potential, livestock farmers would be supported and provided with incentives to boost production. Government will continue to provide free Routine annual mass vaccination against trans-boundary diseases, establish clinics, water points and food supplements to boost production.
Accordingly, our administration intends to upgrade the Damaturu modem abattoir in Damaturu to process meat for local consumption and exports, enhance trade in hides and skin to fully exploit the livestock value chain production to improve the economy.
In line with the government industrial policy, our administration will provide a friendly investment climate with a view to promoting Public Private Partnership (PPP) and attract foreign direct investment to the State.
Furthermore, Government will take advantage of the Damaturu Cargo International Airport when completed and the railway stations in Ngum and hopefully Buni Yadi to transport finished products and raw materials from and into the state. This we believe will improve the economy of the state and purchasing power of the people.
Your Excellences, distinguished invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, it is on record that Yobe State is endowed with numerous solid mineral deposits in commercial quantities which were verified to be of high quality. These include:
This is found in Gulani, Gujba, Fune and Fika local government areas. The product is used for production of cement, tiles, glass and fertilizer. It is a product in high demand. An estimated 247 million tons of limestone is available in the state.
The state has large Kaolin deposits in Gulani, Gujba, Fune and Fika Local Government areas with estimated reserve quantity of 231 million tons. Kaolin is used in the pharmaceuticals for production of drugs as well as drilling operations in the oil and water industries.
Gypsum is found in large commercial quantity in Fune, Fika, Gujba and Gulani local government areas. An estimated deposit of 141 million tons is found in the State. It is used for the production of cement. Plaster of Paris, tiles and soil conditioning.
The state is also blessed with large deposits of Trona, also known as potassium in Geidam, Bade, Nguru, Yusufari, Yunusari and Machina, This product is used in production of glass, paper, soap and detergents. The state boasts of 88.3 million tons deposit.
Diatomite is another mineral found in commercial quantity in Gulani. It is used in the production of paint, tiles, plastics, soap and detergents among others, with a reserve estimate of 152.8 million tons.
This is found in commercial quantities in Geidam, Nangere and Fika local government areas with an estimated reserve of 1.9 million tons. This is a raw material for glass making.
The aforementioned mineral reserves are in large quantities and of high quality and are in high demand for industrial use, locally and internationally. I therefore urge our local and foreign investors to take advantage of these opportunities, in view of the friendly investment climate in the State.
Economy and Investment Opportunities
The economy of our state is largely dependent on the Federal allocation with very low Internally Generated Revenue. However, harnessing the rich agricultural and solid mineral potentials in the state can turn around the economic fortunes of Yobe State for better.
In our bid to industrialize the state and create employment opportunities to stimulate the economy for improved revenue generation and wealth creation, our Administration in collaboration with the private sector will In-Sha Allah strive to resuscitate the following industries within the limit of resource at our disposal:
a) Potythene and Woven Sacks Company Limited, Damaturu
b) Dofarga Spring Water Company Limited, Dokshi
c) Yusufari Soda Ash Plant, Yusufari
d) Fertilizer Blending Plant, Gujba
e) Sahel Aluminum Roofing Sheet Plant, Potiskum
f) Yobe Flour and Feed Mills Company Ltd, Potiskum, and
g) Nguru Oil Mills Ltd which has been dormant.
Efforts will be intensified to put into better economic use all assets jointly owned by Borno and Yobe State for our mutually beneficial interest.
Your Excellences, distinguished invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, in furtherance to our determination to industrialize the state, we will adopt a philosophy titled “Fast-tracking Industrial Development and Greening the Desert”.
This philosophy entails Identifying at least one natural resource or raw material in towns and local government areas in order to achieve our goal of “One-town-one-product (OTOP) or One-Local Government – One – Product” (OLOP).
The process of developing each product will require business plan, technology, production, storage and marketing. The success of this philosophy will lead to an industrialized economy with job creation and improved revenue.
The feat achieved by the Ibrahim Gaidam led-administration in infrastructure development especially, road construction is worthy of mention and consolidation. This administration would continue and consolidate on the road projects to open up more communities through the construction of additional urban and semi urban roads and drainages as well as provide more roads to villages to ease movement of agricultural produce, livestock and other services to enhance economic development of the State.
In fulfilment of our campaign promises, government will construct Gujba-Ngalda road, Daura-Maluri-Maiduwa roads, Tikau-Jajere and, completion of the Yusufari-Machina Trans Sahel road. We shall extend this to many other communities as we intend to execute them in phases. We will also ensure completion and commissioning of the Damaturu International Cargo Airport.
Your Excellences, distinguished invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, you will all agree with me that the state lacks modem markets to promote commerce and trade. In realization of this therefore, Government will immediately embark on construction of Ultra Modem Markets and Vehicle Terminus in Damatum, Potiskum, Geidam, Gashua, Nguru, Buni Yadi and Ngalda.
Furthermore, government have observed with concern the lack of trailer parks in most towns in the state and accordingly will construct a befitting trailer park and modem mechanic village in Potiskum and other major towns in line with our administration’s planed programme of decongesting our towns of heavy trucks and opening up the cities.
As part of measures to ensure adequate water supply to our people, the state government will partner with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and relevant agencies including the newly established North East Development Commission for the completion of the Damatum Regional Urban water supply scheme. A new reticulation of pipelines would be executed to ensure water supply to every nook and cranny of the state capital.
In addition, government will focus attention on the following water projects:
a) Potiskum water supply
b) Fika-Gadaka water supply
c) Nguru water supply
d) Gashua Water Supply
e) Geidam Water Supply
Similarly, government will also consider developing water sources from rivers Kumadugu-Yobe, Kumadugu Gana, Annuma as well as the Ngalda-Gongola Tributary to boost urban and rural water supply for human and livestock use and irrigation.
Additional boreholes would be drilled in the headquarters of the 17 Local Government areas to meet the water needs of the growing population. This is to be supported with new reticulation of pipelines to replace the old rusty and leaking pipes.
In our determination to improve water supply in the rural areas, government will construct motorized and solar powered boreholes in the rural communities where they are lacking and, additional boreholes in communities where they are inadequate.
The state would also ensure prompt payment of Counterpart Funds to our partners on rural water simply and sanitation, to enhance water supply and improved sanitation and hygiene in the rural communities.
With the installation of the 330KVA transmission station in Damaturu, this administration shall strive to hook up our rural communities to the national grid to boost small and medium scale enterprises. Government would lighten up villages and communities to be in tune with changing times.
Tourism has become a major foreign exchange earner to many countries and a contributor to many national economies. The State boasts of beautiful cultural sites, artefacts, monuments and festivities of international standard that can attract local and international tourists to the state. Prominent among which includes the Machina annual cultural festival where horsemanship are colourfully displayed, in addition to traditional wrestling.
Yobe State proudly hosts Africa’s oldest canoe and, the third oldest in the world, the Dufuna canoe. The radio-carbon dating conducted on the canoe in laboratories in Europe indicates that, it is about 8,000 years old. Government would expeditiously look into packaging this exquisite material for public display.
The state also has the Dagona fishing festival in Bade, Bulatura Oases in Yusufari, Goya valley in Fika and a host of others. Government would partner traditional institutions to develop these tourist sites and cultural festivals in their domains to attract local and international tourists. We will showcase these potential to foreign embassies in Nigeria in order to encourage their nationals to visit and invest in our state.
Resettlement, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation
Your Excellences, distinguished invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, there is no doubt that our people have suffered grossly from the about ten years of devastating insurgency. We give glory to Allah (SWT) and express gratitude to the security operation for the improvement in the general security situation in our State.
Most of the Internally Displaced Persons have returned to their communities and are trying to rebuild their livelihoods.
We shall partner with the newly established North East Development Commission, local and international humanitarian organizations in line with the government policy on Resettlement, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation, for the people affected by insurgency to live a life of honour and dignity.
The civil service remains the engine room of government and vehicle for development. Accordingly, this administration will provide adequate support training and retraining of the work force for capacity building to enhance efficiency and productivity.
I am delighted to announce that government will soon put the machinery in motion toward ensuring implementation of the recently approved thirty thousand (N30, 000. 00) naira national minimum wage. Yobe State is noted for its policy of prompt payment of salaries, pensions and gratuities and when it comes to this matter, we will not be found wanting.
In an efforts to align our manifesto, campaign promises and the visions and missions outlined here, a Committee will be formed to set out implementation priorities and strategies in the short, medium and long term basis covering each sector for government intervention after proper assessment.
Our traditional rulers who are custodians of our cultural heritage, norms and values have a very important role to play in security monitoring and intelligence, peace building, community development and, socio-economic development of the state.
We shall continue to rely on their advice, guidance and fatherly dispositions while, they mobilize their subjects to embrace government policies and programmes, promote maintenance of law and order and peaceful coexistence.
Your Excellences, distinguished invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, in conclusion, I wish to, once again remind us that we will run an all-inclusive government, with an open door policy for everyone with meaningful contributions to make in the interest of our dear state.
Government will have listening ears to worthy advices and suggestions that will promote unity and people’s interest.
However, let me quickly add that there will be no room for distractions or diversions and other sentiment or promotion of personal interests against the collective interest of the good people of Yobe State. I look forward to your support and cooperation in our collective drive to move Yobe State forward.
Finally, on behalf of the Government and good people of Yobe State, we thank Your Excellences, distinguished invited guests too numerous to mention individually for honouring us with your esteemed presence.
We wish you at the end of the occasion a safe journey back to your respective destinations and abodes. We also pray for the protection and guidance of the Almighty Allah (SWT) in the daunting task ahead.
Thank you. May the Almighty bless us all.