Ordinarily, I don’t write about people in power unless compelled by certain exigencies that outweigh my resolve.
Recently I had reason to visit my home state and stayed there for forty days as a journalist and public affairs commentator, I have through my interaction with the community been confronted with hues and cries of the people on the absence of the governor in the state. This gross misunderstanding of the roles of His Excellency Governor Mai Mala Buni as the Chief Executive of the state and acting chieftain of his political party may be worrisome but in a real sense, the state may be better for it.
When the National working Committee of the APC announced his appointment as the interim National Chairman, of APC, the fear the assignment may take the attention of the governor away from pressing state affairs became a matter of serious concern.
Dual mandates are a well-established part of the political culture though in others they may be prohibited by law. When Buni was appointed by NWC to serve as the interim Chairman APC, the opposition political party challenged the idea. In response to this, the APC defended its action that the NWC has the right under the parties constitution to appoint any member of the party to carry out some special function. The matter was settled as quickly as it was raised as all the political parties are complicit in assigning party responsibilities to their governors to handle.
The groundswell of dissatisfaction and disinformation regarding His Excellency’s absence from the state grew out of ignorance, partisanship, greed or unnecessary fears.
Though people of Yobe may have every reason to be worried and fearful, Buni cannot be blamed for the situation he found himself.
Before, Buni became the governor of Yobe state he was the National Secretary of the APC it was the position he held up to the end of the 2019 elections. With the party coming out from a general election and he being the number two in the party hierarchy the responsibilities on him were awesome. He couldn’t have just walked away and lived some vacuum in the party secretariat.
The period after the election was a crucial moment for him, especially in face of the looming crisis developing in the leadership of Adam Oshimole that consumed the entire membership of the National Executive Committee.
There was also the gubernatorial elections in Edo and Ogun a project very dear to both the two major political parties
As the immediate National Secretary of the APC for six years, the National Working Committee could find no better person who could come on board quickly to lead the party in an interim capacity to reconcile the warring party members and prepare the party for the next national convention and the elections in Edo and Ogun just like the PDP appointed Wike and Makinde to prosecute the two elections. This is scenario Buni found himself. To blame him for dividing his time to carry out these onerous dual mandate may be self-serving.
Having heard the cries going around I decided to dig deep to identify the reasons for the restiveness. Some of the salient reasons I was able to uncover were when Buni took over the mantle of leadership from his predecessor who had been there for ten years people expected governor Buni to take some drastic and dramatic changes in the machinery of government. But Buni being a real party Man knew the disadvantage of grandstanding on such issues, that was why his administration trod on the path of caution.
In trying to placate both sides of the party membership. The government adopted the policy of Continuity, Consolidation and Innovation.
Continuity, because of the deep relationship between him and his predecessor, they share similar aspirations for him therefore the most honourable thing to do is continue with programmes of his predecessor. While doing so the government would be able to consolidate on the actions started by the past administration.
To make the difference and his footprints on the anal of history, he decided to introduce some innovation in the affairs of government that would improve the quality of governance and possibly inject some new blood in the system to reflect his aspirations for the state without rocking the boat.
This did not go down well with some segments of the parties members who were looking forward to post-election gratifications. when this did not happen as they expected frustration, despondency and petty bickering took over.
The second reason may be as a result of fears, the dual mandate could be impacting on the ability of HE in carrying out the state responsibilities. Here again, the fears may be unfounded in the light of the technological development available to our generation.
The Federal Executive today conducts virtual FEC meetings. Major companies of world because of Covid 19 now run their businesses through Zoom Meetings, Tele and Video Conferencing and other opportunities made possible by the new information technologies.
Information can now be assessed with a touch of a button. Doing business is now made a lot easier. We do agree empathy may be required in moving things forward but certainly with the technology on our side things move even faster than before. The idea of a globalized world is no longer a wish but a reality.
Thirdly, I do understand why the people are worried, Buni won his election as a populist candidate, he could have been elected without soliciting for anyone’s vote. He was generally accepted more or less as consensus candidate even before the votes were cast. So he is everyone’s governor a lot is therefore expected from him. This is how difficult things are for Buni and how lucky the gentleman is.
Finally the major overriding concern, Yobe being an agrarian state the government is the only industries everyone depends on it for their livelihood, the fear that the governor’s attention may be divided is palpable that is why people are talking about it.
This gross misunderstanding of the dual mandate compelled me to write and share my feelings about the circumstances the governor found himself.
The assignment may be temporary, but Yobe and Yobeans will benefit more from the burgeoning status governor Mai Mala is building in national politics. We need the experiences and the opportunities in it. We have for long been short-changed in the national scheme of things. For the short period, the state has one of its own in the leadership of the Senate the dividend of democracy is now cascading to us.
So cry not Yobeans with Mala who is considered as a bridge-builder an astute administrator a loyal party man, the future is yours to behold. Let us not pull him down with pettiness. We must pray and support them. Politics is all about how you change and improve your community and so far so good.
Good luck to all our sons and daughters that are carrying the flag for the state.