Adamawa’s Political Elites: A Deficit of Decency

By Calvin Anadio Lawan

Ronald Reagan said “government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” And I should add that this is the problem we must strive to overcome because vested interest calling themselves the Political Elites have entrenched a culture of politics where there’s a deficit of decency therein.

Zebb Miller wrote a book titled “A Deficit of Decency” in 2005 where he discusses what he feels about the increasingly distant values of the Democratic Party…”

I borrowed his title to describe what I feel about Adamawa’s political ruling elites and how they have led the erosion of our collective progress as a people, calling for a change of attitude.

Hobbes and Locke’s philosophy suggested that freemen would form governments as a bargain to ensure that one man’s freedom did not become another man’s tyranny, a philosophy our ruling elites have abused repeatedly and it’s sad.

Adamawa’s politics has been held up by dizzying change, cutthroat politics, and an unremitting cultural/religious wars that shows we don’t seem to possess a shared language with which to discuss our ideals, much less the tools to arrive at some rough consensus about how, as a people, we might work together to salvage our society from what seems to be holding us back.

I have keenly followed the escalating ferocity of Governor Fintiri’s many unfulfilled promises and have done my bits to call him out on many occasions.

It is an unalterable fact that the social contract he has entered into with the Adamawa people doesn’t count much with him seeing he hasn’t kept his part of the bargain. Surprising to me is that he is bold enough in the face of glaring evidence to seek for a renewal of his mandate come 2023.

Recently, I posted the many unfulfilled promises he has made and a friend mentioned one of his aides in the comment section who then dismissed my submission as illogical adding that “from my personal observations as a professional accountant! Governor Fintiri is the best manager of resources that I ever know…” he added also that “paying salaries, pensioners, finance educational and health projects/programs within the state despite the meager resources and other economic challenges….” Bla bla bla

I replied that I don’t know that taking our debt stock from N115 Billion in 2019 to almost N300 Billion in less than 3 years constitutes a part of great management of resources or decreasing our IGR from N9.30 Billion in 2019 to a mere N8.60 Billion in 2020 is also part of great management of resources.

I didn’t stop there. I reminded him about the N100 Billion bond for an initiative that was ill-conceived and wrongly thought and also claiming that the proceeds could afford paying off our entire debt stock since last year without updating the citizens about it is also part of great management of resources.

What about the BUA group’s interest to invest in our large deposit of limestone for a cement factory, the Qatari foundation 2,000 a day state-of-the-art abattoir for our cattle market, the Israeli’s interest in establishing a tomato puree plant around the Demsa and Numan axis, or the Americans that showed interest in bringing their investment into Adamawa state? Where’s’ the update?

I think the aide got the gist and went into hibernation. I find, very unfortunately, a deficit of decency in the way our political ruling elites have been foisting candidates on us with reckless abandon without due recourse to what competencies these people have.

My interest is merely to stage a protest so as to help in bringing promise and practice into their proper alignment. I find it troubling when I consider the gap between the magnitude of our challenges and the smallness of our political solutions.

Much more troubling for me, is the ease with which we seem acutely distracted by that which is petty and trivial, lost in our chronic avoidance of the tough decisions and inability to build a society better for all citizens.

I think this need to be stressed; our politics in Adamawa state is wildly expensive to the detriment of the masses, terribly inefficient and poorly adapted to what seems obtainable in most under-performing states economy across Nigeria.

Instead of a contest of ideas that seeks to harness our young, intelligent population, we seem to be caught up in a swirling sea of sycophancy and bootlickers as commanding the love and attention of public policy makers.

I find a huge gap between the politics we have and the politics we need, and instead of finding workable ways to fill these gaps, what we see are deflections of criticisms and assignments of blames. It is surprising to me that less than a year to the elections; the debates are still about pettiness and trivialities. Only SDP’s Dr. Umar Ardo has a manifesto detailing his mission and vision for Adamawa state.

One opposition candidate was even bold to say, albeit, derisively, that he is popular and doesn’t need to campaign or print posters. This is someone whose maladministration has set the state many steps backwards. Another claimed he’d demolished our flyover and constructs a better one, not minding that we borrowed the funds used for the construction.

Both the incumbent and some of the opposition serve as mere irritants, going back and forth with deflections of criticism and assignments of blames leaving the vital aspect of a well articulated mission and vision for a greater state unattended.

I refuse to believe that they aren’t aware of our socio-economic malaise and that much more than criticism or cynicism is needed to salvage the situation.

Our low revenue generation isn’t a big issue with them?

75% poverty rate incidence out of a population of 5 million citizens?

Insecurity and even desert encroachment that we recently witness isn’t an issue?

Unemployment at par with the national average isn’t something they have solutions to?

Low level of FDI and the debate about fiscal federalism?

We can’t afford to allow them take us for granted. There’s so much potential in Adamawa state to warrant such dismal economic performance and this is the time, more than ever, to begin to hold them accountable. The starting point is forcing them to share with us their missions and visions. This should be every citizen’s civic responsibility.

Adamawa shall be great.

Lawan writes from Yola.


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