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The first 100 days of Nigeria’s Ministry of Humanitarian affairs, Disaster Management & Social Development

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The First 100 days of Nigeria’s Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management & social
Development.

 

The term “first 100 days” was coined by Mr. Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States during a radio broadcast about 86 years ago (precisely on July 24, 1933). Roosevelt never knew at the time that the first 100 days will take on symbolic significance and be considered a benchmark to measure the early success of a leader. The creation of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHDSD) by the Nigerian President on 21st August 2019, and the appointment of Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq as the minister were significant developments for the country and among the best decisions made by the government. Given that the ministry was conceived and born at a time of severe humanitarian crises and complex threats by extreme climatic events, an appraisal of how it has fared in its first 100 days is essential. There are several reasons why the new ministry meant so much to Nigerians. For instance, due to increased number and intensity of attacks by Non-State Armed Groups (NSAGs), the conflict in Nigeria’s Northeast continues to be one of the largest and widespread protection crises, negatively impacting the lives of millions of people, particularly women and children (Danish Refugee Council, 2019). The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – OCHA (2019) estimated that 7.1 million Nigerians remain in need of humanitarian assistance in what is now known in the humanitarian parlance as BAY states i.e. Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe. The UN agency (OCHA) noted in its ‘Nigeria: 2019-2021 Humanitarian Response Strategy (January 2019 – December 2021)’ that out of the 7.1million, “2.3 million are girls, 1.9 million boys, 1.6 million women and 1.3 million men.” OCHA equally indicated
that the UN and partners, in support of the Governments of Nigeria and of countries hosting Nigerian refugees simultaneously launched the strategy as well as the Regional Refugee Response Plan,
respectively seeking “$848 million and $135 million to continue providing food, water, shelter and
protection to the most vulnerable people in Nigeria and neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.” The
conflict has generated large population movements with current displacement figure standing at almost 2 million individuals. This number does not include displacements and humanitarian crises resulting from
herdsmen-farmers conflict or banditry in certain parts of Nigeria, as well as another 800,000 people in
areas that are inaccessible to international humanitarian actors in the northeast. The fate of those
800,000 men, women, and children should be a reminder that we have a collective responsibility towards
ending the conflict in what ever way we can, as they have the same right to life like any of us. At the same time, Nigeria like some countries of the world is threatened by disaster from natural forces. For instance, the 2012 floods in the country caused nearly US$17 billion in damages and losses. President Buhari declared a national disaster in the states affected by another flood in 2018. Combination of the humanitarian crises resulting from conflict and disaster as well as the challenge posed by extreme poverty affecting almost 90 million Nigerians made the new ministry a welcome development. It is not
necessarily all bad news as the humanitarian community provided life-saving assistance to almost 5.6
million affected people in 2017, another 5.5 million in 2018, and 4 million as at October 2019 and helped stabilised living conditions for millions of affected people (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2019). The crisis, which once affected six states, is now contained to the BAY states. An appreciable progress has been made, but as the conflict continues, significant humanitarian needs remain. Nigeria’s minister of FMHDSD Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq sent an important message on the 19th of October when she appeared at the scene of a truck fire disaster in the Southeast city of Onitsha within 24 hours of the incident that caused damages costing millions of naira. This uncommon attitude is a good omen for a new Nigeria. Having a sitting minister appearing at such scene without necessarily sending a representative shows a high sense of professionalism and concern for lives and properties.While it is not expected that the minister visits all disaster scenes in Nigeria to demonstrate that the government cares, her action sends an important message to all persons in position of authority in Nigeria especially those that deal with emergencies that it is not going to be business as usual.On the 6th of November 2019, there was a dialogue between the Nigerian Government and the Humanitarian Community in the Northeast of Nigeria under the leadership of the Minister of FMHDSD in what is now known as the Civil-Security Cooperation in Humanitarian Interventions in the Northeast Workshop. In his opening remark at the workshop, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria Mr. Edward Kallon noted that “it was the first time that civil authorities, the military, and humanitarian actors from national and international levels were meeting under one roof” to examine the humanitarian challenges in the Northeast, with a view to “prioritizing prevention always, development wherever possible and humanitarian action when necessary”. That it has to take the creation of a new ministry and a minister to call such an important workshop involving all the relevant actors, speaks to the coordinating role of the ministry. This is an area where the minister deserves commendation given the fact that collaboration is crucial to finding a lasting solution to a conflict that has killed over 27,000 people, created thousands of widows, widowers, orphans, and abduction of thousands of women and girls, as well as over USD8 billion worth of damages to infrastructure (UNDP, 2018; OCHA, 2019). As the workshop was ending, an agency of the new ministry i.e. the National Emergency Management Agency on the 15th of November 2019 launched its National Emergency Management Policy document in response to the United Nations Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. It is unfortunate that many Nigerians appear not to understand the significance of that important event. The framework adopted by member states about four years ago listed targets and priorities for action to prevent new and reduce existing disaster risk. There are 25 targets related to disaster risk reduction in 10 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (United Nations, 2015), firmly establishing the role of disaster risk reduction as a core development strategy for the FMHDSD and its minister. The overall essence of the document is to build safer and more resilient communities. Nigerians at all levels must begin to take steps towards preventing new and reducing existing disaster risks as echoed by Mr. Mustapha Maihaja the Director General of NEMA. On the international day for disaster risk reduction (13th October 2019), the minister re-stated the commitment of her ministry to not only support recovery from disaster, but equally committed to disaster risk reduction, while urging Nigerians to do the same. The minister’s position aligns with the UN secretary General Mr. António Guterres’ declaration that reducing disaster risk is a good investment, and the right thing to do. For every dollar invested, six dollars can be saved. The minister by her action so far has demonstrated the five practices of exemplary leadership by Kouzes and Posner (2003). She Modelled the Way, and Inspired a Shared Vision of a government that values the lives of its citizens. Hajiya Umar-Farouq Challenged the Process whereby disaster impacted victims were often been directed by their state governments to wait on NEMA. Unfortunately, many times, state governments have continued to shift their responsibilities to the federal government and it agencies. The Minister’s directive to relevant agencies to immediately swing into action while providingt the enabling environment and resources demonstrated her commitment to Enabling Others to Act. Her presence to personally empathize with the victims and reminding them that they were not alone speaks to her understanding of what it takes to Encourage the Heart.While the minister’s response to the truck fire disaster in Onitsha will be remembered with gratitude for a long time, the role of local governments and states in disaster management in Nigeria needs to be revisited with a view to developing their capacities. Of Nigeria’s 36 states, less than 30 percent are familiar with disaster risk reduction strategies. It is heartwarming to note the minister’s body language and positive belief in a Nigeria that will develop solution to disaster related challenges and become a reference point someday. That is the right mindset. Over reliance of state governments on the federal government to intervene in times of disaster is not in the best interest of the country. It is a deviation from the strategic thinking behind the United Nations Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. Headlines of wealthy Nigerians donating relief materials to disaster impacted citizens in different states often abound, but gaps exist in the activities of state governments towards reducing disaster risk. While Lagos, the federal capital territory Abuja, and few states have done amazing job in this area, over reliance of 180 million Nigerian’s on the federal government especially NEMA and the FMHDSD for help in times of disaster is not sustainable. NEMA has tried since its creation in 1999.The agency has a well-developed capacity but alone it cannot address all challenges associated with disaster in the 21st century. State governments must do their part without necessarily running to the agency at the smallest of disasters. With states not doing much, it is difficult to blame local government areas some of whose administrators are not sure of what to do before, during, and after a disaster. This is an area that the new minister needs to look into. If NEMA has been unable in the past 20 years to compel state governments to act, a ministerial dialogue might make a difference. Presidential powers might be needed to make this work. That there are states without structures on ground to address the four phases of emergency management (i.e. mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery) in the 21st century calls for sober reflection especially at a time when headlines from across the world are indicating that no country is immune to disaster.In his nationwide broadcast of 1st October 2019, the Nigerian President acknowledged the poverty challenge in the country and noted that the USD500 billion social investment program of the administration is part of his strategy for addressing it. While the decision to bring the social investment office under the minister of FMHDSD was a right step in the right direction for better coordination, it is an area where Nigerians will be expecting results. It is important that it remains among the minister’s important priorities given that almost half of the country’s population are facing different forms of poverty. In three months, the expectation is that a brand-new ministry especially in a developing country like Nigeria will still be sorting out issues relating to office space, organogram, structure, staffing, budget, and other logistics. However, the steps Hajiya Umar Farouq has taken so far shows that she is ready for business. It shows that Nigerians can look up to her to change the narrative. But Nigerians must be ready and willing to support her as communication, cooperation, collaboration, and coordination are fundamental in addressing the humanitarian challenges facing the country. No single individual acting alone can solve the problem. The minister’s steps so far are commendable. It shows that she can make a positive difference. Of course, she needs to make a positive difference so that posterity can be kind to her.

Dr. Marcus Edino, Humanitarian and Disaster Management Professional, Alberta, Canada.

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Opinion

Buni: A tireless and resolute champion

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Buni : A tireless and resolute champion 

By Haruna Yusuf 

His excellency, Mai Mala Buni, the executive Governor of Yobe state and the chairman of the ruling all progressive congress (APC) caretaker/Extraordinary national convention.Buni is always known to be a game changer and it is believed he has whatever it takes to turn around the fortunes of his state to the best and also bring back sanity in APC.
Buni’s antecedents stem from the beginning of his political career as a ward councillor at a tender age and rose rather rapidly through the political atmosphere of Yobe to the National/Secretary, now caretaker chairman of the ruling all progressive congress. 

There are times when we make history and there times when history makes us, Buni’s main characteristics are resilience, consistency, knowledge, people -skill, motivational approach and leading by example..What really made him great is, his foresight, vision, strategic planning and ability to serve, a leader par excellence. 

Loyalty is something one should take very seriously, because loyalty is everything, whether it’s a  friendship, relationship or a boss as an example. Putting your trust in someone and being loyal to them is something that is rare this days and hard to come by, people are brought up in different ways based on culture and believes, but what made Buni genuine is loyalty, consistency and honesty at all times, he is brave in his thinking and daring in action, that’s why he accomplishes everything he stands for and this assignment of reconciliation and bringing back sanity in APC is not and would not be an exception.

Today everyone can see Buni’s report card, he has scored extremely well, he has shown prudence especially in the use of merger resources of his state and the assignment of bringing sanity back in the ruling all progressive (congress APC) as the caretaker chairman. He is quite, very peaceful, not a noise maker but delivering on the job he signed for. Even as a National secretary of the ruling party he towered above his contemporaries in being an astute manager of people, a discipline leader and someone to be trusted with the state’s lean treasury to perform miracle, that lends credence to why we should appreciate the courage and sincerity of purpose of this personality in rising to the sacred state and national duty. 

Gov. Buni has so far, proved to be the best in governance and service delivery mandate, a level headed leader who is beyond reproach, he comes as consensus builder and one individual who will never improve himself at the expense of the people of the state, he is known and certified to be an astute manager of people and All-inclusive leader at all times.

Buni before now, has maintained a constraint office of the ruling all progressive congress (APC) National secretary, a role that comes with high visibility, but average  authority, still when judged by how well he was able to operate within the ambit, his records are strong, exemplary, transparent and committed in resolving internal crisis, this offers good example of Buni’s leadership style before emerging the Yobe state Governor. 

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Opinion

Gov. Buni Restoring Sanity in APC

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Gov. Buni Restoring Sanity in APC 

By Haruna Yusuf Abuja 

The chairman of the ruling All progressive congress (APC) caretaker/Extraordinary National convention committee and the Yobe state Governor, Hon. Mai Mala Buni is an astute manager of people and an all inclusive leader who carries everyone along irrespective of tribe, religion or political inclination. On assumption of office as the caretaker chairman of the ruling all progressive congress, the first and bold step he took was to pay homage/consult to the party leaders, he first visited Bisi Akande who is also relevant in the party politics before meeting with the cofounder Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu to seek for support and advice on how to sanitize and bring back all the aggrieved members who left or stopped participating in the party affairs for one reason or the other.  

The APC caretaker chairman, in his inaugural address after members of the committee were inaugurated assured party members that his led committee would work tirelessly on both short and long term strategies to reposition and bring the lost sanity back to the party, but all he will need is the support and cooperation of the members in other to achieve the reconciliation exercise, all hands must be on deck. 

This is therefore another opportunity for Buni to bring complete sanity 
back in APC, with his courage of conviction and sense of purpose as the national secretary of the party for 5 years, it is time to show the world what he has achieved in the task to chart the critical path to total political and economic emancipation of the people from the grip of PDP in the 2015 general elections. 

With all modesty, one political truth about Buni, is that he is a man gifted with a high degree of intelligence, experience, charismatic leadership and steadfastness needed to fix and restore sanity in APC, with his political insight in the game. Hon. Mai Mala Buni is among those who ushered in the current political dispensation and was the pioneer Yobe state chairman of the Action congress (AC) and later the All Nigeria People Party (ANPP) who are both legacy of APC. 

No one can go back in time to change what has happened, so, let’s work on the present to make our party one united family and stronger, Buni said. politicians will always have one of their own because the National chairman of the ruling  All progressive congress (APC) Hon. Mai Mala Buni was Born and bred by politics, he became a councillor when the NRC and SDP were birthed. Records of Buni’s Journey through the maze of Nigeria politics indicates that though he may have been or still is the most charismatic and industrious servant, his sweetest dreams somehow always seem to evade him at the moment he needs them the most. 

Gov. Buni is one man you’ll always want in your corner during political battle s, his frankness on issues is second to none and always maintained his word. In his few days as the National Chairman of the ruling all progressive congress (APC) he demonstrated to party members and Nigeria as a whole that ” he who calls for equity must come with clean hands” making it clear that the party can contain all and sundry, also ready and willing to resolve all issues with every aggrieved member. That the door is always opened for negotiation and welcoming new members to the progressives. 

Mai Mala Buni is known as Mr “Fixer” on his assumption of office he has received Dogara Yakubu and Senator Isah Misau the two powerful political gladiators from Bauchi, Returnees from across the states and he reconciled Edo/Ondo and put in place machineries ahead of the elections.
He reconciled all the APC state chairmen and pleaded with all the aggrieved party members who left to come back and partake in the affairs of the party, that’s the beginning of the return of sanity in APC. 

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How Gov. Buni’s Giant Strides will Turn The Fortunes Of Yobeans Around

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How Gov. Buni’s Giant Strides Will Turn The Fortunes Of Yobeans Around 

By Haruna Yusuf

Yobe state, a society with a rich history, with sons and daughters who have excelled and continue to excel in all fields of endeavour within the country and in many parts of the world; An agrarian state with huge economic potential has came to limelight in this led administration of Hon. Mai Mala Buni, the government is working aggressively to get Yobe back to reckoning by creating wealth and new jobs within different sectors, like training, infrastructure financing and access to skills and acquisition among others.

Yobe is becoming a shinning example of what governance should be about at all levels. Buni’s administration is a government that is dedicated to service and partnership with the people are engendered by trust, the government is open, transparent, honest and unpretentious all the time.

Since his assumption of office as the democratically elected Governor on 29may 2019, governance in Yobe has been tagged “promise made & kept”  because it has not been a pleasure ride as usual, it became serious business. Serious business doesn’t keep your shoes clean and the captain also doesn’t suffer his with such unnecessary pleasures he matches on, leading the change and never panting despite of the movements energized pace, no one cares to dare a tall man, you’d be left behind. 

The first achievement was on education, as education is the first priority of a child, been the fountain of knowledge that we are branded as, and education can become a means to an end, and can be deployed for economic growth and ensure it makes significant impacts in the life of the society.

The infrastructural sector in Buni’s government is one of a kind, in the course of giving dividend of democracy to the people. His administration keyed into projects that will impact directly in the life of the people, projects that enhance economic development and social stability in the state. The construction of Trailer Transit park and mechanic village in potiskum. The 3,600 housing units that cut across  the state, the Sunday market that is almost about completion to a modern standard, it will bring about revenue generation, empowerment of traders and also promote environmental sanitation. 

 Gov. Mai Mala Buni noted that the more reflects the policy of his administration to provide quality and affordable housing to the people of his state. inline with the united nations sustainable development Goals( SDGs) we believe that affordable housing is a key marker of social progress when people have comfortable accommodations, they are more likely to have right frame of mind to engage in meaningful socioeconomic activities. 

Buni triggered revolution on agriculture as Yobe is an agrarian state, thus, agriculture becomes a veritable engine growth, he distributed 108 tractors to the 17 local government areas and provide fertilizers at a subsidized price to ease farmers suffering. He also signed a pack with the kingdom of morocco to bring about modern mechanized system of farming and the production of high quality and value added products and also publicize the abundant hidden natural resources to the limelight of the world.

As part of Buni’s determination to institute a functional primary healthcare system, 178 healthcare facilities is ongoing in the 17 local government areas of the state and assigned the personnel required to manage them effectively. An MOU was also signed between Yobe Government, Bill & Melinda gates & Dangote foundations to carter for the state on primary healthcare services. Free Dialysis for kidney patients and free medical services for pregnant women till they give birth, medical service for accident victims irrespective of state, if you’re in Yobe or it occurred around the state.

Gov. Buni’s government empowers youths, women and less privileged through state emergency management (SEMA) and sustainable development Goals (SDGs) training and empowering them with necessary equipment and cash to takeoff. 

Buni’s frankness on issues is second to none, he says it as it is, to whoever it is, at whatever time matters come to a head, that’s why he is known to be a man with few words. Today everyone can see his record card, he has scored extremely well and shown prudence especially in the use of resources of the state. That lends credence to why we should appreciate the courage and sincerity of purpose of this personality in rising to the sacred state and national duties.

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