I have hesitated to acknowledge the misgovernance in my home state – Adamawa – for some very personal reasons, though this may sound contradictory to some as I have been an advocate of good governance from the inception of the current political dispensation in 1999. Too often jokers appear on the state’s political landscape, strutting around with bravado and flexing their muscles, forgetting the ephemeral nature of power. I hesitate to comment on such characters for the simple reason of being careful not to ascribe to them a significance they do not deserve.
Freedom of speech is sacred and this includes the freedom to waste one’s time. There would have been no harm in such talk – beyond the fact that one could find so many endeavours more profitable than writing on a government that seems to have nothing to its credit apart from grandstanding on the pages of newspapers and even this had to be done through phantom organisations. It wouldn’t have been necessary to pen this piece, if the ludicrous had not become tragic and fraudulent.
The people of the state suffers through the crass and trite actions of the government that to all intents and purposes is piloted by the Chief of Staff to the governor, whose concept of governance is the display of raw power acquired through serial betrayals. There is an air about the inanities done, which the governor and his COS do, with an “in your face” attitude. You can see it in their smirking faces; feel it in their insolent voices whenever they deem it expedient to address the people. Typical example is where the COS was forced to explain to aggrieved farmers what happened to the N2billion collected from the CBN on their behalf. The delivery of the “explanation” was uttered as “revelations” and insolently demanding acceptance by those who felt cheated by the government and its operatives; it was done with an air of conscious effrontery, giving the impression that the speaker knows what he is doing but all that came through was a display of boastful power.
Two weeks to the inauguration of a new government and the subsequent house cleaning expected to take place in all government houses across the country, the Ngilari administration is running from pillar to post trying to create the impression that it is under siege from only God knows where. Bala Ngilari and his advisers are turning Ahmadu Fintiri and the State House of Assembly as the bogeyman the people must fear and run away from. We have seen increased media visibility and hype from groups, which the administration believe they can hide behind, and poke their sticky fingers into the eyes of the people of the state. In trying to run from their shadows, Bala Ngilari and particularly his Chief of Staff are unwittingly creating evil – an evil that may ultimately consume them. The deleterious effect of their action will only further push the people of the state further than they already are from them.
It happens, upon rare occasions, that perfidy too great to comprehend is visited on hapless people. Here, we can observe the evil that is crushing our people. When Fintiri, with a sense of humanitarian duty, made a mighty effort to rescue the people of Adamawa from the clutches of nepotism, underdevelopment and kleptocracy, the egotism and insecurity of a small group blew that unique opportunity for the people to experience physical development and drink from the fountain of good governance for the first time in all the years that democracy was restored.
When the state is torn by gigantic problems, seeking answers to questions that hold the survival of the citizens and improvement of their living standards, the governor and his Chief of Staff are busy hiring mudslingers to attempt to diminish the stature of the Speaker. His crime? His singular act of undressing them for the public to see them in their nakedness.
Chubado Tijjani, as most people have not heard of and most likely may not hear of again after the expiration of this government, is the Chief of Staff to Bala Ngilari. When listening to people talk about the Chief of Staff, I became interested in speculating the reasons that make men so anxious to debase themselves. Have you noticed how righteous he sounded when addressing the issue of the N2billion agric loan collected from the Central Bank? Have you observed the patronising inflection in his voice while trying to justify this particular theft?
New facts emerged as to the scandalous level the Ngilari administration is dragging the state downhill. His COS, who is behaving like the de facto governor, impetuously tried to justify stealing. I don’t know how one can describe a situation where the COS claimed that the government spent N700million to “feed” Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Kashim Shettima, the Borno State governor, who stoically bore the brunt of the insurgency that displaced the people and the chief host to the largest number of IDPs among all the states in the northeast, spends N4million monthly to feed them. Contrast this with Adamawa government’s claim of spending N700million.
The recourse to the public court with a rehash of half-truths by the government is pathetic. The organisations put up by the government to denigrate Fintiri and the House of Assembly and who go by different names are neither progressive nor have any integrity. They are just guns for hire who litter the state looking to survive anyhow possible. They would have done well by advising Ngilari to take Fintiri to the EFCC just like the Estate agent who bought them two apartments in Dubai and who, in their characteristic parsimoniousness refused to pay him his fees, took them to the Commission and for which the Chief of Staff has been a regular guest to the Commission in the past two weeks. The Speaker would then have been made to account for all the “financial recklessness” he committed in his eighty-six days in office. The attempt to factionalise the legislature is in bad taste so also is projecting Ngilari as a meek and humble person – so also is Jonathan but look at where Jonathan has taken us. Ngilari’s second-rate imitation of Fayose’s rupture of the legislature failed because many people saw through the ruse.
Fintiri empanelled a Judicial Commission of Inquiry, headed by a High Court Judge to look into the financial transaction of the Nyako administration, which Ngilari was a deputy governor. I strongly advise Ngiiari to do the same rather than engaging in this cat and mouse game.
Fintiri is guilty in my book. He is very guilty. He shouldn’t have embarked on projects that were neglected by a government in which Ngilari was a deputy governor; he shouldn’t have made the mistake of demystifying governance by running an open and all-inclusive government when he knew very well that it is anathema to very many people. He is guilty as charged and must therefore bear this cross for the rest of his life.
While our brothers and sisters are saddled with hunger, diseases, homelessness, murdered hopes and aspirations, the government is funding phantom organisations with the connivance of a media destroyed by the ubiquitous brown envelop to bring down a man whose superiority over them is not in doubt. What are they hiding? For now, it is only the Chief of Staff that is summoned by the EFCC to explain some financial transaction. Soon the toga of immunity will be removed from Ngilari’s shoulders – then we will know how meek or humble he is.
What are they afraid of? What or what are they trying to hide by deflecting people’s attention from their government’s atrocities? You can’t hide behind a finger.