Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa State
By Yusuf Jabatawa Jabs
The year 2023 will be a watershed history for Nigerian politics in general and Adamawa state in particular. In the Nigerian political scene, the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari will be rounding his second and last constitutional term of eight years as President.
Except by some events of death (God forbid), impeachment (unlikely under Senate president Ahmed Lawal), incapacitation or resignation, President Muhammadu Buhari will finish his tenure and handover to whoever Nigerians chose to replace him with.
I foresee a fiercer battles in states than at the federal government level for some obvious reasons:
- Only one person will emerge president, hence, most political gladiators at the federal level will go back to their respective states to contest for different political offices.
- Most powerful people in the present presidency will love to use this last lap of the Buhari presidency to be kingmakers or godfathers/godmothers of their own states.
- If PMB did not bequeath a new electoral laws that is clearly anti rigging and discourage electoral frauds, there will be widespread malpractices in 2023.
- The anti graft agencies will be more fierce and will be used to clip the wings and ultimately end many ambitions.
Adamawa state in particular will be very very interesting for some obvious reasons.
For starters, Adamawa state politically have always been a unique state in the political equation of Nigeria since this current Republic was ushered in 1999.
From how Atiku Abubakar as the duly elected Governor left and became the Vice President to President Obasanjo, to the tussle for the soul of PDP by Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and Gov. Nyako that led to the balkanization of PDP and it's subsequent loss of power at the centre.
Now with a very powerful force comprising of Wife of the president Aisha Buhari, Babachir Lawal, Boss Mustapha (SGF), Markus Gundiri, Nyako, Modi Halilu and a host of others with divergent individual interests, but a mutual opposition (PDP).
Interestingly, the PDP family is also in the murky waters of uncertainties with the intra-party tear between Senator Ishaku Abbo and his supporters on one hand and Governor Fintiri Ahmadu and his supporters on the other.
The rift between the Governor and the Senator representing the northern senatorial zone is both personal and political, hence, the possibility of a truce very unlikely and near impossible!
There are also pockets of disaffection among the ranks of the PDP but they are for now below hush murmurings. Other indicators are the rPDP elements led by Dr Ardo, who normally operates from the flanks and trenches but is known to also posses some lethal jabs that can wreck unimaginable havocs
Another shocker and disruptor is the ADC camp led by the gallant former Senator of Central zone Abdullazeez Nyako. Many are of the opinion that his singular performance in the 2019 elections is greatly responsible for the ouster of Former Governor Bindow Jibrilla.
The question now begging for answer is can all this forces join hands and give AUF a good run for the coveted number seat of Dougirei Government house come 2023? or will Governor Fintiri waive the olive branch and get their support?
Governor Fintiri on the other hand is not a novice in the game of politics. He seem to be building from the seeming political blunders of Former Governor Bindow in tightening the loose ends of the political turf of the state by his appointments and promises.
One thing that may work against Governor Ahmadu Fintiri is that he has not demonstrated enough developmental zest that is required to keep him endeared to the electorates and keep opponents at bay or reluctant to eye the Dougirei government house.
Most of his lofty projects and programs are often times described as "Audio" by the opposition elements because they fail to see them in concrete and realistic terms. The flyover and 2000 Housing projects are yet to kick-start after one year since promises were made.
Additionally, the Governor cannot boast of having the full support of even one of the three senators from the state. Currently, PDP and APC have 5 and 3 Members respectively in the green Chamber. A good number of the House of Representatives members do have an ambivalent relationship with their Governor.
At the moment, the Governor enjoys a cordial relationship with the state house of Assembly members. Even though there are few grudges here and there, but for political exingency, the state assembly members for now are keeping their cool.
Winning a second term in Adamawa state has never been a walkover for any Governor. Late Barde lost to Bamanga Tukur in 1983. Boni Haruna narrowly escaped being consumed by APP's Adamu Moddibo. Murtala Nyako narrowly edges over Gundiri and the election had to be done again.
Bala Ngillari as an incumbent could not even get to contest reelection due to forces beyond his comprehension.
In order to fully grasp the magnitude of what is brewing covertly and overtly, some few posers might lead us towards understanding the direction of the wind of 2023:
# PERFORMANCE INDICATORS
# STRENGHT OF THE OPPOSITION
# POLITICAL STRATEGIES
# ABUJA FACTOR
# ETHNO-RELIGIOUS FACTORS
One key element that will determine the success or otherwise of every incumbent is PERFORMANCE! Yes! As long as an incumbent performs over expectations, a sure ticket is in the offing. Picking it is the only effort to ensure it comes to pass.
The question now is can we say Governor Fintiri Ahmadu is performing beyond expectations or will perform beyond expectations in his first four years? The honest answer to this will suffice well enough.
Secondly, the STRENGHT or WEAKNESS of the entire opposition may make or mar the comeback plan of any sitting Governor. One thing that remains obvious is the calibre of opposition, the arsenals ammased and their weight behind the drive.
Palpably, Senator Ishaku Abbo leads the pack from within the PDP (at least for now). Senator Nyako will lead from the ADC camp while the APC pack remains the most ferocious. A wounded former Governor is waiting to take his pounds of flesh especially against many who took his money and worked for governor Fintiri.
Aisha Buhari who may want to hoist her blood brother Modi Halilu to transfer the frustrations of the humiliation of the cabals around the presidency and to also proof a point. A woman with a wounded ego fights dirty and passionately.
The only weak link in her ambition is that Dr Modi Halilu is yet to grasp the Nitty gritty of Adamawa grassroot politics. Speaking to the people of the cosmopolitan doesn't often translate to electoral fortunes. That is why the Adamawa central till date did not produce a governor.
This is where the whole surprise of 2023 lay. STRATEGIES. Politics like war and business are won and lost on strategies. All the mental exercises done behind the scene is what we see and call success. For now, all the major players are busy mapping out startegies and road maps. But certainly, a good strategists worth his or her onions will have the edge
Abuja have for long been very instrumental in the shape of political events in Adamawa state. Whether one views their meddling as successful or otherwise is another debate for another day. One thing I know for sure. Abuja connection will still play a very dominant role in the shape of things to come in 2023.
Of course, the most potent weapon to be used by Abuja is the national organs of the various political parties, the EFCC and ICPC, INEC, Security agencies and powerful media.
Ethnicity and religion has always been a silent factor in electioneering processes. However, in Adamawa state, most politicians do not openly use the ethnocentric and religious cards openly. Conversely, these cards are used mainly during grassroot mobilization, formation of support groups, when making promises to interest groups etc.
Instructively, I do not envisage any ethno-religious permutations to take any preeminence in giving undue advantage to both the incumbent and his challengers, but as usual, no one can dictate the direction of the tides of politics with utmost certainty.