Open letter to Gov. Fintiri: Save your money and lose the crowd

In the face of grave national crisis, Fintiri is steadfast in the pursuit of political stability, writes Nicodemus Mikailu.


These are difficult times: for Nigeria and Nigerians; for the government and the people of a potentially great country but whose extraordinary endowment has been squandered; to the point that it is now begging other countries for peanuts, compared to the colossal wealth that has been frittered away.


These are times that task the resolve of men and women and challenge leadership to either play on the highway of nobility or totter along the alley of mundane pedestrianism. I have always believed that the best time to assess political leadership is when danger lurks, particularly when the existing social order faces the risk of collapse.


The recent EndSARS protest was one such conundrum, and despite the posturing by some commentators, it caught Nigeria’s political leadership flat-footed. Credit had been given to the federal government’s handling of the agitation before some elements in military uniform bungled the response through a mindless shooting spree, at the Lekki Toll Gate, in Lagos that is now the subject of an intriguing investigation.


Today, as the denials and the blame games make the rounds, and frantic efforts are being made to douse tensions and restore a sense of normalcy, our thoughts and prayers go the families of both the protesters and the security personnel who lost loved ones to the mayhem.


It will remain one sad blot on the bloody canvass of Nigeria’s quest for enlightened policing and effective internal security architecture. Be that as it may, it was not bungling and fumbling all the way. Though belated as it was, the dialogue initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari, aimed at engaging critical stakeholders, particularly the youths, in finding a solution to the problem, steps in the right direction. A flurry of town hall meetings and entreaties, by prominent Nigerians, to the protesters to sheath their swords appears to be making the right impact.


By happenstance, I witnessed the numerous projects been flagon and some commissioned by Governor Ahmadu Finitiri of Adamawa state: the projects admire people like us, but probably not the entire Adamawa voting populace. Here is a state that, before May 2019, had the highest number of out-of-school pupils of 1.3 million, a potentially lethal reservoir for recruitment of jobless youths; yet they did not take the bait to pour into the streets.


Here is a state where before Ahmadu Fintiri assumed office as governor, restive youths known as Shila boys regularly terrorized the people. Why then did the youth of Adamawa State shun the protest despite pre-existing socio-economic conditions? One answer lays in the systematic shrinking of youth unemployment through sustained empowerment programmes by the Ahmadu Fintiri administration.


As if the government envisaged the impending implosion, as late as May 2020, it had started empowerment of 1000 youths under poverty alleviation and wealth creation. Before that, 2000 youths were employed by the Fintiri’s administration through Adamawa state primary health care agency and were no longer available for recruitment either as insurgents or protesters.


The implication is that, if an idle head is the devil’s devil’s workshop, then the devil could not recruit followers from Adamawa State. One other important deterrent was Ahmadu Fintiri’s single-minded commitment to pre-emptive security which entailed deploying resources to intelligence gathering, logistical support to the security paraphernalia of the state and the domestication of rural security in the hands of local leaders.  All the security chiefs at the meeting confirmed that the administration had encouraged various stakeholder groups, particularly the security agencies, to take ownership of internal security. The result is the presence of an effective intelligence network that ensures that, more often than not, security threats are nipped in the bud before they get out of hand.


For those who expected the governor, to play the partisan card, who expected him to blame the APC-controlled federal government for the crisis engulfing the country, they were wrong to Fintiri, the crisis that had engulfed the country called for statesmanship, not politics; for honesty, not duplicity and compassion, not grand-standing or threats.


His antecedents, as a statesman, speak to a predictable consistency. Towering high above petty partisanship, he wore the garb of a statesman, giving deserved recognition to the empowerment programmes of the federal government.


Despite lamentation of the people of the deepening economic woes that had bedevilled the country, Fintiri did not fail to acknowledge the bold initiatives of the Buhari administration in the areas of youth empowerment and poverty alleviation and how Adamawa State had benefitted immensely from those policies.


In all, Adamawa state under Fintiri both on security and infrastructure development was a huge success.  2023 is around the corner which I believed Ahmadu Fintiri would be seeking re-election for his final term in office as the Governor for another four years, and there is only a hard way which is the only way before the second term of the governor can be guaranteed.


Adamawa state election is tedious like Anambra state; both state share similarities when it comes to money bags and high profile politicians which are indigenes of the state; why I have spoken of the achievements of the Fintiri’s administration, the governor should know the hard truth that most of the people around him are double face hypocrite.


They hailed him frontally and turned around behind him criticizing and castigating him. In as much we know the country is hit by worst economic depression, it is time the governor should practice the politics of stomach infrastructure, recent investigation reveals that the working population of Adamawa state is less than 15 per cent of the total register voters in the state.


The governor has maintained the feat of paying salaries to workers before the 25th of every month which commendable. Still, he should know that winning the second term in Adamawa is beyond projects and payment of salaries. In all fairness his predecessor in office, Senator Jibrilla Bindow initiated and commissioned several projects, thinking that such will guarantee his re-election, but his expectation hits the rock.


If I were Fintiri, he should start the politics of stomach infrastructure from January 2021. He should focus on finishing the projects he already flagon, the governor should know that if he demolishes every voter’s house in Adamawa and builds a new one amidst hunger, it will have no value in the eyes of the beneficiaries of such gesture as hunger supersede everything in life.


There is an adage that says “keep the money and lose the crowd or lose the money and keep the crowd, in the political arena especially for Fintiri that has the second term in view it is better he loses the money no matter how little or big than to lost the crowd which is very important for the realization of his second term. In all ramification, Fintiri should know that Nigeria and Adamawa politics is not rife for elitist ideology, as a common man on the street value his stomach than any projects be it flyover or anything beyond that; hence there is need for the governor to make hays while the sunshine.


As for Fintiri’s social media supporters, social media is good, but it cannot guarantee election victory anywhere in the world, as Donald Trump is one leader that is very active on social media but lost to his opponent who has little or no social media presence, why Trump largely depend on social media, the traditional media dealt with him a blow which leads to fatality.


In Nigeria, men like Senator Shehu Sani, Dino Melaye all have large social media followers but lost re-election as most Nigeria voters largely depend on traditional media, not social media. Finally, the governor should not be surprised if most of the Judas Iscariot singing his praises today will turn out on election eve to betray him as any penny given out to such people will be seen as parting kindness or a Rabo na in Hausa parlance which means “my share”.

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