How Fintiri is keeping date with history in Adamawa

Adamawa state governor, Umaru Fintiri, is someone who has come to keep a date with destiny as he seems to tread on paths that others fear to tread. MUAZU ABARI writes.

History and destiny have always been kind to Governor Ahnadu Fintiri of Adamawa state as he usually comes to limelight in troubled times.

Often times, he is saddled with a herculean task especially at a challenging moment when it seems all hopes are lost.

This leaves him at the centre of the storm such that can make or mar him politically with attention focused on how he can navigate the ship and weather the storm.

Investigation however reveals that in all those responsibilities on his shoulders, he always emerges stronger by proving his mettle, setting new records and turning the odds in his favour,

thereby leaving behind a footprint that puts his detractors to shame. This has been his defining antecedents since he came to public glare in 2007.

His antecedents

When therefore he decided to contest the House of Assembly seat of Madagali Constituency in 2007 under the platform of Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN) in a PDP-controlled state, cynics dismissed his ambition as dead on arrival, but he was able to prove cynics wrong as he won his election to the chagrin of his detractors.

His subsequent decision to defected from ACN  to PDP was seen as another costly political blunder that would seal up his career in Adamawa politics, but again, Fintiri succeeded not only to win his re-election, but rose steadily to the leadership positions in the assembly from being a minority whip to majority leader and subsequently speaker against all odds.

As acting governor

Again destiny tested him with the responsibility of piloting the affairs of the state as acting governor following Nyako’s impeachment.

Most people doubted his capacity to govern a highly unpredictable state like Adamawa whose political environment is synonymous with signing one’s death warrant.

But within three months in office, he was able to redefine governance in the state and proved cynics wrong with his brilliant performance that left most people wondering at the secret behind his successes as can be clearly seen in massive constructions of roads, resuscitation of street lights, prioritisation of workers’ salaries and welfare, settlement of unpaid salary arrears, among other achievements within three months in office. This no doubt launched him into political fame, increased his political popularity and endeared him to the hearts of the people of Adamawa.

Although his efforts to become governor in the supposed 2014-bye election which most people believed he would have won did not see the light of the day due to an Abuja High Court judgment which nullified the resignation of Nyako’s deputy, Bala James Ngillari and ordered him to be inaugurated as the substantive governor to complete Nyako’s tenure, but even out of government, Fintiri continued to keep faith with his party and the electorates unlike others who only appear when election approaches.

As governor

Having kept faith with the electorates even out of government and taking into consideration his records of achievements and leadership style the people anxiously looked forward to an opportunity to pay him back for all he did; the however 2019 general election provided that opportunity. He made history by winning his election making him the first governor in the history of Adamawa politics to defeat an incumbent.

In the last two years of his stewardship amidst financial strangulation, frightening debt profile and intimidating challenges inherited, Fintiri succeeded in turning Adamawa into a model of good governance and infrastructural development with intimidating records of achievements in most sectors of the state. These are encapsulated in his 11 point agenda especially in urban renewal, massive infrastructural drive, roads constructions, security, health, education among others.

It is therefore, not surprising that his party, PDP, decided to entrust him with a herculean responsibility of organising a credible national convention that would usher in new leadership which would take the party to the victory expected by most Nigerians. The committee members include other governors, formers governors, ministers and National Assembly members.

Recent appointment by his party

Speaking at a press conference on the outcome of the 93rd national executive council meeting of the party, the national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan who announced the decision said, “NEC has approved the composition of the National Convention Organising Committee as well as the zoning committee to NWC offices. The National Convention Organising committee is to be chaired by Rtd Hon Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, the governor of Adamawa state, Sentator Douye Diri, governor of Bayelsa state is the deputy chairman of the committee while Engr Seyi Makinde, governor of Oyo state is to serve as the committee secretary.

“On zoning committee NEC approved Rtd Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, governor of Enugu state as the chairman of the zoning committee, Dr Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue state is the deputy chairman of the zoning committee.”

In an interview, Fintiri said. I’m used to such herculean task in my life and I believe that the assignment given to me by my party to give birth to new leadership that would steer the affairs of the party in the next four years is not going to be a difficult one. We are really mindful of the time and we prepare adequately to ensure that the least Nigerians are expecting from us is what we are out for.

“Looking at the calibre of the people who are in this committee, their wealth of experiences, their background and offices they held in their lives in this country, I think they would be able to give us the expected and maximum supports to succeed so that we give birth to what Nigerians are expecting from us as leaders of PDP.”

On whether the scheduled congresses in some states would affect the conduct of the convention, Fintiri said, “We have about nine states including my own state of Adamawa where congresses from ward to state levels will be conducted which would transit into our national convention about two weeks to the end of the congresses, but be that as it may, it would not affect the planning, the organisation of the national convention because that’s a different organ on its own and other committees would be set up by the NWC to go and supervise and conduct such congresses.

“But whatever happens as a fallout from the congress in these states, their EXCOs can still participate in the national convention because some of their tenure may not run out from these days, so I don’t think organising congresses in nine states would have challenges in organising the national convention; they are separate.”

Inaugurating the committee last week in Abuja in an elaborate occasion, PDP acting national chairman, Elder Yemi Akinwonmi, tasked the committee to build on the successes recorded during the 2018 Port Harcourt convention stressing that committee leaders and members were carefully selected based on their antecedents and records.

In their separate goodwill messages, the chairman PDP Board of Trustees, Sen Walid Jibrin and minority leader in the House of Representatives, Hon.Ndudi Elemelu said the inauguration is the beginning of PDP journey to Aso Rock in 2023. They urged the committee not to faile Nigerians who are looking forward to the party to rescue the country in 2023.

Responding on behalf of other committee members, Governor Fintiri assured the gathering of their commitments to give the party the best convention ever and promised that they would not fail the party and Nigerians.

“I will not let you down; I would give you one of the best conventions ever. Nigeria is in extra- ordinary times and need an extra ordinary spirit to free it from further destruction even as he appealed to the zoning committee to expedite action on their own assignment to enable his committee carry out their duties. He thanked the party for the confidence and trust as he solicited for other supports of all the party stakeholders.

There is no doubt that PDP decision to entrust Fintiri with this herculean responsibility is due to their strong belief in his capacity to handle difficult situations going by his antecedents.

Most people believe that Fintiri would utilise this golden opportunity to write his name in gold and pass another test of history by giving the party a credible convention that would be acceptable to all.