He is either in white or blue colours. These are his two favourite colours. White represents peace while blue represents love. The two colours incidentally reflect the true character of Mai Mala Buni, the Yobe state Governor, a man of peace and love.
Coincidentally, the two colours in the military circle are associated with the Navy. While the Navy is known for its sea force, Buni has proved himself to be a sea force political General, with an uncommon expertise and tactics in overcoming political wild storms, the murky political waters and the turbulent political waves.
Calm, calculated and soft-spoken, Buni approaches every political complication and problem with measured steps to disable the compass of adversaries, rendering ill-motivated path finders of his direction and movements ineffective and clueless. Buni is blessed with the patience to listen, critically observe and analyse situations. He is never in a haste to respond to criticisms. Thus, leaving his adversaries in bewilderment and setting more confusion into their minds. While awaiting his reaction on certain issues or attacks, he moves ahead like the submarine beneath the sea, only to emerge far ahead and successful.
The extraordinarily humble and generous character of Governor Mai Mala Buni, has always attracted so many people to him, comprising the good, the bad and the ugly. As it is with human nature, some stick to him out of genuine love, others to get what they can, while some, to pretend to love him, get close and eventually backstab him if need be.
It is often said, if you want to test the true character of a man, give him power, knowledge and money. It reveals the true identity of human beings. In Buni, neither power nor money has changed him. He has ever remained humble, accessible, giving, sympathetic and willing to concede for peace to reign and love to thrive.
The last 34 months as a Governor and 18 months as Chairman of the All Progressives Congress Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, has revealed so many virtues of humility, tolerance, responsibility, determination and greatness in the man Mai Mala Buni.
The most trying moment of this test however came at the end of his tenure as the chairman of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the APC, when unsubstantiated accusations were thrown at him in a bid to provoke him to throw away the bath water along with the baby and to depict him as a failure, and/or for the party to go back to square one, just some few months to the 2023 general elections. But Governor Mai Mala Buni resisted and refused to be provoked and never responded to any of the vituperations. He first called me as his spokesman advising me not to respond to the attacks, then followed with a directive and finally a warning never to say a word on the attacks.
I was perplexed, uncomfortable and confused, looking at the good time and energy Governor Buni had invested to rescue the APC, denying himself some comfort, sacrificing his official and personal time to the party. As a media man, l wanted the World to hear our side of the story and wondered the wisdom in him shutting me down. Until when Malam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, issued a statement cautioning governors and party stakeholders against backstabbing and name calling. And when finally, President Muhammadu Buhari, declared my principal, Governor Buni, as the authentic chairman to conduct the Convention, l realised the wisdom in doing much work rather than speaking too much. The maxim that “Let your action speak louder for you” readily came to mind.
For lovers of His Excellency Governor Mai Mala Buni, political pundits and adversaries, the APC National Convention, and transmission of power from the CECPC to a substantive National Working Committee, was undoubtedly peaceful and successful. It has made Buni to walk honourably and gloriously in Nigeria’s political history as attested by President Buhari who repeatedly said APC has bounced back to life courtesy of the Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Committee.
Buhari said, “I want to congratulate us all for being part of this history making event and to specially appreciate the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee which has been on a rescue mission, under the leadership of His Excellency the Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, for successfully piloting the affairs of the party in the last 18 months and organising this Convention to elect a new National Working Committee that will take over from the Caretaker Committee.
“I am glad the party under the Caretaker Committee has bounced back to life with the reconciliation of several key and critical stakeholders and groups, who had hitherto left the party or were on the verge of leaving the party. The reconciliation process gave the aggrieved stakeholders a true sense of belonging and assurance.”
The elated President did not hide his positive thoughts about the Buni led committee, saying, “It is gratifying that the party recorded massive and unprecedented defections under the Caretaker Committee administration. APC received three sitting Governors, a Deputy Governor, Senators, Members of the House of Representatives and state assemblies, and other key officials from opposition parties who defected along with millions of their supporters. I am impressed to learn that the membership registration and revalidation exercise undertaken by the Caretaker Committee, has recorded over 41 Million members. This has proved that we are indeed Nigeria’s leading and largest political party. It also exhibits our numerical strength and the potential to win elections at all given times fairly and squarely.”
The Buni led CEPC, had, among others, reconciled feuding critical stakeholders, groups, camps and factions, conducted membership registration and revalidation exercise registering over 41 million members, wooed three serving governors of Ebonyi State, His Excellency, Dave Umahi, Cross River State; His Excellency, Dr. Ben Ayade and Zamfara State, Alhaji Bello Mutawalle along with millions of their supporters into the party.
Governor Buni with a charming informed the National Convention delegates, observers and onlookers, “I am glad to add that the fortunes of the party were further enriched with the defection of former Speakers of the House of Representatives, former PDP national chairman, member PDP Board of Trustees, several Distinguished Senators and Honourable members of the House of Representatives and state assemblies, and several other heavyweights cutting across all the geo-political zones of the country.
“Let me reassure those of you whose defections are being challenged in the courts that you have nothing to fear because your defections did not contravene any law. You will by the grace of God emerge successful and victorious in the superior courts at the end of these litigations. Your wise decision to join APC along with Millions of your supporters shall never be in vain.”
The purchase of the APC National Secretariat ‘Buhari House’ is no doubt a monumental achievement by the CECPC as this has permanently settled the accommodation challenges of the nine year old political party when compared to 23 years and above political parties with lots of resources but yet to own permanent Secretariats.
The engagement of women, Youth and People Living With Disabilities by the Buni led CECPC in the affairs of the party, makes APC different in terms of all inclusiveness in Nigeria’s democracy.
And not to be forgotten is the successful conduct of the ward, local and state Congresses, as well as the amendment of the party’s constitution. This provides a solid, stable and unwavering platform for the just concluded peaceful, successful, rewarding and fruitful National Convention of Africa’s largest political party, the APC.
The ground preparation by the Buni-led Committee for APC, has no doubt lessened internal problems, narrowed down animosities, resuscitated party loyalty and supremacy. Unarguably, the Abdullahi Adamu-led National Working Committee has the advantage and capacity to build on these fortunes for a successful ride to victory in the 2023 general elections.
. Mamman is the Director General, Press and Media Affairs to Governor Mai Mala Buni