By Mansur Ibrahim Yakasai
When he assumed leadership of Adamawa State in acting capacity for eighty six days after toppling former Governor Murtala Nyako and his deputy from the seat of power, in 2014, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri performed wonderfully well almost to the satisfaction of all Adamawa people.
Within his 86-day reign as acting governor, he was able to rehabilitate a number of roads in the state capital neglected by Nyako, paid two months’ salary backlog to the Adamawa State civil servants making him to earn the nickname ‘ATM’ among many other feats he accomplished during his short stint in power.
Surprisingly, after becoming the substantive governor of the sunshine state, Fintiri to many citizens went to sleep sparking anger, disbelief and despair in the minds of his multitude of supporters who hitherto wrongly believed that he was the Messiah the state was eagerly waiting for.
It is poignant to note with regret that as the once very promising politician marks one year in office as governor, he and his cacophony of apologists are only regaling the people with imaginary achievements in the last one year.
As many critics of the governor rightly pointed out, Fintiri has succeeded in establishing an inglorious reputation in the annals of the state’s history as the first governor to spend one year without unveiling a capital project despite the huge chunk of monetary handouts from the federation account.
Fintiri’s remarkable failure even become more glaring when his performance is juxtaposed with that of his predecessor, Governor Muhammadu Umaru Jibrilla Bindow, who the people kicked out from office for what they believed was his lackluster performance in office. Bindow also lost the state’s most coveted seat due to intra-party crisis, a crisis he initially underrated but consumed him at the end of the day.
Surprisingly, a picture of gloom has started cascading the minds of many of Fintiri’s unabashed supporters who are now saying that despite the shortcomings of Bindow which led to his rejection at the polls, he is turning out to be a saint compared to the new helmsman who seemed not to care a hoot about his phenomenal abysmal performance in office to the extent that even the civil servants who formed his core support base have started down playing the ‘ATM’ mantra.
DESERT HERALD findings show that following the many shortcomings of the government in reneging its core promises to the NLC including implementation of the consequential adjustment which nearly sparked industrial action in the state has cost the governor significant popularity and goodwill. His conceited, unfriendly and overbearing Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Engr. Bashir Ahmed who has since become a huge liability to the government is believed to be behind the avoidable delay in the all important issue with the state NLC. While the Governor as a grassroots politician is determined to create a more stronger grassroots support and to maintain the popularity he hitherto earned for himself, his SSG who many regard as an insensitive capitalist is by action and policy gradually destroying whatever the Governor has been building for himself over the years. Certainly, in the view of keen political observers of Adamawa politics, the SSG has within the last one year under review became a huge liability to the government instead of the asset Fintiri wants him to be. He has by actions created so much enemies to the Governor within and outside the government. Many of those that are closed to Mr. Fintiri and with his love at heart for many years were reduced to spectators and have been relegated to the background by the powerful SSG.
In order to showcase the glaring failure of the Fintiri’s administration which right from the onset started on a disenchanting low pace, it is curious to showcase the federal allocation that accrued to Bindow and what he was able to do with it in his first year in office vis a vis the federal allocation that accrued to Fintiri’s administration and what he actually accomplished with it in the last one year.
According to the data obtained by DESERT HERALD from the federal ministry of finance, governor Bindow got the sum of N31.9bn from June 2015 to April 2016.
The breakdown of the amount is as follows.
June N2.8bn, July N6.0bn, August N3.9bn, September N2.8bn, October N2.5bn, November N2.9bn, December N2.1bn, January N2.7bn, February N2.2 and
In juxtaposition, Fintiri got the princely sum of N44 billion allocation from FAAC from June 2019 to April 2020 according to a data provided by the federal ministry of finance.
The breakdown is as follows;
June N4.2bn, July N4.6bn, August N4.3bn, September N4.1bn, October N4.0bn, November N4.2bn, December N3.9bn, January N4.4bn, February N3.2bn and March N4.4bn.
Findings by DESERTHERALD revealed that despite receiving a relatively and outrageously low FAAC allocation in his first eleven months in office, Bindow’s public outing was by far more glaring having constructed and commissioned a number of road projects in the state capital and beyond.
In addition, he kick started many other projects including the rehabilitation of general hospitals across the state in his stance to improve the comatose health system he inherited.
Data obtained from the ministry of works, indicated that in his first year alone, Bindow has constructed and commissioned over 37 different road projects across the state.
This is apart from the many rural access roads which he co-sponsored with the Rural Access Mobility Project, RAMP.
According to the data some of the roads constructed and rehabilitated by Bindow in his first year in office include;
Rehabilitation of Atiku-Abubakar way, Galadima Aminu way, Justice Buba Ardo way, Modibbo Adama way, Damare road, Faro road, Jambutu road network, Mubi township roads, Numan township roads and Ganye township roads.
In comparison, however, Fintiri who rode to power on the crest of massive goodwill due to the belief in many quarters that he is better suited for the task of rebuilding Adamawa State, surprisingly failed to meet the huge expectations of many Adamawa people as he simply went into a nap after assuming the plum office.
An analyst in the state, Sani Shehu whom hitherto was confident that Fintiri will give Adamawa State a better deal, said the incumbent administration neither met its expectations nor is in anyway working towards fulfilling the huge expectations.
“Because of his numerous infractions and shortcomings, majority of Adamawa people discarded Bindow in preference for Fintiri in 2019.
“Surprisingly, it appears we all made huge error of judgment because going by what is happening, this government is already a failure.
“Mind you, out of the four year tenure at the behest of the executive governors, the most critical period is the first and the second years which are the only grace a governor has to establish his footprints.
“But Fintiri has precariously expended his first anniversary with nothing to show for it. I have an unsettling feeling that Fintiri’s government is going to be worse than even the Bindow’s government because while Bindow has done some few road projects, Fintiri on the other hand is not doing anything and going by his demeanor he seemed not to care a hoot about such huge baggage.
“In the long run we may even regret voting out Bindow,” he said.
When he came on board, Fintiri unveiled an eleven point agenda to usher the state onto the path of economic recovery and next level of development.
Some of the areas that formed core of his development priorities include security, education, agriculture, human empowerment, infrastructure etc.
To be fair to him, immediately he came on board, Fintiri launched an aggressive campaign against Yan Shilla boys, a group of outlaws terrorising the state capital and environs.
In his move to rejuvenate the security architecture which was in shambles, the governor also purchased 60 SUT Toyota Hilux vans which he gave to the various security outfits to enhance their performance in addition to over 50 motorcycles which he donated to the various vigilante operatives.
The governor also paid for the first time scholarship to students of tertiary institutions in many years, in addition to free education at the elementary and secondary schools levels.
Many in the state who expressed reservations with some of the touted achievements of Fintiri in the security and education sectors noted that despite the huge expenditure in the security sector, the state was a massive kidnapping den with residents being abducted on daily basis.
Opponents of the government also said the payment of scholarship to students and the acclaimed declaration of free education only constituted a media hype as the sum of N7,500 and N15,000 being given to categories of students cannot in all honesty fit into the payment of scholarship.
Some parents in the state also repudiated claims of free education on the strength that they still pay some token of money to ensure their children continue to access government schools.
While critics pinpointed loopholes in the government’s acclaimed achievements, the failure of the government to commission any capital project one year after is seen as a huge baggage even by apologists of the administration.
For instance, the governor has very early into his administration flagged off the construction of two flyover bridges, but despite complaints about the undesirability of the project in the face of other competing needs, the two flyover bridges were yet to see the light of the day almost one year after. While provision of mobilization has been approved through the SSG and has been paid for, there is so far no explanation to the people of Adamawa about the questionable delay or who actually benefited from the first payment.
As if that was not enough, the governor obtained a loan of nearly N10 billion for the construction of 2,000 housing units across the state with a one year completion period. Still the project is yet to start almost a year after while the money according to credible insiders is no where to be found even as some loyalists of the Governor confided in this reporter though unjustifiable that the N10 billion loan has been diverted to other ‘projects’.
In the same vein, even the acclaim of ATM which he got from the civil servants has started fading into the thin air following his sack of about 10,000 civil servants in the state some of whom were dismissed just because they were on transfer.
Another issue which the governor had against the civil service is the failure of his administration to implement the consequential adjustment almost one year after endorsing minimum wage law in the state and the media propaganda that followed to that effect.
The reticent disposition of government towards the implementation of the consequential adjustment almost led to a serious industrial disharmony as affected workers vowed to go on indefinite strike if the state government continues to pay lip service to its implementation.
But after forcing him to endorse the implementation of the consequential adjustment, the governor still reneged on the takeoff month, citing dwindling revenue on account of the Coronavirus disease as his reason.
With the numerous challenges accosting the fresh air, it is easy for one to conjecture that Fintiri may face even a worst humiliation at the polls unless he takes drastic actions to address some of his administration’s glaring pitfalls which includes the appointments of some people whose actions and selfish conduct has made the government to be very unpopular in the last one year.
The huge question is, can he regularize the onerous challenges staring his government in the face and fulfill his electoral promises to the people? Only time can tell.
With additional report by Maryam Musa