Fintiri’s historic return and wheel balancing in government

Despite conspiracies to scuttle his the will of the Adamawa electorate, Governor Umar Fintiri succeeded to make history by winning his re-election and took fresh oath of office for another four years journey. MUAZU ABARI chronicles how the governor is righting the wrongs of his last four years.

The desperation 

When the history of desperate politics in 2023 election, is written, Adamawa state will not only occupy a front burner but will continue to serve as a reference point on all what is wrong with our politics and electoral system in Nigeria.

Call it a shameless dance of political desperados who wanted to rise to power even through the blood of innocent citizens were on the line or a day light political robbery of an unimaginary proportion, you will not be wrong.

Infact, it is more of a treason aimed at forcefully overthrowing a dully elected government at all cost and by all means by agents of darkness in a shameless manner.

Although, politics of desperation, fraud, manipulations and other divisive tendencies orchestrated by politicians to clinch to power at all costs have always been with Nigeria’s democratic journey but never in the history of Nigeria and Adamawa state has such desperation reached its crescendo to such a shameless and embarrassing level that defies logic and human imagination.

National opprobrium 

To say the least, it attracted national and international condemnation making the country a laughing stock in the eyes of the world like what transpired in 2023 Adamawa guber polls.

Thanks to the steadfastness and the critical roles played by the media not only in exposing this conspiracies but also for standing firm and working with other democratic forces to make sure that Adamawa people were not shortchanged and their will prevailed at the end of the day as well as the calmness and maturity demonstrated by the governor amid these provocation.

No doubt, this helped to douse the  tension and prevented the state from drifting to anarchy that would have resulted into loss of several lives and property.

The preponderance of opinion in the state and indeed Nigeria is that the actions and inactions of the governor throughout the period, despite the volatile nature of the state portrayed him as a perfect gentleman, a patriot and s man of peace who always puts the interest of the state and development of his people above personal interest.

“He is truly a man of history and destiny; whenever you give him a little opportunity to serve, he converts it into goals leaving you agape, marvelling at his sheer brilliance and secret behind his success which keeps him going in his politics”, an indigene of the state, Tanko Umar said.

Fintiri’s performance 

The popular view among the indigenes of Adamawa is that Fintiri have performed wonderfully well in all areas of his 11 point agenda to the admiration and disbelief of most people to the extent that one can safely say that if performance is the only yardstick for determining electoral victory, Fintiri should have a smooth ride in the election, at least, if not the right of first refusal. 

Alas this turned out to be the most difficult and toughest election in all his political journey despite performance and contrary to earlier prediction.

Binani factor in the eyes of Fintiri

Sufficed it to say that the despite his wonderful performance in the last four years which raised the bar of governance in the state and turned Adamawa into a model of good governance and infrastructural development in Nigeria which cannot be denied even by his ardent critics and detractors, Fintiri found his main challenger in the election Senator Aishstu Dahiru Ahmed Binani a hard nut to crack. 

Infact, a more difficult election than in 2019, when he was not even in power but defeated an incumbent.

Why victory was delayed 

The question being asked is what is responsible for the governor’s long walk to re-election victory despite unprecedented performance?

Most keen political observers attributed the governor long walk to re-election victory to two to three factors.

It was believed that the governor’s inability to reward sacrifice, hard work and loyalty by compensating those who work for his victory in 2019 in line with his promise to balance policy and politics is responsible for this long walk..

The feeling of disenchantment, especially, among PDP supporters and stakeholder’s who felt that despite their efforts and contributions towards his victory they have not been compensated or carry along by the administration have not been adequately addressed by the government before the election which affected his chances leading to anti party activities by some PDP members and stakeholder’s in favour of the opposition.

Some observers also believed that the governor seemed to have underrated his main challenger in the election Senator Binani on account of his performance.

He erroneously believed that his performance alone which has put Adamawa on high pedestal in the last four years would see him through in the election without taking into account the possibility of impossibility which politics is always embedded with.

Another reason believed by most observers to have contributed to the hard victory of the governor is the fact that the administration have not streamlined its infrastructural drive with stomach infrastructures in its development agenda.

According to this view, the governor surrounded himself with appointee’s who did not believe in the cause of the administration and completely disconnected themselves from the people, thereby, lost their political relevance, if any, to influence votes for him.

Despite some of the weaknesses of his administration and politics of ethnicity that played out during the election, most people in the state believed that despite all these shortcomings, Fintiri still remained the best option for the people of Adamawa state.

This is, essentially, in view of his political pedigree and record of unprecedented performance which have reset Adamawa on the path of peace, progress and development hence their decision to return him back to Dougerei Government House Yola, in 2023 election.

New hope and optimism 

Following his electoral victory  Governor Fintiri, like other governors in Nigeria, was sworn in for a second term and took fresh oath of office on May 29, 2023 at the popular Mahmud Ribadau Square Yola, amid fanfare, fire and jubilations across the length and breadth of the state.

Apparently, the Adamawa people  look up to their governor and his administration with high hopes and optimism of a better and greater Adamawa state.

Speaking in his inaugural address after taking fresh oath of office , Fintiri thank the people of  Adamawa not only for the confidence reposed in him during the election by re- electing him as their governor but also “for standing firm and law abiding when some forces of darkness tried to steal their mandate and plunge the state into anarchy.”

The Reassurance 

He then reiterated his promise not to disappoint the people of the state when he said. “Today i stand here humbled by the love you have shown me, eternally grateful for the belief you have expressed in my  leadership qualities, inspired by the conviction you have reposed on my humble capacity to continue to pilot the affairs of this great state- a state we have grown to love and develop.”

“I stand here again as i did in 2019, to promise you that since God we serve as a people did not fail us, i will also not fail you. I will continue to serve you in absolute humility and devotion to your needs and expectations and will continue to appropriate your resources to improve your living conditions and in the same way secure the future for our children so that they too, can be as productive and fulfilled  in their aspirations as their counterpart anywhere in the world”

On what transpired during the last election in the state when some forces of darkness tried without success to polarise the state and truncate the mandate of the people aimed at putting the state into anarchy for their selfish political interest.

“So sad to mention, however, that when we thought that our deliberate effort to unite the state was good enough and we are about chatting a common front, the 2023 elections introduced a seeming cracks in our body politics. Opportunistic merchants of divisive politics thought the only way to achieve political score was to hype identity politics, poison the atmosphere of positive engagement and elevate the quest  for political power to the status of a matter of life and death, we ended up with a show of desperation beyond the extreme.”

“On this note, I must thank you, the overwhelming voters of Adamawa state for being calm and law abiding when our state was seen as a flashpoint, when impunity and unconstitutionality was hatched to truncate not just the process of electing your leaders but force democracy to its knees, not only you went out to vote during the run and rerun, you protected your state from sliding into anarchy.

“Today we have peacefully reinvented ourselves and the way and manner the election matter was resolved in the state has been a reference point on how to peacefully resist electoral brigandage with civility”

Extending the olive branch

While extending the olive branch of his administration to other opposition parties in the state, Fintiri stressed the need for them to put the interest of the state above any other considerations and joined hands with him to move the state further when he said: “I must admonish at this point that the elections have come and gone and the people have make their choices known on whom they trust to govern them.

“The time then has come for healing of our land. We must submit to the culture and norms of peaceful co-existence that Adamawa is known for. I still extend my hands of fellowship and bonds of friendship to my brothers and sisters on the other sides of the political divides. I call on them to join me in building a state that we will all be proud of to call our home.”

Fintiri who also utilised the opportunity to give the account of his stewardship in the last four years also reeled out his administration’s achievements in all areas of his 11 point agenda with a promise not only to consolidate on the gains recorded but also surpass his previous performance.

He stressed that his administration is work in progress and will leave Adamawa better than he met it.

Fresh appointments as Fintiri talks tough

Few days after his inauguration for the second term, Fintiri talked tough and left no one in doubt that his historic second term will be a radical departure from his first tenure and that he will sprang surprises and correct some of the lapses of his administration witnessed in the last 4 years.

Unlike in his first tenure when he immediately announced key appointments the very day he took over, this time around, it took the governor over a week to announce the appointments of key government officials where he axed his former SSG and Chief of Staff Engr. Bashir Ahmed and Prof Maxwell Gidado, among others.

Fintiri brought in his campaign DG  who is the eldest son of the former PDP National chairman Hon.Awwal Bamanga Tukur as the New SSG to replace Bashir who was kicked out and appointed the State’s Head of Service Engr Amos Edger as the new Chief of Staff, to replace Prof. Maxwell Gidado, elevated his Press Secretary Humwashi Wonosikou to Chief Press Secretary and moved his DG media to Ministry of Information as Permanent Secretary.

These changes effected by the governor have come to many people in the state as a surprise, more so, that before now, the name of the newly appointed SSG and Chief of staff were not in the list of contenders for these offices.

Prior to these appointments, the battle for the SSG seat was between the immediate past SSG Engr.Bashir Ahmed and the secretary of his campaign Dr.Aliyu Idi Hong a former Minister of Health but unfortunately for them both were not lucky to be appointed.

The new commission 

Speaking at the swearing in of the New SSG, Commissioner for Justice, Head of Service and other government officials, Fintiri who seemed to toe a different line from his first term urged them to be guided by compassion and put the interest of the people above any consideration in line with his administration’s commitments to make life better for the people noting that the reward time is here.

He said, “Your appointments come at s critical time when our state faces numerous challenges. However, I am confident that with your expertise, dedication and unwavering commitments to services you will rise to the occasion and help us overcome these challenges.i urge you to work tirelessly in the discharge of your duties, keeping the interest of the people of Adamawa state at the forefront of your mind.

“As you assume your new roles,i implore you to embrace team work and collaboration together with other members of the cabinet to be appointed soon. I expect you to foster harmonious and inclusive working environment where ideas are freely shared and decisions are made in the best interest of our people.”

“I encourage you to seek innovative approaches to governance, tapping into the vast potentials of our state  and ensuring that every citizens  have a voice and a stake in our collective progress.

“Furthermore, I urge you to prioritise the welfare of our citizens especially the vulnerable and marginalised groups in our society. Let your actions be guided by compassion and genuine desire to deliver on our administration promises and fulfil the aspirations of Adamawa state residents”

To further underscore his administration seriousness to turn a new leaf, re – jig his administration’s focus and reward those who work tirelessly to bring the government to power again despite betrayals by some of the bad eggs, Governor Fintiri while speaking at an elaborate stakeholder’s meeting held at Banquet Hall of Government House which brought party stakeholder’s and elders across the 21 Local Governments together re-echoed that “only those who suffered for the party and worked for its victory will be rewarded in his new administration.”