Currently, Governor Mai Mala Buni is undertaking construction of modern markets in Buni Yadi, Damaturu, Potiskum, Gashu’a and Nguru. Soon, more towns will benefit from such project. The emphasis on markets has more to do with emphasis on encouraging trade and business; both of which are key to economic sustainability.
But let me digress. Since his inauguration, the current governor of Yobe state clearly indicated his commitment towards getting the state out of the woods. This was why he started by declaring emergency on education. This was followed by more investment in school’s infrastructure, teacher training and closer supervision, with emphasis on primary and secondary education. So far, the state of emergency has started yielding results with improved performance in WAEC and more enrollment in primary schools. To consolidate this gain, Governor Buni is also embarking on construction of mega schools across the state. These schools are going to be mega in every sense of the word; because they will provide room for more children to be in school and decongest classrooms across Yobe state. Clearly, the priority of state government is education. But life is dynamic and that was why other sectors are also being given priority in almost equal measure. The point is, making sure that one sector complements the other in accelerating development.
One of the ways in which Yobe state is accelerating dynamic development is through emphasis on developing the state’s local economy. It is an approach steeped in ‘looking within.’ Developing the local economy involves providing conducive environment for businesses. The major towns of Buni Yadi, Damaturu, Gashua, Nguru and Potiskum were well known trading routes for so many years. These towns and others provide a meeting point for buyers and sellers of notable goods that are still relevant in today’s market. While building new markets Governor Buni is also revamping urban and rural infrastructure, like roads and drainages. Afterall, the backbone of trade is transportation.
The ongoing markets project is important because it is bringing modern markets to the major towns of Yobe state. Apart from shops, the markets will have abattoir, parking lots, roads and security outposts. These facilities, apart from easing business will also create an environment that can attract businesses and investment to these towns. With the new markets Yobe state has the potentials of becoming a regional trading hub.
The economy of Yobe state is largely agriculture focused – both rain and dry season farming – from north to the southern parts of the state. Therefore, the local economy revolves around access to markets. With more markets, people of Yobe state will have less to worry about where to take their produce and businessmen will not have to worry about modern trading space befitting their investments. The new markets will help in boosting the local economy and enhancing trade at the local level – within the state and beyond. Looking at the markets project one can say that it is strategic vision of Governor Mai Mala Buni to make Yobe state thrive economically — and to look within and grow within first.
By the time these markets are completed, the people of Yobe state will be experiencing a development many have been yearning, for so many years.
Mr Maina writes from Potiskum, Yobe state