Roll Up Your Sleeves, There is So Much Work to Do – Gov Buni Tells Commissioners-Designate
Text of Speech Delivered by H.E Gov. Mai Mala Buni at the Opening of Retreat for Commissioners-Designate Holding at Porto Golf Hotels, Kano on Tuesday 26th November 2019
Let me begin by congratulating all our commissioners-designate for your nomination as members of the State Executive Council and also for your successful screening by the leadership and members of the Yobe State House of Assembly.
In less than two weeks from now, all of you would be deployed to your respective ministries of assignment and I do not need to tell you that our entire state is looking forward to that and anxiously waiting to see what you can do to help in improving the lives of our people.
There is a reason for this sense of anticipation. Since our administration came on board a little over five months ago, the actions we have taken so far have generated interest and rekindled so much hope among our people about the promise of our future. People across the state are very excited that our state is poised for progress. They are excited that we are exemplars of our own mantra of continuity, consolidation and innovation.
Just take a look at some of the data.
Since the commencement of our journey on May 29th, 2019, we have continued to fund and support our healthcare sector, strengthening its capacity to provide quality, affordable care for our people. We have maintained regular and timely payment of salaries, pensions, gratuities and other benefits to government workers. Today, Yobe is noted as one state where workers have the certainty of a dignified and peaceful retirement because they do not have to worry about getting their retirement benefits and other entitlements.
Since taking over the mantle of leadership, we have also moved farther along in completing the construction of our International Cargo Airport. This is a project that is certain to open up our state to the world and complement our effort at making Yobe State a hub for the export of agricultural produce. This is an issue to which we place a lot of importance.
While continuing with these projects that I mentioned, we have also begun to take steps to re-order our socio-economic priorities by placing our state firmly on the road to turning our abundant agricultural and solid mineral resources from potentials to actual prospects.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, as you are aware, the currency of today’s economy is knowledge. A society that gets its education right would always get its socio-economic development on the right path. This is true across the globe. This is why we strongly believe that it is important that we make education our number one priority in the state.
As our first order of business, therefore, we began taking the steps necessary to revitalize our education sector and provide the best possible opportunities for our people to have access to qualitative education. We organised and hosted an education summit – the first of its kind in the state, set up an expert technical committee on the revitalization of basic and secondary education and moved to ensure that only qualified teachers stand in front of the classroom to teach our children.
I am glad to inform you that we have already began to implement the recommendations of the Interim Report submitted by the Committee.
As part of this, I have approved for the establishment of a teacher training and curriculum development center. I have also approved for the establishment of three Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education schools, one in each of our three senatorial districts.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it would interest you to note that the expert technical committee for the revitalization of basic and secondary education has also identified well over 400, 000 out of school children in the state. I strongly believe that this is an issue that requires urgent attention through the integration of the Tsangaya/Qur’anic school system with the formal education system in the state.
Because Yobe is generally regarded as an agrarian state, we have also seized the moment to try to re-position the agriculture sector. To make meaningful progress, we brought together key stakeholders – experts, academics, farmers, farmer associations, oversight and regulatory agencies, and the private sector in an agricultural retreat to tap from their experience, knowledge and expertise to help us chart the way forward.
Today, as a result of the insights that have emerged from those deliberations, we are in a position to begin implementing the most ambitious agricultural renewal and development programme in the history of our state.
We have also made real our pledge to resuscitate some of our dormant, non-functioning industries in the state, including the Yobe Flour and Feed Mills, Yobe Woven Sacks Factory and the Yobe Aluminium Company. Bringing these industries back to production would provide thousands of direct and indirect jobs to people across the state.
As some of you might be aware, we have also stepped up our interactions and contact with our development partners. We are mindful of the fact that to fully recover from the devastating effects of the Boko Haram insurgency, we need an all-hands-on deck approach to development where the federal government, development partners and our state government pool resources together to help our people recover and rebuild their livelihoods.
The State Government has also demonstrated its commitment to empowerment and human capital development through the training that it is are currently providing in paint production to over 500 youths across the state.
We are demonstrating – with that training – that we are not just going to provide the proverbial fish to our youth. More importantly, we are going to teach them how to fish – so that they could have as much fish as they are ready to work for.
We have also begun the construction of an Ultra-Modern Market in Damaturu at the cost of N2.8 billion and set in motion the construction of a modern Trailer Transit Park in Potiskum in partnership with the Nigerian Shippers Council. When completed, the Park is projected to provide up to 5000 jobs for the people.
We have also commenced the construction of township roads and drainages in Bun-Yadi, Damagum, Babbangida and Jajimaji towns to make commuting in these towns easier for the people and guard against flooding.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen let me say, therefore, that we can take enormous pride in all the things we have accomplished so far.
It is also gratifying that the Progressives Governors’ Forum Secretariat, in a recent survey, has placed Yobe State as the second-best state in terms of new governance initiative among all APC-led states in the country. A recent survey also found that Yobe has the second highest allocation for education in the 2020 budget among all states of the federation. That shows that our development strategy is being recognised.
But that is just the beginning of the story. The full story is that we still have a long way to go; we have so much work to do to develop our state and improve our people’s living conditions.
This is the issue to which I now want to turn my attention.
I have said before that our administration is anchored on continuity, consolidation and innovation. This means that we are not here just to maintain what we have achieved in the past. We are here to renew our promise and to expand opportunities. We are here to build our state further. We are here to take Yobe firmly to the next level.
I don’t need to tell you that taking Yobe to the Next Level requires enormous sacrifices on your part. As members of the State Executive Council, you would be required to roll up your sleeves and to fully join in this effort.
It means that you would have to regularly think out of the box and try to do things a little differently. You should know that our administration would seek to steer clear of doing business-as-usual. Instead, we would consistently seek to adopt novel and effective ways of delivering service to the people.
At all times, I would expect you to be guided and to abide by the values that we all believe in – honesty, dedication, a sense of duty, and a sense of integrity.
I want you to remember that this administration rode to power on the crest of the support of the people who believed that their votes would translate into practical improvement in their living conditions. We must deliver on that. We must make our people proud of the choices they made during the election and even prouder of the administration they have in place in the state.
As politicians, we should also strengthen people’s confidence in government by keeping our doors open and by maintaining regular contacts with the people at the grassroots.
I am confident that, together, we would write a new chapter in the development of our state by working harder than ever to justify the confidence that the people have reposed in us.
Let me conclude by reminding us that we have so much work to do to move Yobe State forward. So, ladies and gentlemen, let’s get to work.
Thank you. May God bless us all. Have a fruitful retreat.