On May 29th, 2020, Adamawa State Governor, Alhaji Ahmadu Fintiri marks one year in office. The government came to power on the back of intricate politicking, strange political alliances and diverse interests while promising to deliver an 11-point agenda aimed at making life better for the Adamawa residents. It is therefore very tricky to assess the government’s performance in its first year. However, it is politically incorrect to overlook an evaluation that may better help and guide the government’s decision making, going forward in Adamawa complex socio-political environment.
Pundits had predicted Fintiri to hit the ground running and deliver on his most critical promises. Surprisingly, the governor did not beat expectations nor hit the bullseye, though he performed excellently in some areas.
The immediate dilemma of Fintiri’s administration was the time it wasted in the politics of compensating various political interest groups and economic factors that brought it to power- Fintiri inherited a state with poor finances. The Fintiri government has excellent policies, programmes, and well-setup ministries led by well-educated commissioners. But sadly the government is slow in the implementation of its entire promised 11-point agenda.
Fintiri may have underestimated the enormity of his 11-point agenda which focuses on education, civil services reform, healthcare, environment, security, water supply, agriculture, women and youth development, revenue generation, infrastructure, commerce and industries. Addressing these wide-ranging issues is a tasking mission- It is like an attempt to carry the camel and its loads; that requires a knowledge-based approach and new thinking. The underutilization of the human capacity at his disposal including commissioners, special advisers and seeking advice from other stakeholders is among the reasons the Fintiri government has been unable to effectively get the ball rolling on its touted agenda. The commissioners and aides are expected to lead by initiating innovative ideas to attain the agenda, has this been happening? Do the commissioners have a free rein to share and actualize their ideas with the governor?. Are the commissioners preoccupied with the ‘weight’ of their pockets and political future? Most times, government policies and programme suffer setbacks if overshadowed by personal interests and unnecessary politics- For instance and sadly, Adamawa’s politics of tongue and faith is slowly rearing its ugly heads, while the government poor communication strategies are not helping matters.
The next one year is very critical for Fintiri; it will make or mar him politically. This is because by 2022, Adamawa’s usual politicking, towards 2023 elections will become a distraction to him. If he must achieve his set goals, Fintiri needs to do three things.
First, a honest reality check on himself and his government’s direction. He may compare his public image and common people perception while he was acting governor from July 16, 2014 – October 1, 2014 with his public image and common people perception now as a substantial governor. Second, he should reflect on the path to his 2019 victory at the polls- the high-wired politics driven by wide divisions in the Adamawa All Progressives Congress (APC), his victory over then incumbent Governor Mohammed Umaru Jibrilla Bindow of the APC by 376,552 to 336,386 – a slim margin of 40,166 votes. Can he still attain such a feat today and? Will he still command such an edge in the next three years? Though, in politics, three years is like a pregnant woman. Lastly, and most importantly, Fintiri needs to find ways to effectively utilize his performance today to strengthen his stand in Adamawa and the national politics of tomorrow. Fintiri’s government is still budding and has another three years to make things right. Nonetheless, we cannot overlook a candid assessment of his performance in his first year. Using his own agenda, on a scale of 10, Fintiri can be rated 7 out of 10 in workers’ welfare, security and local government autonomy, while 4 out of 10 in the rest of the items on the agenda.
Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa state