In the heat of the Boko Haram insurgency a couple of years ago, the main poser on most lips was whether the states at the receiving end of the radical sect’s mindless war would be able to weather the storm. Hence, when the government of the then President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency on the North-east states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe in 2013, all eyes were on the governments of these states with a view to seeing what they can do in terms of pulling their chestnut out of the raging fire.
Many of those who watched developments in the besieged area with keen attention focused on the fate of the education sector with particular interest, given the fact that Boko Haram, which translates to “Western Education is Evil,” had been targeting this particular sector with reckless abandon, lying to waste countless schools and communities.
Against this background, Yobe people’s excitement knew no bounds when they beheld Governor Ibrahim Gaidam in action as he set about the Herculean task of repairing the damage done by the outlawed sect. Watching the proactive and visionary Yobe helmsman in action, they needed no one to confirm to them that a consummate leader with an impressive array of leadership and management acumen is at the helm of affairs.
Fast-forward the second week of January 2017 for a bird’s eye-view of how really proactive and action-packed Yobe’s number one citizen can be. On this day as the harmattan breeze spread its wings across the nooks and crannies of Yobe state, the governor was in the thick of action at Government Secondary School, Yunusari. His mission? On-the-spot inspection of ongoing renovation works. Aside from this particular school, two other Government Secondary School, Giwo-Kura and Government Secondary School, Fika were also being renovated at an impressive pace. Constructs for their rehabilitation were awarded at the cost of about N 1.3 billion some three months ago.
Even as he urged the contractors to speed-up the pace of work at the three cites, Gaidam announced that six additional secondary schools (two each in the state’s three senatorial zones) would be renovated within the New Year. Accordingly, he assured that any of the contractors who lived up to expectations would be given due consideration in the award of the forthcoming new contracts. On the other hand, the less-than-serious ones would be dumped.
Looking forward, Gaidam declared that before the end of his tenure in 2019, his administration would continue to invest massively in the education sector. This, he emphasized, was with a view to ensuring that quality education is accessible to every Yobe child, irrespective of the havoc wrought by Boko Haram and despite the prevailing economic recession in the country.
In fact, it is not only the education sector that has been enjoying Gaidam’s giant strides despite pervasive insurgency and economic meltdown: Just as he brought his acclaimed ‘magic touch’ to bear on the fortunes of the education sector, other equal important sectors are also being accorded unrivalled attention. These include health, agriculture, road networks and so on.
Not less impressive was the recent local government areas election held in Yobe State. At a time when his counterparts said they cannot hold council elections due to paucity of funds, Gaidam not only bucked the trend but organized what has been widely adjudged as a credible, free and fair grass root poll.
What is so particularly impressive regarding these giant strides is that he has continued to record them in spite of the unprecedented terrorism and nation-wide recession. From whichever angle one may look at it, it is crystal clear that in Ibrahim Gaidam, Yobe state has found a leader ahead of his time.