“Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them,” William Shakespeare
For those who have been close to, or interacted closely with the Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni CON, it is very convincing to assume that the famous 17th century English playwright, William Shakespeare, had Buni in mind while writing the play “Twelfth Night”.
Buni, adequately fits into Shakespeare’s description of the above quotation. He had since early age, worked hard for greatness through enormous humility, large-hearted generosity, goodwill, and accommodation. At a later age, he had greatness thrust upon him to occupy various public offices including that of a state governor and managing the affairs of Nigeria’s ruling party.
Since when he was beckoned to serve over 30 years ago, Governor Buni had remained in the corridors of power with solid results, to the glory of humanity. Buni has always been sought after to serve in public offices, without him soliciting for such offices. True to the maxim, ‘the gold fish has no hiding place’.
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At the youthful age of 20, he was elected into Gujba Local Government Council to represent Buni Gari ward, and to the surprise and bewilderment of his folks and foes alike, he became the most powerful council leader (Speaker) among the local government councils in the Old Borno state (comprising present day Borno and Yobe states).
His emergence at the national scene started when he was elected the first substantive National Secretary of Nigeria’s first-ever merger political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). He was, prior to that, and at various times, the state chairman of AC, ACN and APC. The success of APC defeating the then-ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its sitting President, brought Governor Buni’s political sagacity and sophistication to bear and was unanimously returned for a second term of office as the National Secretary of the ruling party.
Buni, described as ‘Peace Ambassador’ is gifted with a rare character of tolerance, accommodation and uncommon humility. His faith and skill in dialogue, negotiation, and peaceful resolution of disputes and disagreements are down to earth and second to none. His character attracted him to both the old and new-bred politicians far and near from across the country and suddenly, Buni became a political colossus whose name traversed the length and breadth of Nigeria’s political space.
Today, Governor Buni is a personification and symbolizes the dictum, ‘’Politics Without Bitterness’’ as preached by his elder kinsman, the late Alh. Waziri Ibrahim, former Presidential Candidate of the defunct Great Nigeria Peoples Party (GNPP) in 1979. Buni earned himself a nickname and is popularly referred to as “Limamin Sulhu” which literally means the Apostle of Reconciliation.
The signs of his political greatness started in earnest when as a Local Government Council leader, he earned the unwavering loyalty of eight councillors from the defunct National Republic Convention (NRC), leaving the council chairman with just three councillors from the Social Democratic Party (SDP). This made him the most powerful leader (Speaker) in the state and performed creditably well to the admiration of all. That first outing became the springboard that propelled him to the future leadership assignments that brought out the very best in him.
It was therefore not surprising when shortly after assuming office for his second term as National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, the good people of Yobe state, sought for his return to the State to run for the office of the governor of the state.
The election of Buni as Yobe state Governor was unprecedented and convincing beyond an iota of doubt. It recorded a landslide victory. His success at the polls registered another history as the only governorship election that was never challenged in any court of law by other governorship candidates or the opposition political parties. It was generally accepted because a man of the people was elected Governor of Yobe State.
And few months into the office of the Executive Governor, the National Executive Committee of the party, unanimously nominated Buni to Chair the Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee to salvage the party from the jaws of an imminent collapse.
Governor Buni combined the task of governance and party administration with diligence, outlining his priorities as a Governor and setting his target goals as a political party administrator to reposition the ailing APC. He worked round the clock at both the state level and the party headquarters, and thus, translating into record-breaking achievements at both levels. For the party, its once precarious destiny got reshaped while Yobe state recorded infrastructural revolution.
At the home front, Governor Buni was exceptional, initiating several projects in the health, education, transport, agriculture, rural electrification and other sectors.
At 55, Governor Buni is a success story. He is a celebration of life that has positively touched many other lives. Like the goldfish that has no hiding place, Governor Buni has been identified, recognized and appreciated with several awards of Good Governance, Transparency and Accountability, Peace Ambassador and the National Honour of the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON).
The story of Nigeria’s democracy will be incomplete without the mention of Governor Mai Mala Buni. Buni’s institutionalization of exemplary leadership and good governance which has transformed Yobe state justifies the greatness he has achieved, while APC’s rejuvenation and sustenance of leadership in Nigeria’s political space, justifies the thrust of excellence placed on him.
Mamman DG, Press and Media Affairs to Governor Buni.