Governor Fintiri of Adamawa: Tortuous Journey to Electoral Triumph

Governor Fintiri of Adamawa: Tortuous Journey to Electoral Triumph

It was a long road tarred with twists and turns for Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, the governor of Adamawa State, before arriving at the triumphant landmark in his political journey receiving a nudge from the Supreme Court for another four-year mandate. His victory at the apex court was not a walk in the park without its

It was a long road tarred with twists and turns for Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, the governor of Adamawa State, before arriving at the triumphant landmark in his political journey receiving a nudge from the Supreme Court for another four-year mandate.

His victory at the apex court was not a walk in the park without its bearing its tales and trials. Elected for the first time as governor in 2019, he was not a stranger to power. Prior to his election, he had occupied the position of Speaker of the House of assembly and governor in an acting capacity for three months, when the then governor Murtala Nyako, was impeached in 2014. As the speaker, the mantle of leadership fell on him to complete Nyako’s tenure.

Having sat in the office of the governor for few months, his ambition was triggered to return to the government house as duly elected, resulting in his contesting the 2019 election against the incumbent, the candidate of All Progressives Congress, Bindo Jibrilla- a poll he won despite the declaration of inconclusiveness in the poll.

With his four years in office, analysts had expected that Fintiri’s decision to run for the second term would be more seamless than the hassles he faced in his first stint as a governorship candidate. But, on the contrary, it emerged a very difficult battle.

Plot Against Atiku Through Fintiri

The All Progressive Congress had already built a monument to a political plot to put the former vice president into ignominy in his home state, a plot which did not preclude putting Fintiri at the crossfire and relegating him to an incumbent who lost his seat of power, just like his predecessor. To execute this plot, there was an infiltration into the electoral system of the state and to present worthy candidates against the PDP structure both in the state and at the federal level.

While Atiku was battling with the candidates of the APC and Labour Party, Bola Tinubu and Peter Obi, respectively, for the highest position in the country, Fintiri was to go against another influential candidate, Aisha Dahiru, also known as Binani, a serving senator and well known for philanthropy in the state. The heated contest was a litmus test for Fintiri’s relevance, especially since Binani had already gained both national and international recognition as the first woman who stood a chance of being elected as a state governor in the country, and the fact that the possibility of such a narrative was coming from the Northern part of the country was an emblem of hope for Nigerian democracy.

In some places, it was also implied that President Tinubu of the APC and Atiku Abubakar of the PDP were engaged in a proxy war through the Adamawa contest, given their direct connection to the governorship candidates. Adamawa is the home state of Alhaji Atiku, and it would seem disgraceful that his party could not win his home state.

The optics of the state election drew more attention to the polling procedures, resulting in the state witnessing the most dramatic electioneering process in the country in 2023. The drama-filled governorship election came up on March 18, 2023, the same day as the other 27 states in the country, but saw different plot twists from the start of the proceeding.

The first chapter of the drama took off when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the election inconclusive due to the cancellation of votes cast in some polling units in the state. Even though Fintiri was ahead of the APC candidate, the electoral commission said the margin between the two top candidates was less than the total number of potential voters—37,016—in 69 polling units where elections were canceled, leading to fixing April 15, 2023, as another for the rerun in the affected polling units.

The Revolt from the Adamawa REC

Unknown to the citizens of the state, there was a plot to subvert democracy in the electioneering process, but the badly planned plot was unveiled when the INEC Resident Electoral Commission, Yunusa Hudu Ari, declared the governorship candidate of the APC, Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed, the winner of the Adamawa governorship election, without giving a breakdown of the results, a move that almost put the state in confusion and near anarchy. Some analysts described it as a political coup without gunshots’ or a civilian coup that caused uproar in the state’s political atmosphere.

Subsequently, the electoral umpire came to save the day by suspending the REC and his accomplices after overruling his declaration that Binani was the winner of the state governorship. The electoral commission, however, stood with the declaration of the returning officer, Professor Mele Muhammoud, which declared Fintiri the winner of the state election. Senator Binani, however, embraced the first declaration, appearing on NTA television to read an acceptance speech. She also approached the court to stop INEC from declaring her victory null and void and give her the certificate of return to occupy the post.

The Battle in the Courts

Meanwhile, the court declined to hear her motion on a question of jurisdiction, giving the electoral commission the authority to issue the certificate of return to Mr Fintiri, who was later sworn in as the state governor.

Senator Binani, dissatisfied with the outcome, approached the tribunal and the court of appeals to overturn the result of the poll, on the ground that she was the legitimate winner of the election, adding that the election was marred by rigging, thugery and electoral malpractices, but the two lower courts dismissed her appeal for lacking merit and failure to prove the allegations. The appellate court also ordered Mrs Binani and her party to pay Mr Fintiri a sum of N 1 million.

Mrs Binani, in her never-say-die spirit, approached the Supreme Court in the hopes of receiving a favorable ruling, but she was met with a similar decision. In his judgement, Justice John Okoro, the head of the five-member panel, stated that the declaration by the suspended REC, Hudu Ari, was an act of irresponsibility and criminality.

After surviving the Machiavellian machinations of the desperate anti-democratic elements, Umaru Fintiri went to great lengths to portray himself as the “last man standing.” To show that he who laughs last laughs best, the Adamawa state governor, in his reaction to the Supreme Court decision, appreciated the people of the state and promised to deliver what is best to them. He said, “to the people of my state that have stood firm with me throughout this trying time, I am grateful to them and to my entire well-wishers in the country.” This victory will only spur us more to do better for our state.

“We will continue to ensure that only the best is delivered to our people and I call on every citizen of the state to join me in building a greater Adamawa State”.

Posts Carousel

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Latest Posts

Top Authors

Most Commented

Featured Videos