In life nothing is most fulfilling than putting smiles on the faces of people, especially from those in leadership at difficult times, such as that of Nigeria. The gap between the leaders and the led is getting wider by the day, given the bad economic situation not only in Nigeria but also globally; Covid-19 and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war are the recent ugly factors.
In Nigeria, the rising inflation rate, daily depreciation of the Naira, the worsening insecurity ignited by the dreaded terrorists, Boko Haram, and most recently the shortfall of in foreign revenue, against the debt servicing are strong bottlenecks staring the leaders in their faces, particularly non-oil producing states – it’s a time when only the fittest will survive.
However, it’s said that when the going gets tough, the tough gets going. Thus, In the North-eastern state of Adamawa, a typical example of purposeful and human impacted leadership amidst dreading challenges is His Excellency Umaru Ahmadu Fintiri, who became the governor of the state in 2019.
Governor Fintiri, in spite of all the glaring challenges; dwindling revenue, insecurity, among other debilitating factors, is, for the first time in history of Adamawa state, making leadership the affairs of the citizens. The hitherto infrastructure ravenous state now has a face-lift in virtually all the sectors of its economy – modern roads, state-of-the-art healthcare facilities, robust education system, vibrant civil service, and improved security, among others.
It’s a bit difficult to tally the various roads project built by his administration in less than four years with many ongoing in just an ordinary piece like this, but it will amount to grave injustice not to mention the notable ones among the many, especially those duly commissioned.
In recent time, the state has become a beehive of projects’ commissioning by notable Nigerians. Few among them are; the Total Filling Station Flyover, Yola which was named after the late Lamido of Adamawa Alhaji Aliyu Musdafa, commissioned by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar (Wazirin Adamawa); township roads in Jimeta, namely, Bacchure and Falu roads covering 5.60km, commissioned by Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto state; the 3.5km Izala – Gweda – Malam road in Numan, commissioned by the Gombe state governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya; the 7.8km roads in Michika, including Futu, Lassa, Low-cost, Mukaddas and hospital roads, commissioned by the Bauchi state governor, Bala Muhammad.
Others are; the 3.2Km Hong township road, commissioned by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Musa Muhammad Bello; Zumo Street and doctors quarters road spanning 2.4km in Yola South local government area, commissioned by the former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka; township roads in Jimeta Yola North local government area covering 8.86kms., commissioned by Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo state; Toungo electrification that has been left in darkness for the past 25 years was also commissioned by the former Deputy Governor Senator Bello Tukur.
In fact, as I mentioned earlier, to chronicle Governor Fintiri’s feats only on roads infrastructure, requires a compendium. He beats the imaginations of his political adversaries when he, besides initiating his own projects, ensured that he completed the critical ones abandoned by the previous governments.
In one of the projects commissioning and roads’ naming he embarked on during the last Ramadan, Fintiri said, “You have given me enough that I can’t finish paying back. For us, the 2019 mandate is a debt we shall continue paying back to the entire electorate of Adamawa state with life-changing projects till our last day in office.”
Surprising not only the people of Yola South but also the entire people of the state, when Fintiri visited the Bole/Lakare route last month, he immediately and graciously directed the state Ministry of Works and Energy Development to begin a survey for immediate action. The governor said that the state Executive Council will approve the road construction within two weeks, asserting that roads within Yola metropolis must be developed to satellite status for commuters and businesses to thrive. And the surveyors have since been seen on site.
By walking his talk, within the last three years alone, the Fintiri administration has surpassed all previous administrations in all indices of good governance. This is because, despite the paucity of funds, the governor has been able to construct over 100 kilometers of critical roads across Adamawa state. This is not surprising, because his diversification agenda, especially on agriculture, is heavily reliant on the provision of good and motorable roads to enable farmers take their produce to the market, reduce travelling time, and improve access to healthcare facilities he’s building across the local government areas of the state.
Today, the 11- point agenda of the Fintiri administration rolled out at its inception has successfully birthed the new and transformed Adamawa state. “We rolled up our sleeves and set out to work boots-on, by launching an aggressive multi-sectoral approach to development,” the governor once said.
To respond to the infrastructure deficit of the state, his administration designed a two-pronged approach: Urban renewal programme and Rural Infrastructure and Community Development. The 1,000 housing units under construction, connection of some communities to national grid, and social intervention programmes are complementary in making the state work for the first time since its creation.
Indeed, you can’t desire development for Adamawa state and not appreciate Governor Fintiri’s doggedness, audacity and resilience. Where others delivered lamentations and inertia, Fintiri brought succour and he seems poised to keep going strong.
The renewal of the 2019 social contract signed between Governor Fintiri and the Adamawa state electorate come 2023, is the seal to the continuity to better their lives and make the state greater.
However, observers of Adamawa state politics predict that the battle will be between the feeble and shaky opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, and the sturdy ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. This not surprising, considering the fact that sitting governor charged through an APC incumbent to emerge governor in 2019; now Fintiri has put his footprints in all the nooks and crannies of the state in less than four years.
Governor Fintiri is doing a job was seemingly impossible by sizable men in the history of Adamawa state, including his predecessor, Bindo Jibrilla. Bindow served his four years just like a woolgatherer and wayfarer, why then should anyone with a rational sense of judgement think a woman whose desperation, even at the level of clinching her party’s ticket, has shown the rot in her.
In truth, it was always a matter of time before the simmering cauldron of bitter emotions raging through the APC in Adamawa, following that wholesale dollarisation of the primary elections that produced Binani, to morph into pungent faeces and hit the fan. I am surprised that it took this long for aggrieved victims of that sham, dollar induced(s) election to react. Perhaps, they were stunned by the audacity of the actions of fellow party men who allowed their pride to be bought by a candidate who for so many reasons, but especially her gender, was not expected to pull off such a brazen heist.
The truth is, the APC knew it was fighting a lost battle right from start, because, in fairness, Binani against Fintiri in a conservative Adamawa that has especially experienced a new lease of life under the former is not a fair contest. She has come at the wrong time both in terms of cultural readiness for female leadership in conservative Arewa and, the excellent showing of a governor that has changed the fortunes of Adamawa state for good, since ousting APC in 2019.
Therefore, no amount of enthusiasm and gender solidarity and emotional campaigns and amorphous media rationalisation and prayers can change the fact that Senator Binani is fighting a lost battle. Nonetheless, the choice of a woman as running mate to Governor Fintiri has tactically weakened those who are myopically propagating femininity prejudice.
As we know, facts are very stubborn; they don’t pander to emotions or outrageous hope peddling. And the fact is, she’s in over her depth and just might never recover from this fatal miscalculation.
Jamilu writes from Yola, Adamawa state