By Adetutu Folasade-Koyi
For sometime, Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State has been carrying a heavy political weight on his lean shoulders. In fact, the saying that appearance could be deceptive certainly rings true for this political strategist. He may appear physically fragile but he is a dynamo.
Born in 1967 and educated at Leeds Beckett University, he was secretary general of the All Progressives Congress (APC) before he was elected governor in 2019.
As the National Chairman APC Caretaker/ Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) and Governor of Yobe State, he has excelled in the areas of administrative competence and profound conflict resolution skill.
Buni is rebuilding the APC in line with the CECPC’s core mandate: to engender unity in the party, promote true reconciliation and give a sense of belong- ing to every party member.
His uncommon dispute-resolution skills have paid off, with many formerly aggrieved members withdrawing and terminating many litigations involving the party.
The unprecedented nationwide membership registration, revalidation and register update, to shore up the party’s membership and support- base nationwide, which he supervised, resulted in APC now having over 40 million registered members.
Indeed, many Nigerians joined the party on account of his leadership style. They include three PDP governors comprising Ebonyi State (David Umahi), Cross River State (Ben Ayade) and Zamfara State Bello Matawalle).
His efforts have also resulted in prominent politicians decamping to the ruling party, the return of party members and leaders into the APC family, including the former PDP national chairman, Barnabas Gemade; former speakers of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and Dimeji Bankole, former governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel, Senator Joy Emordi, Senator Stella Oduah, Isa Hamma Misau, former Head of Service of the federation, Danladi Kifasi, Salisu Takai, Jimoh Ibrahim and Dr. Alex Otti, among many others.
On the home front, he has also distinguished himself. He has transformed Yobe State, particularly in terms of infrastructure development, youth and women empowerment, security enhancement, healthcare, education and agricultural development, among others.
At a time when the country, especially, the North East geopolitical zone is plagued by insecurity, he has done so much to almost insulate his state from security breaches and inter- tribal squabbles. Under his watch, Yobe has been relatively peaceful, with little disruption of business activities from residents compared to other states in the zone.
Perhaps, Buni’s cutting edge is the health sector. He has introduced a new result oriented approach to addressing healthcare services in primary, secondary and the tertiary healthcare facilities. In his inaugural address, he assured the people that his government would establish“at least one functional primary healthcare center in each of the 178 wards in the state. “Similarly, General Hospitals will be established in local government headquarters where none exists to ease the burden of travelling long distances to access healthcare services.”
Two years after, his administration has substantially achieved its set goals. So far,105 out of the 178 estimated Primary Healthcare Centers have been established. It is for these and many other reasons that the Board of Editors of The Sun Publishing Limited chose him as winner of The Sun Political Icon of the Year Award 2020.
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