Now that the courts have spoken

Gov Fintiri of Adamawa State.
Gov Fintiri of Adamawa State.
Now that the courts have spoken

By Babayola M. Toungo

The Court of Appeal today in Abuja dismissed a petition by the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 general elections in Adamawa state, Aishatu Ahmed Binani. Binani, dissatisfied with the judgement of the Election Petition tribunal that affirmed the declaration of his excellency Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the duly elected governor of Adamawa state, filed an appeal before the Court of Appeal seeking for the reversal of the Tribunal’s judgment.

Much earlier, the Appeal Court has dismissed a similar suit filed by the candidate of the Social Democratic Party, (SDP), Dr. Umar Ardo, on the same matter. Today’s judgment is pleasant news to all the supporters of governor Fintiri, promoters of democracy, campaigners of good governance with a rancour-free environment and a blow to merchants of hate and divisions between and among our people.

RELATED NEWS

Fintiri applauds court of appeal’s verdict affirming his electoral victory

2023 Guber: Binani again drags INEC to court for nullifying her declaration as gov

Fintiri vs Ardo: A/court reserves judgement, to communicate date to parties

It is a victory for Adamawa state.Though Binani and her supporters have another window of appeal, I believe it is time for the government and we the people to start the process of moving our state forward instead of expending energy in daydreams and fantasising on the “coming” of ‘matan nan’. The time is nigh for us as a people of Adamawa, irrespective of tribe, creed or ideology to come together and collectively queue behind the governor and the government to forge ahead and shame the nay-sayers.

At a time when many political leaders and “pundits” campaign deliberately in a manner designed to exacerbate our divisions, the challenge of overcoming them is greater than ever. Tragically, we have entered an unprecedented era in which fake news and its purveyors have taken over our airwaves and social media platforms.

What this all reveals about the character and motives of the new political culture cannot be dismissed. They are systematically rending the fabric of our cohesion as citizens of Adamawa state purely for partisan political gain. Today, our divisions constitute the greatest threat to our progress as a people living within the same sub-national political unit.

Healing them is critical to our collective advantage and interest. Our polarization along tribal, religious, and political lines appears only to be deepening no thanks to the brand of politics we are practicing. We are too often suspicious of “the other”—those who don’t look, worship, or think like us—and assume that our interests are more likely opposed than common. Too many of us are locked in a zero-sum mentality, in which what is good for me and mine cannot be good for others; or, when I win, someone else must lose.

The judgment by the Court of Appeal today should serve as a healing balm for us to help change our mindsets on politics and our individual and collective relationships. Not only do these divisions, exacerbated by self-interested politicians, weaken our cohesion, they threaten our focus by keeping us from tackling urgent problems by creating unnecessary diversions for our elected leaders.

Those working hard to to erode the integrity of the judiciary didn’t get the irony in their actions – running to the same temple of justice to seek redress over their perceived “win” in the March 2023 elections. In magnifying our divisions, the desperate politicians seek to cause as many people as possible to doubt the legitimacy of Fintiri’s victory at the polls. We have to consciously stop living apart in our own bubbles.

It’s hard to trust someone you have never met, to respect someone you know little about, to hear someone who doesn’t even see you. The good news is that governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri has reiterated ad infinitum that no one is to be left behind. His government is all-inclusive. He is ready to listen, learn, and try to understand what animates those who disagree with him.

Yet we also, as a people, need to reach well beyond the confines of the familiar and challenge ourselves to know those we don’t, those we think we won’t like, even those we fear. When our differences feel too vast to bridge, we need to step back, cool off, and try again. That may sound facile, but the alternative is too dire not to try.

Each of us, not just our leaders, has agency and responsibility. Each of us can contribute to catalysing our healing. We have the tools, if only we have the will. Let’s accept the fact that Rt. Hon. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri is both the de facto and de jure governor of Adamawa state until 2027 and then we will be at peace with our selves.

His mission is to champion the worth, dignity, and well-being of every Adamawa citizen. It is to expand opportunities to grow together. Let us come together in achieving this lofty ambition. I have deliberately skirted around the legal issues because Binani still has another window of appeal as I earlier pointed out. She has the right to exercise this option or otherwise. We may get back to that later.

Toungo, an aide to governor Fintiri writes from Yola.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here