For anyone meeting him for the first time, he craves to meet him again, and for those who met him twice or more, will always look forward to meeting him again and again. Hon. Mai Mala Buni, the fourth Executive Governor of Yobe state, is a personification of humility, an embodiment of courtesy, a gentleman per excellence, a leader with listening ears and very humane.
Born on Sunday, 19th November 1967 in Buni Gari, Gujba Local Government Area of Yobe state, Mai Mala Buni exhibited leadership traits at a very early age, as he surrounded himself with pragmatic, optimistic and futuristic friends and associates, a value he still cherishes.
As it is with the tradition in Northern Nigeria, young Buni started learning the memorisation of the Holy Quran at an early age under the tutelage of his parents and other clerics before his enrolment into Buni Gari Central Primary School where he obtained the First School Leaving Certificate in 1979.
Upon completion of his primary education, Buni gained admission into Government Secondary School Goniri in 1979 and obtained the West African Examination Council Certificate in 1985.
According to his childhood friends’ accounts, his generosity started very early in life. His friends had unfettered access to his wardrobe, picking every available clothes, caps and shoe without contemplating that Buni would ever complain. He became ever attractive to his friends, school mates and political associates. He easily reaches out to people outside his immediate environment, thereby expanding his scope of friendship.
He is a real party man and grassroots politician whose political career started in what could be described as a “Beckon to Serve” in 1992. His humble characteristics attracted him to his people who nominated him and subsequently elected him as a councillor on the platform of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) to represent them in Gujba Local Government Council.
Buni’s tenacity and articulate representation in the council endeared his colleagues to elect him the leader (speaker) of the council.
He became a senior legislative assistant in the National assembly in 2000, and in 2004, he was appointed Member, University of Uyo Governing Council.
In 2006, he was unanimously elected Chairman of the Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) in Yobe State and when in 2007, members of the Action Congress Party in the state entered into an alliance with the Advanced Congress of Democrats to form a formidable force on the platform of the Action Congress (AC), the alliance unanimously nominated him for the chairmanship position of the Action Congress party and was subsequently elected where he served from 2007 to 2010.
With a background in the family business of trade and transport, Buni also ventured into business at a very young age after completion of his secondary education. The quest to establish a furniture-making factory took Mai Mala Buni to the College of Vocational Science and Technology where he an obtained diploma certificate in 2012.
In 2011, Buni joined the then ruling All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in Yobe state and was appointed Special Adviser on Political Affairs and Legislative Matters to Yobe state governor. In 2013, after the merger of the mega political parties to form the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mai Mala Buni became the protem state secretary of the party and was subsequently elected the pioneer state Chairman of the All Progressives Congress.
While engaging in active politics, Buni was also a part-time student at the Espan Formation University, Benin where he obtained a B.Sc. in International Relations in 2014. Today, he holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from Leeds Becket University, United Kingdom.
In 2014, Mai Mala Buni became the first elected National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress. It was his being part of the executive of the party that ushered in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. His commitment to serving the party automatically earned him a second term as the national secretary in 2018.
While serving as APC national secretary and board chairman of the Nigeria Shippers Council, destiny beckoned on him. He was nominated as the flag bearer of APC for the 2019 governorship election in Yobe state.
History was made in March 2019 when the people of Yobe State trooped out and voted His Excellency Hon. Mai Mala as the fourth executive governor of the state.
When he assumed office on 29th May 2019 he left no one in doubt that he was fully prepared for the job as he instantly declared a state of emergency on primary and basic education. Healthcare delivery, agriculture, youth development and economic growth were also listed on the priority list of the Buni administration. To provide the desired political will, his administration quickly organised the first-ever summit on education and agriculture, drawing experts from across Nigeria to x-ray the peculiarities and potentials abound in the state with a view to fast-tracking their development in the state.
Satisfactorily, one year after assuming office, model schools were constructed in Damaturu, Buni Yadi, Potiskum, Nguru, Gashua and Geidam to decongest existing schools just as, infrastructure and instructional materials were provided with training and retraining for teachers.
In the health sector, the government has constructed 53 out of 178 proposed functional Primary Health Care Centres equipped with laboratories, pharmacies, wards and staff quarters for health personnel posted to these centres for 24/7 service to the communities.
Similarly, in his first year in office, Governor Buni resuscitated three dormant state-owned industries – the Yobe State Flour mills, Yobe State Sahel Aluminum and Yobe State Woven Sacks company, creating huge employment opportunities and improving revenue generation.
To create a conducive atmosphere for trade and commerce across the state, seven modern markets were earmarked for construction with four currently under construction in Damaturu, Gashua, Nguru and Potiskum while that of Geidam, Buni Yadi and Ngalda are underway.
Again, 1,800 housing units, under the first phase of the state’s mass housing programme, are currently under construction in the six urban centres of the state while the construction of another set of 1,800 units soon to follow soon under the second phase.
Governor Mai Mala Buni is a philanthropist who believes in empowering people working hard to have sustainable means of livelihood. He has targeted and substantially empowered beans cake sellers, tea sellers, vulcanisers and mobile phone technicians among others. He is personally doing that without minding political, religious or cultural differences. He assisted them with capital to expand the businesses.
This explains why Mai Mala Buni is so loved by his people such that whenever he drives across the state, people irrespective of their political allegiance troop out to catch a glimpse of him.
Today, he combines his duties as the executive governor of Yobe State and chairman, caretaker committee of the biggest party in Africa, the All Progressives Congress (APC). To his credit, APC is back on its feet again with the likes of Hon. Yakubu Dogara, former Speaker House of Representatives, Senator Barnabas Gemade, former PDP National chairman, the incumbent governor of Ebonyi State, Mr Dave Umahi, a serving Adamawa PDP Senator, Ishaya Abbo and numerous others defecting to the party.
Governor Buni is a recipient of over 20 awards of excellence by various bodies in recognition of his contributions to human development, growth of Nigeria’s democracy and philanthropy.
Mohammed is the DG Press and Media Affairs to Gov. Buni.