…Citizens lament alleged inflation of flyover bridges
A report by the Desert Herald said that the executive Governor of Adamawa state,Rt Hon Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri’s addled administration is arguably facing its worst litmus test as its public rating keeps nose-diving following the government’s failure to carry the people along in its major policy and programs.
Investigations by DESERT HERALD weekly reveals that the governor is fast losing grip of power as the administration grapples with integrity, moral and ethical questions.
Going by the poor performance of the government since inception, there is a general consensus by the masses that the governor only sought power to fulfil personal desires and not necessarily to serve them.
They even accused the governor of deceiving them with fake promises during the election campaigns that brought him to power, arguing that more than one year of any leadership is enough to have a clearer picture of what the future might be and warned that except Mr. Fintiri adjusts in the interest of those that stood by him during the governorship election and overhaul his government, the next 32 months of his remaining mandate will not produce the desired result that will ease the struggle for his ambition to return for second term.
Apart from the above self-imposed problems, the government, DESERT HERALD gathered, is facing serious criticisms over lack of sensitivity and equity in project distribution across the 21 local governments of the state.
This is because while the governor expended several billions in some of the developed local governments, others with severe existential challenges got nothing despite their huge contributions towards his electoral victory.
Another huge challenge facing the government is the fact that in the few places where projects were cited, they fell short of the people’s expectations as they are not in tandem with their needs.
Findings by this medium indicate that Fintiri’s administration is the only government that spends one year in office without commissioning a single capital project with direct impact on the lives of the people.
For its failure to commission any viable project, one year after it berthed, the government came under barrage of attacks from the people who expressed reservations and disappointment over its shoddy performance.
Some of the people even accused the governor of deliberately fiddling and making revelries while the state dangles precariously towards anarchy.
Many analysts were of the opinion that the government only became responsive to the yearnings and clamour of the people for projects execution after heavy criticism and serious public outcry trailed its lacklustre attitude for one year. Media reports, particularly those from this medium, have also helped immensely in educating the people about their rights and making the government to be alert to many of the abandoned responsibilities.
But surprisingly, after the pressure mounted on the governor awakened him from his self-imposed slumber, he again failed another serious leadership test, by sidelining majority of the local governments who played key roles in his electoral success in 2019.
It is also established that in the allocation of projects, the governor deliberately neglected majority of the local governments that are facing worst existential challenges in preference to local governments with better infrastructure and quality of life.
For instance, while the governor budgeted over N10bn to construct two flyovers and some roads in Yola North Local Government, the same governor failed to allocate any viable project in Maiha, Mubi North and Mubi South Local Governments hitherto occupied by the dreaded Boko Haram elements at the peak of the insurgency in the state which led to the destruction of basic infrastructure and social amenities.
It is validated that during the months of occupation by the Boko Haram, a number of vital and critical infrastructures have been destroyed by the insurgents, but despite these realities, the governor sidestepped them in resource and project allocation in preference to better placed local governments.
But while the governor conveniently ignored Maiha, Mubi North and Mubi South Local Governments in projects allocation, he ensured the allocation of viable roads and electricity projects in his native Michika and Madagali Local Governments, a move many described as an open show of nepotism.
While the governor is contending with accusations of deliberately ignoring many local governments that deserved utmost attention, in Yola North where the government is expending about N8 billion to construct flyovers, he is still facing harsh criticisms over the proprietary of spending billions of tax payers’ money to do a project which in the estimation of the majority of the people is useless. They also accused Governor Fintiri of over inflating the contract of the construction of the two flyovers and hinted that experts are unanimous that the project at worst shouldn’t have cost more than N4billion, suggesting a 100% increase of what should have finished the project even with profits on top.
A number of Yola North residents interviewed by our reporter have condemned the award of such flyovers, saying the state has no traffic volume to warrant such gigantic projects, adding that a serious, sober and people’s oriented government would not have contemplated such a project in an area that is usually overtaken by flash floods whenever it rains.
Apart from the integrity question hovering over most of the contracts the government has awarded, the flyover contract has particularly brought untold hardship and stress to the residents living in the outskirts of Yola as they have to contend with a diabolic traffic snarl everyday which is expected to last for years.
The flyover contract has led to the closure of the main road leading to the state capital. The failure of the government to open up other alternative roads in the face of the closure of the main road has forced road users to resort to the only available secondary artery roads which are limited and insufficient.
This usually leads to serious traffic snarl especially at the peak hours resulting in the wastage of man hours.
Motorists complained that sometimes it takes them hours to reach places they should spend less than five minutes to reach, because the government was insensitive to carry them along while conceptualizing the flyover projects.
Some residents interviewed by DESERT HERALD weekly were of the opinion that instead of wasting billions of taxpayers’ money for such undesirable projects, the governor would have done better to address some teething challenges bedeviling most of the communities in the state capital such as poor drainage, lack of access roads in many communities, shortage of water and perennial flooding among many challenges faced by the people.
As accusations of contract manipulation and inflation dog the projects, this paper has launched investigation to ascertain whether the contracts so far awarded by the government have passed through the rigours of due process.
Along this line, this paper is also investigating allegations that the governor has busied himself acquiring choice properties since he assumed power.
Currently there are insinuations that the governor has acquired a number of choice properties and businesses in Mubi, Abuja, and Yola with alleged laundered funds. This paper is painstakingly investigating such insinuations and will make its findings known in due course.
But one thing that this medium has validated is the fact that one year after he assumed office and with no single capital project so far commissioned, the governor has demolished his personal house where he lived for years located in legislative quarters in Malamre area of Jimeta.
This paper also confirmed that in place of the demolished house, a multi-billion state-of-the-art edifice is currently under construction. Adamawa citizens wondered in lamentations where the governor got the money he is currently spending in constructing another edifice.
As it is now, the prospects of good governance by the Fintiri-led administration is eluding the state as the people on daily basis loss hope in the governor’s sincerity and ability to give responsive and accountable leadership.
This belief is underpinned by the fact that some major projects including a housing project for which the state government borrowed a whooping N10 billion is still a pipe dream, more than one year after the project was flagged off as a visit to the site by our reporter indicated that even foundation for the multi-billion project did not commence.
Similarly, another multi-billion road project is still a mirage more than a year after the government awarded it. In addition, the government has since its coming borrowed about N30 billion without commensurate projects to justify such massive borrowing.
Some analysts have posited that the way in which the government handles finances which in most instances fell short of due process and transparency is causing many conscious citizens sleepless nights, for the fear that going by its body language, the Fintiri administration will only leave the state far worse than it met it.
But as the level of confidence between the government and the people continued to shrink, this paper learnt authoritatively that the Fulani establishment in Adamawa State having lost out in the power equation has tacitly withdrawn its support for the administration.
The Fulani establishment has for a long time viewed Fintiri with suspicion because of an infamous Fulaniphobe statement he was said to have made in the buildup to the governorship election of 2015.
In one of his campaign outings, the governor allegedly told a group of non-Fulani tribes that he will end the Fulani hegemony in the state by breaking their calabash.
Despite repeatedly denouncing such insinuation, the Fulani establishment continued to view Fintiri with suspicion up to the eve of the 2019 governorship election.
Since no one can prove the statement beyond reasonable doubt, the Fulani group somehow supported Fintiri ambition on account of governor Bindow’s litany of shortcomings and the fact that some respected Fulani leaders in the state have thrown their weight behind Fintiri.
Those Fulani leaders were believed to have bankrolled his campaigns, washed, deodorized, dressed and presented him as not only a lover of the Fulani race but one that could never harbour ill feelings against the race.
Some groups of Fulani were even forced to give him a Fulani title of Ardo. After so much white washing and huge PR efforts, the Fulani were said to have grudgingly accepted Fintiri’s candidature.
But in fairness to him, Fintiri has adequately rewarded the Fulani establishment by appointing a Fulani man, Eng. Bashir Ahmad, as the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) for the support the Fulani accorded him during the electioneering campaigns.
This paper authoritatively learnt that as a result of that singular appointment, the Numan federation which gave the governor block votes felt shortchanged and even accused Fintiri of betrayal for not giving someone from the area or at least a Christian the juicy and important office.
According to insiders, for the perceived “act of betrayal” the Numan federation and by extension Christians in the state felt that the governor has only used them to attain political office but his mind is with the Fulani establishment.
In order to appease the Christians, the governor appointed Professor Maxwell Gidado as his chief of staff and made sure that he favoured them in his cabinet appointment and in the local government election.
The rationale behind the appointment of a Fulani man as the SSG, according to sources close to the government house, was to ensure that the Fulani interests are addressed. In order to fulfil such huge task, the governor deliberately made the SSG the most visible and powerful government appointee in the administration.
Apart from his constitutional roles, the governor assigned the SSG to supervise very important state projects and policy formulations even sidelining his deputy who is from Numan federation.
Insiders confided in our reporter that the governor deliberately made the SSG very important so that he can take care of his immediate constituency, the Fulani constituency.
But instead of that, the SSG became unnecessarily hostile, disrespectful, and arrogant to his kinsmen, to the extent that he treats even his own immediate constituency, Yola North, with so much levity.
As the SSG became so much obsessed with a superiority complex and arrogance, the Fulani establishment who could not stomach such act of disdain and impudence decided to honorably shun the government.
A source close to the government noted that some concerned people once approached governor Fintiri over the neglect of the Fulani people by his government.
In response, the governor said he deliberately appointed a Fulani man and made him so powerful so that he can take care of the interest of his kinsmen.
The governor was alleged to have told the concerned people that surprisingly, instead of the SSG to take care of his immediate constituency, he has only encircled himself with some of the governor’s friends.
Our reporter who spoke with a number of Fulani men in the state reports that the Fulani establishment is not happy with the governor for not consulting them before the appointment of Eng. Bashir Ahmad.
They noted that if the governor has consulted them, they would have advised him to pick one among the array of its brightest, competent and cosmopolitan sons for the job.
They noted that in the appointment of Bashir Ahmed who has no pedigree or the maturity to manage such an important portfolio for the benefit of their people, the governor has deliberately schemed the Fulani out of his administration, noting that for such intransigence, the governor must pay dearly come 2023.