Speech Delivered by His Excellency Governor Mai Mala Buni at the Swearing-in of New Commissioners and Special Advisers at the Banquet Hall, Government House Damaturu on Friday 6th December 2019
As-Salamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah
Wa Sallallahu Ala Nabiyul-Karim
“I also remember telling them that in less than two weeks from the time, they would be assigned to their respective ministries. “I do not need to tell you”, I said to them, “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”’
Ten days ago, I sat together with our then commissioners-designate during their two-day retreat in Kano to share with them my thoughts about the challenges we face as a state and the opportunities we have to make a real difference in the lives of our people.
I said then that while we have made some progress in such areas as education, healthcare, and agriculture, amongst others, we still have so much work to do. “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 for our people. We are here to build our state further. We are here to take Yobe firmly to the next level”. Those were direct quotes from my speech to the commissioners-designate at their retreat in Kano on 26th November 2019.
I also remember telling them that in less than two weeks from the time, they would be assigned to their respective ministries. “I do not need to tell you”, I said to them, “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”.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the enthusiasm with which the swearing-in of the honourable commissioners and special advisers is received by the public today confirm how hopeful our people are about the promise of our future. It is a hope anchored on the belief that with just a little more effort, transforming our state and making life more meaningful for our people is within our reach.
It is within our reach to ensure that our children have the best possible opportunities for a good education, that our farmers have the support they need to make Yobe State the food basket of the nation. It is within our reach to turn our solid mineral potentials into actual prospects so that over time, we could replace poverty with prosperity and want with abundance. I believe it is truly within our reach to do that.
I believe we could do all this if we roll up our sleeves and work harder on behalf of the people who brought us here – the people whose votes gave us the mandate to lead our state. As a former US President said, “the obligation of government is to empower individuals (and communities); not to impede them”.
With the state executive council fully in place, the task of empowering our people and taking our state to the Next Level now moves on. So, congratulations to all the new appointees.
I want to be clear: I have personal confidence that the men and women who are now members of the state executive council and the special advisers whose counsel I will rely on have the integrity, commitment and sense of purpose to prove every single day that our mantra of continuity, consolidation, and innovation is fully on track. I have no doubt about that.
“As a former US President said, “the obligation of government is to empower individuals (and communities); not to impede them”’
But I have to say that as a system of government, our democracy does not depend on the goodwill or good assumptions or the good intentions of those in power alone. It depends on the law. And it depends on the hard work and patience and dedication of those in power to deliver.
I will, therefore, hold your feet to the fire – those of you who were sworn into office today. I will expect nothing from you other than stellar performance. I will expect that you will use your experience, your creativity, and your drive to help our administration achieves its purpose.
I want to emphasise that at all times, your loyalty, honesty, commitment and the delivery of your mandate practically and measurably are the gold standards with which you will be measured.
Remember also that the public watches. Members of the public on whose behalf we are here as leaders will follow your activities with keen interest. And in the age of social media and instantaneous communication, public opinion and the mass media will always seek answers if we fail to deliver.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen let me say that by the order of magnitude, education, agriculture, healthcare, and empowerment shall remain our key focus. We will also ensure that our people have access to clean water, and our civil service the resources it needs to support our developmental drive.
We will pursue infrastructural development, including the construction of more roads and drainage lines, and we will ensure that our people have access to affordable housing. We will continue to maintain close contact with our development partners. We will meet all counterpart funding obligations and, together with our development partners, we will achieve the goal of a peaceful and prosperous Yobe State.
In everything we do, we will try to have our people by our side. We will keep them regularly informed of all government activities. Through the media and our information agencies, which we will turn around and reinvigorate, we will have a feedback loop that ensures that the people and the government are regularly in touch. We will maintain an open door so that the people can remain confident of the wisdom of their electoral choices.
In the implementation of these policies and programmes, as I have noted, the new appointees have great roles to play. The success of our administration will predicate on the way they handle the affairs of their ministries and the parastatals under them. All hands must, therefore, be on deck.
We should also note that honourable commissioners are the chief executive officers and political heads of the ministries they are assigned to. In discharging their duties, they should set examples of good personal conduct, adherence to due diligence and due process. They should also work closely with their permanent secretaries, who are the accounting officers of the respective ministries, and with other staff across the board.
In summary, the new appointees should uphold and abide by the oath of office and oath of allegiance they have just been administered to.
The following are the portfolios to which the commissioners are assigned:
Min. of Justice – Barrister Sale Samanja
Min. of Agriculture and National Resources – Dr. Mrs Mairo Amshi
Min. of Higher Education – Prof. Muhd Munkaila
Min. of Basic and Secondary Education – Dr. Sani Muhd Idriss
Min. of Health and Human Resources – Dr. Muhd Lawan Gana
Min. of Works -Engr. Umaru Wakil
Min. of Finance and Economic Development – Hon. Musa Mustapha
Min. of Water Resources – Sen. Alkali Jajere
Min. of Environment -Hon. Sidi Yakubu Karasuwa
Min. of Commerce, Trade, and Industries – Hon. Barma Shettima
Min. of Women Affairs -Hajiya Hauwa Bah Abubakar
Min. of Information, Home Affairs and Culture – Hon. Abdullahi Bego
Min. of Religious Affairs – Hon. Malah Musti
Min. of Land and Solid Minerals – Hon. Mohammed Lamin
Min. of Budget and Planning – Muhd Garba Gagiyo
Min. of Youths, Sports and Social Dev. – Hon. Goni Bukar Lawan
Min. of Transport and Energy – Hon. Abdullahi Usman Kukuwa
Min. for Local Govt and Chieftaincy Affairs – Hon. Yerima Lawan Mahmoud
Min. of Housing and Urban Development – Hon. Bukar Alhaji Dauda
Min. of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management – Dr. Abubakar Garba Iliya
Let me conclude by saying that as we emerge from our security challenges and make progress on our journey towards post-insurgency reconstruction, we have a “fierce urgency of now” to re-dedicate ourselves to the task of building a more peaceful and prosperous Yobe State.
To the new commissioners and special advisers and to all government officials with obligation to improve our people’s living conditions, let it be said – by future generations – that when we were called upon to serve when the moment was hard and the resources at our disposal so limited, we rose to the occasion, and did our part, and made Yobe a much better place for all its people.
May Almighty Allah bless us all.