By Zayyad Mohammed
Adamawa Sate Governor, Alhaji Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri is 100 days in office. Fintiri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) came to power through intricate politicking and strange political alliances. In fact, his victory at the polls was due to high-wired politics driven by wide divisions in the Adamawa All Progressive Congress (APC). Fintiri defeated former Governor Mohammed Umaru Jibrilla Bindow of the APC by 376,552 to 336,386- a slim margin of 40,166 votes. Students of politics believed that African Democratic Conggress (ADC) candidate, Senator Abdul Azizi’s 113,237 votes was one of the manu factors that dealt a blow to Bindow.
Pundits had predicted Fintiri to hit the ground running. Surprisingly, the governor is even yet to form his cabinet, leaving government agencies without roadmaps for actions. This may be due to reasons such as dilemma in compensating various political interest groups; economic factor- Fintiri inherited a state with poor finances, and the governor may be waiting for the election legal tussles to end.
Whatever the reason may be, Fintiri should have formed his cabinet to ensure the government can start functioning. No Nigerian Governor is free from political controversy, even after forming his cabinet. There will be dissatisfied groups, who will feel left behind, having been instrumental in Governor’s victory at the polls.
Fintiri has not managed with ‘political-intelligence’, the issue of last minute employment by Bindow. An act, some believed was purposely done to set a political trap for Fintiri. It is neither economically feasible nor sustainable for the government to keep the new employees. Hence, their salaries have been stopped, creating a social problem which Fintiri’s opponents are using as a weapon against him. All these, while the governor battles to implement the new minimum wage of 33,000 naira as he promised.
Fintiri came to power riding on the support of five diverse interest groups in the state. First, the Adamawa Minority Forum – which is Fintiri’s primary constituency; second, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP),the third is the Mahmood Halilu Modi group which comprises Babachir Lawal and co, the ‘iron lady’, and some aggrieved members of APC who decided to back Fintiri; the Atiku group, the Nyako group and lastly, the Fulani ethnic group- which is the largest single tribe in Adamawa state.
Despite being a Muslim, the Adamawa Minority Forum, and its Christian population is Fintiri’s backbone, he cannot ignore them. The Nyako group has unique power– its over 100,000 cult-like followers make the group indispensable. The Atiku group has unrivaled political structures and large war chest. The Adamawa Hausa-Fulani oligarchy- the Kautal Pulaku, controls nearly 85% of the state’s wealth and resources, with the support of their northwest ‘cousins’ they can create a political havoc.
Fintiri appears to have well managed these groups so far; but in his first 100 days, have they been happy? There are insinuations that some stakeholders are already getting disgruntled by the Fintiri government. This has been fueled by the Governor’s solidarity visit to Aso Rock while Atiku is still challenging the legitimacy of the Buhari government.
Organizing and conducting the November 2019 local government elections will be a plus for Fintiri. However, the election will be the first litmus test of the marriage between the governor and the other bigwigs in the state. It will also test the ability of Adamawa PDP to manage success.
Fintiri has done well in terms of workers’ welfare and prompt payment of salaries. He has been able to tackle the security challenges such as farmer-herder conflict, kidnapping and city crimes- the Shila boys.
Granting autonomy to LGAs was a unique selling point for Fintiri during his campaign. How does he plan to implement this? The re-introduction of free feeding programmes in schools and free SSCE programme are a good start. The proposed 2000 housing units across the 21 LGAs has excited the people, while the commencement of Treasury Single Account and Women and Youths empowerment programmes have rekindled hope.
The Adamawa people are waiting to see how Ahmadu Fintiri will approach the massive infrastructure projects he promised. The compensation of politicians that helped him to power hangs on. The more the delay the more the expectation and political tension. Nevertheless, Governor Fintiri can be rated 7/10 in his first 100 days in office.
Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa state 08036070980 firstname.lastname@example.org