Exactly today fifty- two years ago in cosmopolitan Kaduna, little Yusuf Buba Yakub was born to the family of Capt. Buba.
Life began for the young Buba after completing his Primary School education at the Army Children’ s School,New Cantonment “A”,Kaduna, in 1979.From Kaduna, he had proceeded to Maiha,a sprawling,bubbly town of those days in his native Gongola State ,which was considered quite conducive to the kind of education that was expected to leave very lasting impressions on such young and impressionable minds as young Yusuf’s.
At the Government Secondary School,Maiha,then Gongola State,young Yusuf had the very first knowledge and taste of what home ,as distinct from the Kaduna of those days that very much appeared like a mini Nigeria, was all about .More importantly,Yusuf was able to apply discreetly his ” city” wisdom to deal freely with students,some of who had come to Maiha from all parts of the country and as far as from the neighbouring Cameroon,to acquire good education and the necessary finesse needed to function in and to deal with the challenges of a richly endowed emerging great Nigerian nation of the 70s.
Perhaps,it may be right to suggest that it was from Maiha,given the diverse backgrounds of those that dwelt in it in those days and the realities that sprouted from that cosmopolitanism,that the young Yusuf cut his leadership teeth and his quick knack for problem- solving. For,in that academic environment,he had come face- to-face early in his quite maliable mind with the challenging realities of staying alone,making critical decisions for himself and,indeed, for many others, who had found in him a rallying figure of sorts in many matters of life. All of these,generally speaking,had obviously helped in no small measure in teaching the very independent- minded youth the lessons he needed to horn his leadership skills in a place that was an admixture of boys and girls from everywhere around, including the faraway cities of Kaduna,Jos,Kano,Maiduguri as well as the surrounding Adamawa communities and villages.
Rt. Hon. Buba remembers those days as exciting. This is largely because,for the very first time ,he says ,he was able to dwell among his people and made friends with those from communities near his own . With those relationships came such strong bonds of friendship that glued future socio- political ties,a greater number of which have endured to this very day. He informs that it was such excitement and the deep- seated zeal to explore deeper the very psychosocial make-up of his people that further informed his choice to stay back upon graduation from Maiha in order to enroll into the College of Preliminary Studies in Yola. From there, young Yusuf would further move to the College of Legal Studies in pursuit of a Diploma in Law. At the end of that academic stint, however, he decided to further move northwards to Bauchi for an Advanced Diploma in Business Administration and Management at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University.
Already fully prepared for some kind of independence from parents and other kith and kin at a time most of his age mates were still learning to master the contours of their immediate environment,young Yusuf launched himself into many personal ventures and enterprises that would eventually set him apart as a man of dreams,action and resilience.He was restless to win in all fields that took his fancy and dogged in the pursuit of his vision and convictions.
He plunged headlong into business,farming, catering,commodity trading, writing,politics and into just anything from which he thought he could raise a financial empire that would enable him live his dreams of the kind of life he had seen in Kaduna and the many places those engagements had made him visit.Life seemed so good and largely promising. He lived large and happy and was, obviously,headed for a great rendeavous in life when, suddenly,the beat went down and the great empire he had envisioned came crashing before his very eyes like a pack of cards! The entire scenario was such a pitiable fall that had left,almost perpetually,a bitter taste in the mouth and lessons that would also endure to this very day.
The welcoming arms of Abuja,the Federal Capital Territory,became the only succour for the young and forlorn Yusuf,who had sought an exhilarating escape from his woes and everything that reminded of his painful loss. He had received such a great humbling from the realities of his past experience as an investor. Now he had learnt from his mistakes and needed to move on with his life in a place that was for him a virgin and promising land. He was prepared to do all it would take to bounce back to reckoning as a ” big boy”. He had enrolled for a degree in Political Science at the University of Abuja while driving his desire to be a Real Estate Developer in the city.
As if taking a cue,one after another, everything had suddenly begun to fall into place,albeit,much sooner than he had really expected. Rewards for every little effort came fast and in good measures. Soon,he was on the way to recovering all the years that the locusts had eaten. Again, bountiful harvests from years of loss and real hard work were beginning to pour in torrential speed. It was time to live real life again,but this time he was better armed with the benefits of experience.
The Years of Public Service.
Through a twist of faith and some act of providence,Abuja had suddenly become a promised land for the young man who ,more or less,had fled his home in a tat of despair.There was no gainsaying the fact that the Federal Capital City was the place of his settlement and he had seen that in all he did again and again. His eventual meeting with one of the promoters of his destiny in Abuja was,finally,all that he needed to consolidate his stay in the city.Buba was appointed an Aide to Alh. Dahiru Bobo,the then Director General, National Boundaries Commission. It was this appointment that took him to all parts of the country and beyond in assignments aimed at determining boundaries between States,resolving disputes and securing national territories with contiguous nations around Nigeria. But,more importantly,it was the job at the National Boundaries Commission that had exposed Hon. Buba to the workings and rudiments of the civil service environment ,while setting him up for the years ahead in his eventual foray into public service.
Armed with several professional certificates, including a B.Sc in Political Science from the University of Abuja,Hon. Buba also relaunched himself into the politics of the FCT. With very huge financial capacities, he began to sponsor and mentor upcoming politicians who,in turn,held him in high esteem as a leader that was selfless, unassuming, humble and,above all, generous. As his influence grew, he received invitation regularly for business and political meetings from very important personalities in Government,in the military and from the original indigenes of Abuja,whose ears had been filled with the tales of Buba’ s generosity and honest dealings by their youth who prospected for land across the city.
Consequent upon his outstanding political credentials in the FCT, especially,with the amount of development he had midwived in the area at the time,Hon. Buba was at this time constantly inundated with the request to present himself for an elective office in the FCT. He would always,humbly,express gratitude to those who believed he would make a good lawmaker,but insisted that he must not be an elected representative to do the many things he was doing in the FCT and for its indigenes at the time. Many honours, recognitions and accolades came at this time and continued to build the social capital of the emerging national leader.
It was at this time that some well- known national progressives had approached Hon. Buba to join them to form a progressive political platform that they hoped would help them take away the stifling grip of the ruling People’s Democratic Party from the neck of the nation. That movement saw the birth of the Advanced Congress of Democrats ( ACD), led by the former National Secretary of the erstwhile Social Democratic Party( SDP),Engr. Chief Alexis Anielo of blessed memory. In spite of being , obviously,the youngest among the founders of the Party , Hon. Buba was trusted with the coffers of the Party when he was appointed the first National Treasurer of the Party from where he would rise in the years ahead to become the Party’s well- respected National Chairman and Leader with very towering influence among the few political parties of those days.
Political Offices Held Across the Years.
It is important at this point,for want of space,to peer through the many political positions Hon. Buba has held in the preparation for tomorrow’ s leadership.
- Local Government Treasurer, Social Democratic Party ( SDP),Hong Local Government Area, Adamawa State,1992-1993;
- State Organising Secretary,United Nigeria Congress Party( UNCP), Adamawa State,1996-1998;
*Member, National Accreditation Committee, People’s Democratic Party ( PDP),1999;
- Agent of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo at the Jos Presidential Convention,1999;
- National Treasurer, Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD),2005-2006;
- Member ,National Exco, Action Congress ( AC),2006-2008;
*National Chairman, Advanced Congress of Democrats,2008- 2014;
*Chairman, Technical Committee, Inter- Party Advisory Council ( IPAC)2011-2014;
- Caucus Member,All Progressives Congress ( APC), Adamawa State,
- Member, House of Representatives,2015- 2019;
- Chairman,House Committee on Nigeria- China Relations,2016- 2019;
- Member,National Executive Committee ( NEC),All Progressives Congress ( APC),2016 – Date;
- Chairman,Ad Hoc Committee on Dapchi School Girls Kidnap,2017;
*Member and Chairman,Sub- Committee on Economic Development, Presidential Committee on Northeast Initiative( PCNI),2016-2018;
- Re-elected Member,House of Representatives,2019- 2023;
*Aspirant to the Position of Speaker,House of Representatives,2019;
- Chairman,House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee to Determine Why the Eastern Ports are Not Being Put to Maximal Use,2019;
- Chairman,House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs,2020- date Business and Other Extra- curricular Activities
*Chairman, Yuby Ventures Nigeria Limited,1997-2015;
*Chairman,Yuby Estates and Properties,2000- 2015;
- Chairman,Yuby Farms,2005- 2015;
- President,Yuby Fish Village Cooperative Society,2010-2015;
*President, Abuja Aqua Alliance Cooperative Society,2011-2015;
*Secretary,Catfish Farmers Association,Abuja Branch,2011-2015;
- Member,Real Estate Development Association of Nigeria,Abuja.
*Chairman,Police Community Relations Committee,.2008- 2015
- Founder, Captain Buba Foundation,2014- date ,among many other positions.
Rt. Hon. Yusuf Buba Yakub has over the past thirty years used his various positions to alleviate the problems of humanity. As a practising farmer and real estate mogul,he has continued to train youths and groups on many aspects of all that he knows how to do best; in that regard,giving vent to his personal Moto,which says: ” The Glow of Your Candle can Never Diminish by Using it to Light Other People’s Candles”. This is quite reminiscent of the Biblical saying that,” freely you receive, freely you should give”.
Consequent upon the above,Rt. Hon. Buba in his freer moments whenever he was not attending to matters of State had constantly used his personal means to train youths on fish farming and empowered them with start- up capital to evolve a life of self- sustenance among the nation’s youth. He had done so for groups in places of worship,in Government offices and establishments and among meetings of different ethnic nationalities in and around the Federal Capital Territory.
It is pertinent to point out here that it was after one of such group empowerment trainings that a very close friend to Rt. Hon. Buba had advised him to ” go home” to his native Adamawa State and begin to carry out such services that he was undertaking in the FCT and its environs at the time,which had built for him so much political and social capital. This, according to the man, would,in turn,afford him the opportunity to present himself for an elective office in his native Adamawa State.
Again,Rt. Hon.Buba had insisted he did not need an elective office since his State Assembly victory in his State during the dying days of military regime in Nigeria was not allowed to see the light of day,not to talk of what he thought was a mere headlong plunge into campaigns amidst the precarious situation of his Northeastern enclave of 2014, when the nefarious activities of the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents were at their greatest height of wickedness of man against his kind.
Thanks to the great people of Gombi/ Hong Federal Constituency,that first election and everything that went with it are now history. But the lessons from it all,Buba insists,remain indelibly etched on the very tablet of his heart. He emphasises that no man should venture into elections when he does not have the support of his people right at his very back. The reason for this assertion,he says,is not farfetched; elections cost a fortune,cost life,cost liberty as well as induce poverty. According to the entrepreneur and political tactician, anyone that must venture into politics without his people must reckon with those realities to self-advise.
Availing himself of his R.E.S.T(R for Representation,E for Effectiveness,S for Selflessness and T for Transparency) Agenda in the representation of the people of Gombi/ Hong Federal Constituency,Rt. Hon. Buba had hit the ground running such that ,even before earning a Kobo in the National Assembly,he had drawn funds from his personal finances to establish the Capt. Buba Industrial Village in Faci on several sprawling hectares of land that is situated between the two Local Councils that make up his Constituency. From his field feasibility even before taking office,the lawmaker had carefully taken time to study and rank,in order of priority,the development needs of his Constituency,with youth/ women empowerment and access to water and sanitation as some of the highest challenges.
At about the same time, Rt. Hon. Buba had also acquired borehole- drilling machines and rigs, including other necessary materials needed to prosecute the task ahead. The results of those acts of wisdom were almost immediate and target- struck. Within the following months ,the Captain Buba Industrial Village,Faci,had graduated over one thousand youths and women ,who were also empowered with starter- packs and cash grants to start life in their chosen fields of endeavour,which include the following:
- Welding and Metal Works;
- Hair Dressing, Barbing and Tailoring;
*Hat and Bead- making,Soap and Detergent- making and Tye and dye;
- Computer Appreciation, Graphics and Design
- Baking and Confectionery and in other areas of skills acquisition and development.
It is also worthy of note to point out here that,in the area of provision of water,Rt. Hon. Buba had within few months of his first coming to the House as Gombi/ Hong Rep sunk hundreds of boreholes across his Constituency. He would in the years ahead before the end of his first tenure sink one borehole for each of the 254 Polling Units in Gombi/ Hong Federal Constituency and over 100 more in many strategic locations in both Gombi and Hong, bringing their number to over 300 boreholes as at today. Today,just as the number of the boreholes has since skyrocketed, over twenty thousand youths and women have, with the sole support of Rt. Hon. Buba,his Chinese partners and the technical support of the National Directorate on Employment ( NDE), graduated from the skills acquisition and capacity development centre, drawing the attention of Governments of the Northeastern States,lawmakers from the Zone and other non- State Actors in one fell swoop to the centre.
Over the past five years as a lawmaker in the Green Chambers of the National Assembly,Rt. Hon. Buba has used the opportunity provided by his office to source for pensionable appointments in the Federal Civil Service for the people of his Constituency. He has attracted road rehabilitation projects,water projects,school blocks,bridges and all other forms of infrastructure from which his Constituency had suffered before his coming to office. The astute lawmaker has also supported scholarship through the payment of school fees and offering education support to over 300 students in Secondary and Tertiary Institutions each year.For those in Primary Schools,Rt. Hon. Buba has ensured the availability of branded note books, learning aids/materials and furniture all year round. He has also ensured that over 250 youths of his Constituency ,who have been designated SAs,receive directly from him monthly salaries that range from N30,000 to N50,000 every month. All of these are verifiable,since those payments come via well- documented bank channels. There are other such rich strides in the provision of fertilizer and other agricultural inputs and in the carrying out of the annual medical intervention mission in his Constituency.
To cap all of the above ,Hon. Buba has continued to avail his Constituency of the advantage of his high visibility in the 9th House of Representatives,whose very leadership he once aspired to assume,to constantly put his Constituency on the front burner of Legislative discourses, especially,in relation to some of the happenings and cases of violence and natural occurrences in the area.
As a leading light of the House of Representatives,who enjoys the confidence and friendship of the entire leadership of the House,Rt. Hon. Buba has in the last five years personally sponsored over 15 Bills and moved over 40 Motions on various aspects of national life and challenges. He has used his present position in the House as Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee to seek to reform and redefine our nation’s Foreign Policy,its goals, objectives and its staff. Today ,Rt. Hon. Buba’ s patriotic zeal in that regards is second to none in the entire 9th House,where open commendations have been offered to him at plenary by the leadership of the House for acts of exemplary service to the nation.
Reputed to have used his personal means to further national engagements and assignments,today,any such engagements or assignments that desire seriousness,tenacity of purpose, comprehensive and tested results that emanate from painstaking,careful approaches to issues are, seemingly, Rt. Hon. Buba ‘ s rights to undertake.
As we join his immediate family, comprising his amiable soulmate of many years,Nancy Buba, their three wonderful and highly intelligent children, two of whom are already done with graduate classes after College, members of their larger family ,friends,associates and colleagues,to celebrate this wonderfully performing lawmaker,farmer, businessman and seasoned entrepreneur and the impact he has made on mankind within the last thirty years in which he has been in the glare of the public,which time and space cannot allow us to comprehensively enumerate here, we can only look back to guess that what lies ahead for Rt. Hon. Yusuf Buba Yakub are greater than what we have seen these past years behind him.
For Rt. Hon. Buba,in the words of Lucius Annaeus Seneca,a Hispano- Roman Stoic Philosopher, Statesman and Dramatist,” Not how long,but how well you have lived is the main thing”. In the past 52 years,Rt. Hon. Buba’s life remains a sturdy in hard work,diligence, doggedness and purpose-driven quest for leadership as a means of developing society and mankind in general. This is a tribute to all that the gentleman lawmaker and entrepreneur represents as he puts behind him his 52nd Birthday.
Journalist,Author and Politician is Special Adviser to Rt. Hon. Buba on Media and Public Affairs.