On Thursday June 23, Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa state would join former vice president Atiku Abubakar among other notable Nigerians to receive Blueprint Newspapers best governor award in Abuja. In this special report, MUAZU ABARI writes on how the governor succeeded in turning the state into a model of good governance.
The English writer, William Shakespeare, once asserted that there is no art to find the mind’s construction in the face. Shakespeare conceived and wrote according to his own perception, but he missed the target on this grassroot politician called Ahmadu Umaru Fintir, one of the reasons his theory of face constructions does not apply in all situations.
Amidst intimidating challenges, collapsed infrastructures, frightening debt profile and financial strangulation, Gov Fintiri took over the affairs of Adamawa state on May 29 2019 with a promise to give the people a breadth of fresh air and remake Adamawa in line with his 11 point agenda when he said, “As a government of popular consent, I am mindful of the honour and responsibility this has bestowed on me. I hereby affirm and declare that hope has been restored and true change has come to Adamawa state. Let us embrace it as I solemnly pledge to provide leadership that is required to make this change work for the good of all. It would be a change that would balance policy and politics, a change that would eschew might over right and treat all citizens as equal.
“A transformational change that would harness the vast human potentials of the people into attaining and enjoying the dividents of democracy that have so far eluded them. We would gradually but systematically sustain our 11-point agenda until Adamawa shades its toga of a pariah state where anything goes. Politics is over and the stage is now set for the extra job of making Adamawa work again.”
With this commitment, Fintiri swung into actions to fulfil his promises to the people with so many achievements recorded in the last three years of focused leadership especially in security, massive infrastructural drive, electrification, education, health, women and youths empowerment, among others.
On insecurity, following the expiration of the earlier two weeks ultimatum he issued to criminal groups in the state, Fintiri declared total war against Shilla boys, kidnappers, armed robbers and other criminals terrorising the state. He took the battle to their doorsteps and hide-out where most of them were arrested, prosecuted and jailed. Many others repented to embrace the amnesty programme of his administration. Others who could not withstand the firepower of his administration relocated from the state.
The governor then redesigned the security architecture of the state which saw the introduction and implementation of a proactive and water-tight security measures across the state. This puts both security agencies and citizens on their toes as he also launched a new security outfit codenamed ‘Operation Farauta’, a joint operation team comprising the military, police, vigilantees, among other security agencies which brought the security challenges bedevilling the state to the lowest ebb.
This is in addition to the procurements and distributions of operational vehicles, motorcycles, security gadgets and other equipment to security agencies in the state. He also provided logistic supports and improved funding, engagements of more vigilantees, hunters and adequate reward system, a move that enhanced security in the state. As a result, the incessant farmers/herders clashes in the state was nipped in the bud.
Fintiri kick-started his infrastructural wonders by bringing back all the contractual firms that had abondoned various roads projects in the state due to government’s inability to meet up with its financial obligations. This led to the completion of all abondoned roads projects inherited by his administration, while also awarding new roads projects. The first set of these new road projects awarded include Bachure road, Karewa, Nasarawa borehole, Jambutu street, Togo street, Lekki Toba street, Mambilla street, among others, awarded at the cost of over N5 billion.
Governor Fintiri has taken roads constructions projects to rural areas and all the 21 local governments in the state to boost economic activities. This he did by leveraging on the Word Bank funded Ram 2 project which is a joint project with the state government by paying the counterpart funds leading to the constructions of 340 kilometres of rural roads across the 21 local government areas.
Some of these roads include 8.8 km Sansri rural road (Ganye), Yarima Mayo rural road in Toungo, Parda-Mininga in Fufore, 25km Bazza-ma’a in Michika,16.9 km Mararaban Dumne, Honbol rural road in Song, 31km Ndikong rural road in Mayo Belwa, 9.3 km Ngongoshi rural road in Yola South, Kuvu-Gaya rural road in Hong, among others spread across the 21 local governments. Notably, all these have since been completed and commissioned for public use.
This was followed with the award of new contracts for the constructions of two flyovers with grade interchange routes in the heart of Yola, the first-ever in the history of the North-east with new set of township roads in seven local governments of Yola- North, Yola-South, Numan, Jada, Hong, Michika, Madagali cutting across the three senatorial districts at the cost of over 18bn which have since been completed and commissioned to mark his two years in office.
Other roads and streets include Zumo street and links, Mafia road with two span bridges, Mbamba street, Doctors quarters road, Nyibango-Yolde Pate road in Yola-south and Yola-north local governments. Others are Izala-Gwede Mallam-Mallam Rafa-Wayam road in Numan local government, European Quarters road in Hong local government, Gulak township road among other selected roads subsequently awarded some of which are still ongoing.
Electricity and water supply
Rural electrification and water supply are other sectors where Fintiri has made giant strides in the last three years leading to various electrification projects in so many communities, distributions of transformers as well as restoration of electricity and reconnections of Michika and Madagali destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents to the national grid.Toungo, the only local government in the state which was not connected to the national grid since its creation for almost three decades has been connected .This is in addition to so many other electrification projects in various communities of the state, distributions of transformers, procurements and instillations of modern water pumping machines and other equipments for the state water board which moved water supply from the two treatment plants in the state from 9m litre per day when he took over to 23m litre per day. The state also witnessed upgradings and rehabilitations of water supply schemes, constructions of solar boreholes, payment of counterpart funds for water projects among many other efforts.
Gov Fintiri started his educational revolution by declaring free education in the state from primary to secondary school, commencement of school feeding programme in public schools across the state and take over payment of WAEC and NECO in addition to constituting visitation panels to all tertiary institutions in the state to ascertain their status especially interms of their infrastructures, staff strength, accredited courses and challenges with the view to inject new life into them for optimum performance.
He was also able to settle all the outstanding UBEC matching grant from 2016 to date which enabled the administration to access 10bn naira which was injected into massive re-constructions and rehabilitation’s of schools across the length and breadth of the state, payments of schoolarship to over 27,000 Adamawa students schooling in various institutions across the country, recruitements of new teachers, promotions of primary school s teachers who were not promoted for years among other giant strides in the education sector.
The health sector of the state also felt the impacts of his administration as Fintiri facilitated the clearance and transportation of medical equipments worth million’s of naira rotten at the port back to the state after many years of being dumped by previous administrations. There was also the complete overhaul of Yola Specialist Hospital, supply of facilities in addition to constructions of so many primary health care centres across the state.
He went further to construct brand new 60-bed capacity cottage hospitals in four local governments of Gombi, Shelleng, Lamurde and Yola- south which hitherto had none and also embarked upon general rehabilitation, upgrading of facilities and additional constructions in all the general hospitals in the state which saw constructions of OPD, admin blocks, theatre complex, maternity complex, female surgical wards among many other befitting infrastructures in all the general hospitals in the state as well as recruitements of medical doctors, nurses, other categories of health workers among many other efforts in this sector.
Other achievements of the administration can be seen in the areas of ongoing constructions of 1,000 housing estate, local government autonomy, civil service reforms, promotions of teachers, prompt payment of salaries on 23 or 24 of every month since he assumed office as governor among many other achievements.
It is therefore not surprising going by his intimidating records of achievements in the last three years that Blueprint Newspapers known for its professionalism and patrotism find him worthy of award as the best governor of the year.