Fintiri and the target on his back

By Babayola M. Toungo

The Adamawa State governor, Rt. Hon. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri declared his intention to seek for a second term as governor and all hell broke loose as the long knives came out from their scabbards. No sooner was the declaration made on Monday April 11th, 2022, than the Social media street, including blogs, with heavy negative traffic relating to his excellency’s desire to continue as the Chief Executive of the state.

Candidates who have already thrown their jaded hats into the ring and their social media warriors saw an opportunity to aim at the target on the governor’s back. If your only source of information is the social media, you will be excused if you believe his excellency is a demon reincarnate. Sadly, this is the new normal in our politics – bring him down by whatever means possible, fair and foul.

The Constitution of the Federal Republic allows a governor to go for a second term as long as the electorate are willing to give him the mandate to continue. This is trite knowledge. The same Constitution also gave the right to contest to any adult Nigerian, who satisfies other criteria provided by the Constitution and other extant laws. I therefore do not have any beef with anyone seeking to unseat the governor; but the bile we use as a tool for campaign leaves a bad test in the mouth. The aftertaste in the post-election period leaves battered and tattered relationships in hitherto unified communities. Hence every election cycle leaves much more polarised communities than before. Unfortunately, we don’t seem to care about the aftermath. We have seen this overtime from one election cycle to the next. It only gets worse.

Is Fintiri entitled to seek for a second term? In my opinion, he is. As a matter of fact, I don’t believe he should even campaign for that. As the chief executive of the state in the last three years, he has proved to be capable of steering the ship of the state and a steadfast leader to boot. My reason is simple. In 2019, the governor campaigned with an eleven-point agenda and, to the neutrals he has succeeded in delivering on the things he promised. One may disagree with my submission, and I am always ready to bow to superior argument. What I find galling is the negativity in the message and the personal attacks using tactics that failed in the past. In contemporary Adamawa politics, I can’t remember a politician that opponents have gone the extra mile to sling mud on like governor Fintiri. Luckily for him, the mud refused to stick. Yet the same tactic is resurfacing few days after his declaration. Who is scared of the gentleman?

I had cause in the past to eulogise the governor’s doggedness in propelling himself to where he is today. From a green horn state legislator in 2007, he acted as governor for all of twelve days in 2012 and again for three months in 2014. The later period of his acting was the one many people find difficult to forgive and therefore will do anything to “destroy” him. He is perceived to have spearheaded the impeachment of the then governor, which is still seen as a sacrilege. Concocted stories flew around like confetti, but they couldn’t get the desired effect as seen by his victory at the polls in 2019. The same accusations are being rehashed in different forms and manners. Can’t we grow beyond this? When is leadership decided by trivial and mundane issues rather than substance?

If his traducers will have had the courage of their conviction, they will have clearly stated their grouse with the governor instead of hiding behind some fictitious and vexatious accusations – that he remains his own man refusing to bend to the dictates of self-anointed political gladiators, who find it difficult to stomach the fact that such an “upstart” is the lord of the manor in what they consider their political playground. How pathetic. Despite the methodical distractions mounted by the Facebook Brigade of those opposed to him, the governor remained fast in making sure he delivered on his campaign promises. Whenever I see his excellency, he reminds me of the Harold Robins trilogy of the “Carpetbaggers, the Dream Merchants and the Inheritors”. Governor Fintiri started out as a Carpetbagger and quickly became a Dream Merchant without a leg-up from our traditional “selectors”.

Governor Fintiri took over from an administration that was long on promises and short on delivery – and the electorate know. It was clear to all that promises were made to be broken. Cosmetics took precedence over substance. In the period that Fintiri have been governor, he has clearly that government can work for the benefit of the people. The projects executed so far and the programmes implemented were deliberately designed to maximally benefit the general public and not just a few of us and our pecuniary interests. He has also stabilised governance which has hitherto been turbulent and knee-jerk at best. Commerce and agriculture, the forte of the poor, is getting priority attention from this government. And this in my opinion is what is scaring us about allowing Fintiri to continue. He is blowing the wind and the poor is seeing the nyash of the fowl.

I am not assessing the Fintiri administration (it will be a subject for another day, but just a cursory look into how otherwise discerning individuals being hoodwinked by digital conmen with a gadget in their hands.

The fact that Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri is the sitting governor of Adamawa state, puts a big target on his back and every candidate will try to take him at the target – from perennial contestants to the wannabes. Is the governor wearing armour? Time will tell.

Toungo can be reached via babayolatoungo@yahoo.co.uk

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