Buni: An ode to an iconic leader at 54
On November 19, Nigerians uniquely celebrated a cerebral leader, politician, democrat, iconic administrator, business mogul, profound manager of human and material resources, bridge builder, and governance czar, Alhaji Mai Mala Buni, at 54.
For Mai Mala Buni, the Governor of Yobe State and APC’s National Chairman, Interim Caretaker Committee/Convention Planning Committee, its a life full of attainments and noble heights. It loudly reverberates in his persona as one of Nigeria’s most gifted crisis manager of idyllic persuasions in contemporary times.
Strikingly, Buni’s 54th birthday commemoration was feted unreservedly across the nation, in simplistic, but captivating words and moods by his millions of fans cum admirers, eloquently testifying to the exemplary traits of a humble, amiable, kind-hearted, ingenious and charming leader of all times.
From North to South, East and West, Gov. Buni’s Day displayed the glamour of an outstanding political cum party leader, humanist and administrator. The outpourings insurfeit of goodwill messages, merriments and prayerful manifestations to the Almighty Allah from family members, notable leaders, friends, business associates, commoners, and even political rivals were confirmatory of Buni’s more than five decades of a life dedicated to a rewarding service to humanity.
Therefore, the trumpets of thundering resonations, laced in sonorous sounds of gongs, which reflected and manifested on Gov. Buni’s birthday anniversary were only resplendent of Kings and Queens of the Royal Courtyards. Peculiarly in Nigeria, age 54 is quite a “tender” age in the psyche of Nigerians. But it impressively dazzles the heart when paired against the amazing and uncommon exploits and loads of achievements by Gov. Buni, a famed classic pathfinder and reformer in leadership.
Expectedly, from the motley of messages to mark Gov. Buni’s birthday, beginning with President Muhammadu Buhari; the President of the Senate, Sen. Ahmed Lawan, the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), topflight APC party chieftains, political leaders of all shades, colleagues, peer mates, and captains of industry, among others; they smoldered with the celebrant’s soothing life of sacrifices, selflessness, humility, exceptional courage, outstanding democratic wisdom and as an exemplary manager of human affairs.
The eulogies on the Yobe state Governor, Alhaji Mai Mala Buni, who doubles as the APC’s National Chairman, Interim Caretaker Committee/Convention Planning Committee streamed mostly from his recent outstanding portraits, as helmsman of the ruling All Progressives Party (APC) and the Executive Governor of his home state of Yobe.
Gov. Buni, the Buni Yadi-born grassroots politician, in Gujba LGA of the Northeastern Yobe state has had an early cracker on the political turf. In 1992, Buni as a political neophyte was democratically elected councilor in Gujba LGA on the ticket of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC). And destiny smiled on him quite early as he emerged Speaker of the Legislative Council.
His politicking at the national level started as a legislative aide at the National Assembly. Thereafter, he held other positions of responsibilities in Yobe state rising in profile to become the state chairman of the Action Congress Party (AC), from 2007 to 2010. It opened the floodgates for Buni to plunge deeper into politics and its leadership terrain.
By 2011, Mai Mala Buni cross carpeted to the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and having garnered enough grassroots political experience, the then Governor of Yobe State, Alhaji Ibrahim Geidem appointed him Special Adviser to the Governor on Political Affairs and Legislative Matters.
Gov. Buni proved himself an old warhorse in party administration, upon the merger of opposition parties in Nigeria into a single and virile bloc with the identity of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mai Mala Buni emerged as the Yobe State Protem Secretary of the Party.
And at the APC’s pioneer national convention in 2014, the vibrant politician, Mai Mala Buni became its first elected National Secretary. He was a focal official of the APC team , which steered its electoral victory in 2015 . He had his tenure renewed in 2018 for a second term. While savoring his mandate as APC national secretary, President Buhari appointed him the Board Chairman of the Nigeria Shippers Council.
Mai Mala Buni proceeded from the seat of the APC national sribe and Board Chairman of Shippers Council of Nigeria to secure his Party’s governorship nomination ticket. He eventually won the Yobe State 2019 guber elections overwhelmingly.
Following the dissolution of the APC’s National Working Committee (NWC) in 2020, Gov. Buni was unanimously nominated and endorsed by the Party’s top echelon to Chair its new Interim Committee and doubled as the chairman of the Party’s upcoming extraordinary convention committee. He is enjoying tenure extension based on the endorsement of the APC National Executive Council, an attestation of the credible performance of his responsibilities to date, simultaneously with discharging his duties as the Executive Governor
of Yobe state.
Also, in just two years, Gov. Buni’s administration of Yobe state, ravaged by years of Boko Haram/ ISWAP terrorism has deposited bold footprints and remarkable legacies on the sands of time. The Buni administration has profoundly perforated the central operative ideology of Boko Haram insurgents on western education.
Yobe state today, exudes with the ambience of a fascinating oak in the desert because Buni has prioritized and subsidized education at all levels. Healthcare infrastructures at primary, secondary and tertiary levels have either been established or existing ones upgraded with modern state- of- the art facilities.
The Mai Mala Buni administration in alliance with foreign development partners has executed an ambitious housing program, which has provided shelter and permanent homes for thousands of returnee IDPs in the state.
More so, the Governor has ensured, resettled IDPs are assisted to reactivate their domestic or personal economy with various incentives through agricultural particularly Rural roads, issues of general developments and security have been Gov. Buni’s obsession and the impacts are visibly felt by people of the state, who now dwell under an environment largely purged of the toxins of violent terrorism and other forms of insecurities.
Today, Nigerians celebrate Mai Mala Buni @54 with these streaks of accomplishments for humanity. President Buhari’s birthday message to Gov. Buni echoed loudly, the Governor’s confounding development strides in Yobe state ; APC’s successful repositioning and historic internal reconciliation attested by increased membership, healthy politicking and exemplary internal democracy as it gazes at future electoral victories.
The sweetest of platitudes for Gov. Buni’s special day, draped from the lips of Senate President, Sen. Ahmed Lawan who proclaimed on Buni @54 thus; “It is particularly worthy of note the giant strides the administration of Governor Buni has made in just 17 months in Yobe, which are visible in improved security, infrastructure and general economic development of the state.”
Similarly, APC State Governors under the canopy of “Progressive Governors Forum” (PGF) attested; “We are very proud of your patriotic leadership and sacrifices towards developing our democracy. We are proud of your commitments and careful initiatives to issues of party building.”
At 54, Nigerian Youths fondly celebrate Gov. Buni’s interim leadership of the APC for spearheading pervasive campaigns for Youth takeover of leadership in Nigeria. So far, it has seen to the emergence of young and aspiring Nigerians into key leadership positions at different levels in the Party. Once again, happy birthday to an iconic, wonderful, spartan and great political leader in history, who serves the public with tremendous honour. May Almighty Allah grant you life’s longevity.
Sam Ode, is a former Minister of the FRN was APC Deputy governorship candidate in Benue in 2019 and now Governorship aspirant wrote this piece from Otukpo, Benue State.