Bukar Abba Ibrahim is a renowned Nigerian politician and distinguished Abusite who was governor of Yobe State in Nigeria from 29 May 1999 to 29 May 2007. He also served as governor of the state from January 1992 to November 1993.
Bukar Abba Ibrahim was born in October 1950. He began attending primary school in 1957. In 1965, he proceeded to Government College in Maiduguri. After taking the West African School Certificate Examination in 1970, he was admitted to Ahmadu Bello University in 1972 where he obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Quantity Surveying in 1975.
Thereafter, he undertook post-graduate professional training in the United Kingdom from 1981 to 1982, which led to his qualification as an associate member of the Nigeria Institute of Quantity Surveyors.
From 1985 to 1988, he worked as a civil servant in Borno State eventually becoming Commissioner of Works.
In December 1991, a few months after Yobe State was created, Ibrahim contested and won the gubernatorial election under the banner of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). He held that position until November 1993, when the military took control of the government.
Nigeria transitioned from military to civilian rule beginning in late 1998. Gubernatorial elections were held in January 1999 and Ibrahim was again elected governor, this time under the banner of the All People’s Party (APP), and took office on 29 May 1999.
The APP was later renamed All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) due to a factional split. He was re-elected in 2003 for a second four-year term and was one of only four incumbent ANPP governors to maintain their positions.
During his first term, on 5 August 1993, Ibrahim split the state’s four emirates into 13. This change was reversed by the military regime of Sani Abacha. In his second term after the return to democracy, on 6 January 2000, he re-implemented the new emirates, adding Ngazargamu, Gujba, Nguru, Tikau, Pataskum, Yusufari, Gudi, Fune, and Jajere.
The Emir of Fika, Muhammadu Abali, vehemently protested at the break-up of his emirate and took the government to court, but eventually accepted the change.
In 2007, he was elected to the Senate for the Yobe East constituency. He ran for re-election in the 9 April 2011 Senatorial contest for Yobe East on the ANPP platform and won with 115,763 votes against former Senator Lawan Jalo Zarami of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who gained 67,438 votes. He subsequently contested and won a 3rd term in 2015.
In September 2019 during his visit to Gov. Ibrahim Gaidam at the Yobe Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro Abuja, Dr. Bukar Abba Ibrahim announced his withdrawal from the race for senate in the 2019 elections and endorsed the candidature of Governor Ibrahim Gaidam, who contested for the same Senate seat and won.
The senator said: “I am thankful to Almighty God for His bounties. What I had is more than enough alhamdulillah. I was commissioner, governor three times, and senator also three times. The only thing I never got so far politically is the president of Nigeria”.
Senator Abba Bukar Ibrahim subsequently announced his retirement from active politics. He declared: “I will not contest election in future anymore because of my age. I have done my best for the country.
Some Achievements of Bukar Abba Ibrahim
Under the stewardship of Bukar Abba Ibrahim, Yobe State recorded a modest infrastructural development. Professionally, being a quantity surveyor himself, Bukar Ibrahim thrives in the realms of the built environment and demonstrated that the bedrock of any development programme is a sound infrastructure.
Damaturu, the capital city underwent a rapid transformation turning to a sprawling modern metropolis with a good road network, an improved water supply system, better health care facilities, and an improved drainage system.
A total of N14.55bn ($110m) was spent on the construction of over 500km of roads. Both urban and rural areas benefited from an improved road and drainage system. New bridges were built and old ones rehabilitated. This made transportation of goods and services in the state easier.
Given the arid climatic conditions of the state, much of the clean water available to the population is sourced from underground by means of boreholes mechanized by diesel-fueled power-generating sets or solar panels, and dug-out wells in smaller rural communities. Over 1,000 concrete-lined wells were constructed. About 550 dry wells rehabilitated, and over 200 mechanized boreholes drilled.
The health sector also saw improvements during Governor Ibrahim’s regime. Over N1.2bn ($9.3m) was spent on the rehabilitation of the existing general hospitals and health centers, while new comprehensive health centers and maternal and child health centers were built throughout the state.
The Bukar Abba Ibrahim’s administration also ensured that most of the major towns in Yobe State were connected to the National Grid, whilst the smaller towns are supplied by the Rural Electrification Board.
As an agrarian state where nearly 30% of the population is involved in food and cash crops production as well as livestock farming and fishing. Governor Ibrahim’s administration introduced the “Back to Farm Programme” which saw the provision of infrastructural and institutional research as well as support services in the agricultural sector.
The ultimate goal was to increase efficiency and productivity in the sector in order to discourage a rural-urban drift of the population. This policy successfully made the population self-reliant and self-sufficient in the production of food and cash crops. Yobe became the breadbasket of the northeast, and one of Nigeria’s leading livestock producers.
Yobe is Nigeria’s largest producer of high grade Gum Arabic, which used to be an important foreign exchange earner in the Sahel region of Nigeria before the current reliance on the oil and gas sector.