Fintiri: Adamawa basking in the rays of democracy

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The return of Ahmadu Fintiri on May 29, 2023, as governor of Adamawa state for a second term must be giving all well-meaning citizens of the state goosebumps. It’s not every day that an incumbent worth his onion is returned elected. It’s even more significant in the case of Adamawa considering the corrupt gymnastics that were commissioned by a certain Barrister Hudu who attempted to stand our laws on the head. But, for the vigilance of the people of Adamawa and a proactive umpire, the state would have been locked in a pungent legal battle occasioned by the greed of one man and his highly placed backers.

Well, thank God that disaster was averted, giving Adamawa the opportunity to witness this period of renewed and reinvigorated march towards sustained dividends of democracy. A commitment that Fintiri reiterated in his inaugural speech titled Hope Restored. “Let us embrace as I solemnly pledge to provide the leadership that will make this change work”, he said.

No one who has witnessed events in Adamawa will have any doubt that leadership is being provided in the state to the good of the people. His commitment at inauguration to strengthening security, reimagining the state’s economy, repositioning its civil service, overhauling the pension and gratuity scheme to make exit payment of benefits routine, building a robust human capital, building a robust labour-government relationship, caring for the people.

Governor Fintiri’s audacious resolve to make Adamawa the best state not just in Nigeria, but in the comity of states may have sounded preposterous at inauguration, but events in the state since May 29 may have calmed even the fiercest of critics.

In many sense, the Fintiri and Prof Kelatapwa Farauta’s first 100 days have not been any different from the governor’s previous years. It’s headlined by prompt payment of salaries even as he has kept faith with many of his social welfare and agricultural programmes. 

Perhaps, the greatest and most celebrated event of this period will be Fintiri’s social connection with his people at their dire point of need. Many governors are struggling to make head of the hardship afflicting Nigerians following the withdrawal of fuel subsidy and its attendant all time high inflation.

As the people of Adamawa as in other states were still struggling to articulate the structure and content the palliatives that could really assuage the suffering of the people, Fintiri opened by approving a N10,000 salary increase for civil servants.

This was followed by a comprehensive intervention package that cuts across all sectors. For farmers, the intervention came in form of highly subsidised and wholly free fertiliser. Without making it too obvious, the plan is to encourage farmers to attack the farming season with vigour and work towards cultivating enough food to service both their subsistence and economic needs.

For the generality of the people of Adamawa, the palliative package of grains (60,000) 25kg bags of rice/maize and some money went round without a fuss. Then came the governor’s signature palliative – the procurement of 10 Innoson luxury buses at ₦1,06 billion to be deployed for intra and inter local government areas transportation. The aim is, of course, to bring down the cost of transportation for both workers in the formal and informal sectors and generally make life easier.

On security, the people of Adamawa state can’t be any safer. The governor has continued to police the state with equanimity and every sense of seriousness. This made his first 100 days to pass almost without any untoward incident. Farmers have continued to cultivate their lands, just as everyone has been going about their lawful business in an atmosphere of peace. On inauguration, the governor gave the so-called Shilla cult group two weeks to reform or ship out. That warning has either been heeded or the natural cause of leadership has taken its course. This is because the Shilla group has been quiet since inauguration. 

The temptation is always to dismiss the man’s wonderful showing since his swearing in as the expectation from one who is not new to the mantle of leadership, but we have seen so called experienced governors fumbling at the second time of asking. So, no; governor Fintiri is simply cut from a different cloth from others. He has remained steadfast to the social contract he entered with the people of Adamawa!

The people of Adamawa have seen enough to convince them that the ride ahead will be smoother than ever. For the first time, there’s a feeling of unity of purpose among the people of Adamawa; the so-called minority of the state rallied around Fintiri before, during and after the election.

Kera writes from Kaduna, Kaduna state