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Adamawa politics: Between campaign and governance modes

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Babayola M. Toungo

Adamawa state governor, Rt. Hon. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri is the de jure and de facto chief executive of the state, so has the voters decided and so has the courts concurred. Whatever our prejudices we have to accept this fact. We must also accept that he is the governor of Adamawa state and not that of the PDP or APC. This last statement is what our minds refused to accept or even process. Those among us who opposed him in 2019 are still not able to remove their minds from the campaign mode to governance mode. They appear to be stuck in a time capsule and are incapable of wriggling out of the cul de sac they drove their political vehicles into.

While they pride themselves as political godfathers with a resume a mile longer than that of the governor but with no tangible political achievement, others are merely political jobbers who believe they must have an opinion on all issues in order to remain politically visible in the state’s socio-political landscape. The most irritating ones among the lot are those who believe that there won’t be a government without their input. As “stakeholders” they must decide what the governor does or doesn’t. Failure to do so, invalidates whatever actions the chief executive takes in the overall interest of the people of the state. This group have refused to take away their minds from the campaign mode to switch to a harmonious governance mode. I want to elaborate what I mean here by an illustration.

The governor, Rt. Hon. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, was a one-time acting governor of the state between June 2014 to October 2014. In October 2014, a Federal High Court in Abuja removed him from the seat and he went back to the state House of Assembly as the Speaker and continued his legislative duties until the end of the Nyako – Ngilari tenure in May 2015. He retreated below the radar after a new government was elected. He gave the new government a leeway to carry out their duties to the people of the state. He more or less hibernated politically. From his hibernation, he planned and strategized for the 2019 elections. He gave the administration space and peace to run their affairs as their capacity and capability allowed them to. He resurfaced only after the campaigns began and unfolded his strategies which culminated in his victory at his party’s primaries, where some of these “stakeholders” participated. He floored all that contested and went ahead to win the general elections.

The major political activity that Rt. Hon. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri was involved with during his hibernation from the governance activities of Adamawa state was pitching his political tent with the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of their party against the Ali Modu Sherriff-led faction where our “stakeholders” were visibly prominent. At the end of the fight for the soul of the party, the Makarfi-led faction dusted Sherriff and his foot soldiers. Of course, as in any war, the victors took the spoils – the structures of the party at all levels. This hurts so much to our “stakeholders” who have now been pushed out of the ‘room’ – literally looking in from outside.

Those who felt they need the courts to win, run to the courts where they were again defeated. They fail to see the irony in rejecting the voice of the electorate and chose to go to the courts. After failing to get to the government house through the instrumentality of the courts, they retrace their steps back to the same electorate, whose verdict they rejected in the first place to appeal to primordial sentiments in their efforts of distracting the government in delivering what they promised the people. The only problem I have with their methods is the way they toy with the gullibility of their followers. These techniques only go a long way in endangering hatred against fellow citizens of the state; deepens schisms and open up latent fault lines. They neither mind nor care as long as they believe they have achieved their aims.

The serial failures in both the courts and the ballot boxes is what gave birth to the Facebook Armoured Brigades and the WhatsApp Artillery Battalion. I know it hurts to be defeated over and over again by those you believe is your political inferior, but respect for constituted authority is a religious obligation. Worse of all is the feeling of being ignored by the government.

They empower the neo-social media warriors to insult people whose only fault is disagreeing with their brand of politics. These social media warriors are not versed in either politics or governance but are unleashed on an unsuspecting populace. They go around cyberspace with incendiary materials and hearts full of venom. Most are daily fed with a diet of hatred and fake stories. They are uncritical and undiscriminating. Whatever they are told by their principals are gospel. These are those that our “stakeholders” pushed to the cyberspace with a handset and data to insult a governor. These are our policy wonks who one disagrees with at the expense of being insulted.

We should be mature enough to differentiate between a campaign period and a governance period. We should avoid stagnating in one subconscious level of relating with government. Fintiri is the Adamawa state governor – the earlier we accept that and act accordingly, the better for our sanity.

Babayola is a senior special assistant on media to governor Fintiri