The Director General media to Governor Umaru Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa state on Wednesday released a statement criticising an opinion article by one of Nigeria’s newspapers, Desert Herald.
In a statement by Mr. Solomon Kummangar, Fintiri’s spokesperson, the governor’s aide said it “dismisses the wicked and unfounded conclusion” in the opinion editorial.
In the opinion article, Desert Herald reviewed the governor’s handling of the state resources, saying” Governor Fintiri lacking of sensitivity and equity in project distribution across the 21 local governments of the state”.
In his response, Mr Kummangar alleged that the article was “not only disrespectful of the Governor and his office, but was also reckless, thoughtless, inflammatory and totally irresponsible.”
Read Mr Kummangar’s full statement below:
The Fintiri led state government dismisses the wicked and unfounded conclusion by a media house that Governor Fintiri is in government for self-benefits and also insensitive to equity distributions of projects across the 21 local councils of the state.
We reject Desert Herald newspaper’s September 15th, 2020, editorial which alleged that Governor Fintiri is in politics for self-enrichment and that his government fails to consult the people of projects to be given priority. The editorial was not only disrespectful of the Governor and his office, but was also reckless, thoughtless, inflammatory and totally irresponsible.
It is steadily becoming clear from the views, news and opinions of this newspaper that it will explore every opportunity and twist every fact to declare every actions of the governor as insensitive.
We believe and strongly insist that criminality perpetrated by previous holders of the office should not be used to demonize other responsible and decent leaders of the state. The collective demonization of Fintiri’s government represents the view and opinion of Desert Herald not that of the electorates of Adamawa.
We all know that the office of the SSG is engine room of every government; Desert Herald fails to understand that from all the appointments made by the governor, His Excellency, Ahmadu Fintiri reflects federal character. It takes into cognisance ethnic tribes of every Adamawa sons and daughters. One wonders how this paper hastily concludes that the flyover projects are immaterial; the writer fails to understand that flyovers are not built for traffic decongestion alone, also for city beautification.
The governor is not the first governor in Adamawa history to build a new house or to renovate old one that is obsolete in office, Ex Governors that governed Adamawa built houses for themselves, Messrs Boni, Nyako, Ngillari and Bindow all built houses of their taste when serving as the governor of the state.
No Governor of any state in Nigeria can ensure even distribution of projects across all the local governments in his state at a time, even with the meagre resources, Governor Fintiri continue to flagon projects across the three senatorial district of the state, for instance Maiha, Michika, Madagali, Toungo, etc lacks any tangible projects during the administration of his predecessor and hell was not let loose.
Desert Herald article is, therefore, sheer blackmail and mischief designed to push its own sinister and unpatriotic agenda disguised as free speech. By inciting the people against the government that carried people along in projects distribution.
Rather than proffer solutions, the article only regurgitated simplistic narratives of complex state issues, deliberately neglecting the broader and unbiased understanding and interpretation.
After the highly biased and misleading articles, the newspaper could not but come to terms with the established fact that Governor Fintiri is yet to commission projects due to the lean resources coming into the state as a result of deduction of loans collected by successive government.
Currently, massive projects are on-going across almost all the local councils of the state, these projects are all elephant’s projects not petty projects. Desert Herald fail to understand that every government has her priority in regard to governance style, as citizens don’t dictate to leaders on projects to execute and those to abandon.
The Governor’s commitment to the security and wellbeing of all Adamawa residents is unwavering and total, and no criminal group, or ethnic militias, will be spared the wrath of the law.
In its attempt to build a case against the Governor and tarnish his hard-earned reputation, the newspaper misquoted and removed from the actual context words attributed to him, one or two of which we wish to clarify here.
In pointing out that “some major projects including a housing project for which the state government borrowed a whooping N10 billion is still a pipe dream, more than one year after the project was flagged off as a visit to the site by our reporter indicated that even foundation for the multi-billion project did not commence”.
“Similarly, another multi-billion road project is still a mirage more than a year after the government awarded it. In addition, the government has since its coming borrowed about N30 billion without commensurate projects to justify such massive borrowing”.
Desert herald assertion is woefully wrong, most of the contractors handling roads like the Bachure are not owed by the government to warrant the delay been experience in completion of that particular road, in my own imagination, Kaduna state government whose Desert herald office is situated cannot justify the billions of naira it collected via local and foreign loans.
The two thousand housing units bidding were done openly as the Fintiri led government need to assuage the feelings of locals farming on the land before the commencement of such projects; it is inhuman for the state government to bulldoze people’s farm land to embark on such projects now. Most locals are yet to harvest their farm produce, immediately after the harvest the building of the housing units will commence.
The question to ask the newspaper is simple: are we to ask every citizen of Adamawa state to decide the project to start with in the state? Is it out of place to commission a project after a year in office by this administration?
For the second issue, if the governor enters the site to today to destroy people’s farm to commence the building of the two thousand housing units, will Desert Herald not call it insensitive? The governor did nothing wrong in building or renovating his personal residence as a former governor built new residence in his home town and also built another in Yola in office as a governor. Without a safe, peaceful and stable state, it is difficult to imagine how newspapers can prosper in their trade.
Under this administration, no media, no matter how provocative, will be fettered in their freedom of expression. Rather, we will continue to appeal to their conscience to place Adamawa interest and professionalism above narrow concerns.
Kummangar advise members of the media to exercise restraint and good judgement for the larger good of the society. We must not forget the significant and unsavoury roles played by journalists in the Rwandan genocide of 1994, which claimed almost one million lives.
We should all work for the good of Adamawa state and all citizens.