Yobe was the most backward area of the former Borno when it was created in 1991.
The newly created state, did not have the luxury of having basic infrastructure other states had when they started.
I recall when we had to commute between Maiduguri and Damaturu in order to come to work for lack of accommodation. Where the accommodations were available five to six officers had to share a room that was the pitiful situation we had to go through.
27 years down lane a lot has been done but we are not there yet.
From Ahmed Sani Daura to Bukar Abba Ibrahim, Dabo Aliyu, Ben Kalio, Late Mamman Ali, my bosom friend, may his gentle soul rest in peace to Ibrahim Gaidam.
The state witnessed some level of developments and peace even though critics would disagree with me but this argument can be left for another day.
The import of this write up is not assess the performance of the actors that providence had given them the opportunity to pilot the affairs of the state, but rather to show how the people of Yobe would miss the peace and tranquillity that characterise Governor Ibrahim Gaidam’s tenure.
Many would be surprised why I of all people would say all these good things about the governor.
I decided to do so because you can not change facts, the truth needs to be told, after all we are not enemies.
My other reason for writing on the tenure of Ibrahim Gaidam is because of the uniqueness of the period he piloted the affairs of the state.
The state needed the maturity he handled issues in the light of the difficult circumstances that were prevalent during his tenure which is about coming to end on the 29th of May, 2019.
Firstly, Gaidam took over the leadership of the state after the demise of Governor Mamman Ali on the 26th of January 2009.
He was sworn in as a governor on the 27th of January 2009. His first political test was how to unite his political base.
Late Governor Mamman Ali came from a different senatorial zone with Gaidam, to please the family of Ali he picked his younger brother as his Deputy Governor. This move alone endeared him to the family and base of his late predecessor.
For the remaining two years of the Ali’s tenure Gaidam did not tinker with the state administrative machinery put in place by his predecessor rather he built on it. This unique move kept the party intact and gave him time to consolidate.
Governor Ali started some good works for the state and Gaidam being an insider in the government knew very well he has to tread carefully.
As a technocrat who was having his first feel in partisan politics, Gaidam was not as politically exposed as his predecessor who had been in Senate for period of time. He understood that very well and did the right thing.
He managed the precarious situation so well by not out rightly dismantling the legacies of his predecessor in order cut his nitch.
Unfortunately as governor Gaidam was settling and trying to chart out the way forward for Yobe State, the Boko Haram insurgents attacked Damaturu the capital of Yobe state, on the 4th of November 2011, in one of their most deadly and coordinated assaults.
The insurgency in the state heightened after the November 4th attack.
This subsequently, led to the declaration of state of emergency by the Federal Government on Borno and Yobe the front lines states of Boko Haram insurgency.
From then on internal security became the major priority of the State.
Gaidam with his experience from the Civil Service, knew very early that Yobe as an agrarian state with high level of poverty, illiteracy, and low level of internally generated revenue (IGR) and deficit of infrastructure, can not compete with other states of the federation in terms of how it can move the state forward.
He also understood very early that the government is the only viable industry that sustains the socio economic activities of the state.
He therefore had to cut a balance between human and infrastructural development for the state.
In doing so he ensured that the political victimisation that characterised previous governments which was robbing the state of its most experienced officials must not be allowed to continue.
He also ensured the acrimonious relationship between the political parties in the state must be contained so that it does not to derail the efforts of government.
By the time he was half way through his tenure all dissenting voices from the opposition parties fizzled out.
The civil service also became less confrontational.
The state experienced a high level of tolerance among its people.
He also ensured the kleptomaniac tendencies that were replete in the bureaucracy were contained and reduced to manageable level.
He took control of machinery of government and blocked all areas of leakages.
To gain the support of the civil servants which was his primary base he ensured that their wages and salaries were paid as at when due.
He did not stop at that, he was also known to have ensured that pensioners were paid their stipends without delay.
Today he is acknowledged to be among the few governors in the country who do not owe any salary and pension arrears to its workers.
Critics may say that he pays the lowest salary.
This may be true but the strategy was adopted perhaps to ensure the sustainability of paying the monthly wage bills in the light of the low allocation the state collects for the federation account.
Another reason for this can be attributed to the low internally generated revenue (IGR) the state collects.
Any body who knows the economic environment in Yobe would agree that the whole economy of the state revolves around the government being the biggest industry and the biggest spender in the state.
Any default on the part of government to pay salaries to its workers which in turn energises and stimulates the economic activities will have a catastrophic consequences on lives of the agrarian population of the state.
Gaidam also did well in the health sector, roads, education and housing programme just like his predecessors.
As a major legacy he is also developing the cargo airport in Damaturu, which is envisaged to be commissioned before the end of his tenure.
These are some of the things Governor Gaidam had done for Yobe State. As he begins to wind up and having anointed a perfect gentleman to take over from him, Yobeans will certainly MISS HIM for the peace and tranquillity he has brought to the state in spite of the problem caused by the Boko Haram insurgency which was not his making.
We pray the political terrain in Yobe will witness same peace, tranquillity and less acrimonious politics that characterise previous transitions.
While Gaidam would be missed as the governor, we take solace that he is heading to the national assembly as a Senator.
We wish him good luck and many more years of services to the state in whatever capacity he finds himself.