THE SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY, RT. HON AHMADU UMARU FINTIRI, AT HIS INAUGURATION FOR 2ND TENURE AS THE ELECTED GOVERNOR OF ADAMAWA STATE, 2023 – 2027, on 29TH MAY, 2023
Today, I stand here humbled by the love you have shown me, eternally grateful for the belief you have expressed in my leadership qualities, inspired by the conviction you have reposed in my humble capacity to continue to pilot the affairs of this great State – a State we have grown to love and develop.
I stand here again, as I did, in 2019, to promise you that since the God we serve as a people, did not fail us, I will also not fail you. I will continue to serve you in absolute humility and devotion to your needs and expectations and will continue to appropriate your resources to improve your living condition, and in the same way, secure the future for our children so that, they too, can be as productive and fulfilled in their aspirations as their counterparts anywhere in the world.
I have always maintained that the oath I just took, like I did in 2019, is a sacred act. It is not just a constitutional duty but a covenant with God. As it was in 2019, you are all thankfully gathered here again: family, friends and citizens not as partakers but as witnesses. My wife, my children and all well-wishers, with your love and support, none of you could help me hold the Holy Quran to take the oath of service. You were there when the support to bring me to this point was needed, you gave your best and I sincerely appreciate every bit of it. However, you certainly wouldn’t be there when I will be called upon to give account of the responsibility I just swore to take. This understanding has been my guiding principle. If for any reason, some of you found my resistance to bend from 2019 or find same as we move ahead with this journey, just know that it is done in keeping faith with this noble principle of abiding by the dictates of the oath I just took. Personally, I live my daily life conscious of the bounties of grace that God the Almighty has placed on me. I am not like any other governor in Nigeria. I am unique in my own little ways. Today, I am the only Governor who has had the fortune of acting twice before he is substantively elected into office. What this means is that I have taken the oath to serve you as your Governor four times. If you call it luck, it is truly a deserving one. No Governor in Nigeria is this lucky. It is a luck whose journey is laced with adequate preparation. It is a luck I don’t take for granted. It is a luck that indeed humbles me at all times.
When I ventured into politics and decided to aspire to lead the State, I was conscious of the task of leading a heterogenous and plural State. I am by no means not unaware of our structural makeups; diverse cultures, different faiths and religious background, divergent political opinions and even fault lines that exist among some of our people. But I am equally armed with the conviction that this is where to get it right for Nigeria. Today, as I reflect on my experience in the last four years, I am convinced the more that whoever leads Adamawa State and leads it well, can undoubtedly lead Nigeria fairly well too.
We have in the last four years tried to weave the thread that linked these noble aspirations into a united front that uplifts and inspires the belief that we are one people, united by aspirations that has shaped all great societies: the need to live in harmony, safe, secured and as a prosperous society; where people are free to dream, dare and drive; where the circumstances of one’s birth or the axis of his or her geography will not limit the individual’s capacity to succeed. We have tried to build a society where the leadership does not reduce itself to trivialities of ethnic or religious chauvinism or any other reductive primordial frivolities.
So sad to mention however, that when we thought that our deliberate effort to unite the State was good enough and we are about charting a common front; the 2023 elections introduced a seeming crack in our body polity. Opportunistic merchants of divisive politics thought the only way to achieve political score was to hype identity politics, poison the atmosphere of positive engagement and elevate the quest for political power to the status of a matter of life and death. We ended up with a show of desperation beyond the extreme.
On this note, I must thank you, the overwhelming voters of Adamawa State, for being calm and law abiding when our State was seen as a flashpoint, where impunity and flagrant unconstitutionality was hatched to truncate not just the process of electing your leaders, but force democracy to its knees. Not only did you go out to vote during the run and rerun, you formed an electoral human shield and protected your votes. You protected your State from a deliberately provoked slide into anarchy. Today, we have peacefully reinvented ourselves and the way and manner the elections matters were resolved in the State has become a reference point in how to peacefully resist electoral brigandage with civility. For this, I owe you an eternal gratitude.
I must admonish at this point that the elections have come and gone and the people have made their choices known on whom they trust to govern them. The time then has come for the healing of our land. We must submit to the culture and norm of peaceful coexistence that Adamawa is known for. It is indeed a collective enterprise. As I said in my acceptance speech when I was declared the winner, I still extend my hands of fellowship and bond of friendship to my brothers and sisters on the other side of the political divide. I call on them to join me in building a State that we all, irrespective of political affiliations, will be proud to call our home. Nobody should be use or allow himself to be used as an agent of violent disorder. We remain the proud sons and daughters of Adamawa State, and no disruptive influences of politics should break the cords of our togetherness. We must encourage civility in our daily engagements and not throw bricks and bats at our fellow compatriots. It was the iconic former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela who once said that “It is easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build.” May our land be blessed with leaders who desire to make peace and build than seek to destroy or tear the fabric of our unity. For me, we are all winners and the task ahead is to stitch the fault lines as quickly as possible as there is a lot to be done in so short a time.
Fellow Citizens, friends and compatriots, on the same date in 2019, we had the coveted privilege to gather here for this same purpose. The fact that this venue of the Ribadu Square is looking better than the way it was in 2019 is a testament that the decision we collectively took then, and happily repeated in the months of March and April, 2023, were all not done in error. Adamawa State has moved on progressively and it shall not return to the inglorious days of backwardness.
Four years ago, when you first entrusted us with your mandate, we came in handy with the 11- Point Agenda. Thus: Security of Lives and Property, Education and Human Capital Development, Transparency and Accountability, Improved Internally Generated Revenue, Rural Infrastructure/Urban Renewal and Water Supply, Agricultural Development and Food Security, Healthcare and Human Services, Youth and Women Development, Commerce and Industry, Civil Service Reforms and Environment and Climate Change. Today, even our detractors admit that as a government, we have performed creditably well on each item on the agenda. However, considering where we are coming from, the lean resources at our disposal and the global economic crunch imposed by the various regimes of lockdowns and shut-downs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant effects on the economy, some of the items on the staple of our development plans remain a work in progress. Thus, our performance might not be exhaustive in the first term, but we are certain that it is far better than what we met on ground and indeed more promising as we commence the second term today. We shall consolidate on the gains already made on each item on the agenda. Now, more than ever before, we have a deeper and better understanding of some of these issues and would no doubt improve on our approaches and strategies to achieve better results with maximum impact. While sustaining our hold on the clutches of each item, in the second term, we shall be more deliberate and aggressive in key strategic areas that includes:
Security of lives and properties: we have invested a lot of resources in this sector and are reaping bountifully from it as Adamawa State remains one of the safest States in this part of the country. We shall continue to sustain this by investing more in building Peace, trust and harmony among the various identity groups in the State, especially among the farmers and the herders.
Education and Human Capital development: We have accorded Education the desired attention because it remains the foundation for the ultimate growth of any serious society and the fact that often times the investment yield is long term, we shall continue to accord this sector the desired attention and priority. Moving forward we shall introduce far-reaching reforms that would tie the content trajectory to the empowerment of youths and women by developing their capacity for technical skills, commerce and entrepreneurship. With increase in students’ enrolment at the basic level and improvement in our students’ performance in WAEC and NECO examinations our attention will be in consolidating the gains while also looking more at the tertiary institutions in order to position them to absorb more of our candidates that are eligible for tertiary education. I therefore call on the institutions to adjust their programs to be more functional and livelihood targeted for the graduates to be self-employed and not be looking for white-collar job upon graduation. This administration will ensure that our Secondary School leavers are henceforth IT-savvy so that they can compete favourably with their peers in the global market. We will going forward invest more in technical education and skill acquisition to prepare our youths for various livelihood ventures that abound and create enabling environment for Micro, Small and medium Enterprises in order to spur the development of industries in areas of our comparative advantage
Health and Human Services: We have performed creditably well in the health sector. While consolidating on the gains so far, even before the end of the first tenure some of our brand-new cottage hospitals have started operations. The remaining ones will soon be commissioned. To meet up with the manpower requirements, we have already commenced the process of recruiting personnel to run the hospitals. The Health Insurance Scheme, is a bold decision we have taken as a people and today, we are reaping bountifully from it. No woman delivers at home without maternity attention just because she cannot afford the bills; all our children under five and our aged ones over sixty, access free health care in the State once they present themselves to any accredited facility. Because health is wealth, the citizens should expect more investment in this sector in our second term.
Urban Renewal/ Rural Infrastructure: This is one of the highest points of our achievements. We shall sustain it and build more metropolitan and rural roads to ease urban and rural commuting and logistics and attract more investors into the State. Added to this, is the introduction of property identification. We therefore will commence in earnest street naming and house numbering in all our urban centers. This is in tandem with global best practices in modern town planning. We plan to also connect more communities to the national grid and shall equally invest in independent power supply by considering the idea of getting investors to set up a solar farm with the capacity to provide our needs and supply neighboring State.
Urban mass transportation: Having laid befitting urban road infrastructure, it is pertinent that we sanitize the transportation system by rolling out standard intracity transportation and vehicular movement plan. Government shall provide the necessary incentives to support the players in this sector. We shall also concretize our partnership with the Inland Waterways Authority to consider the dredging of River Benue and open the water routes in the State. This would serve both the transportation and reduce the effect of the perennial flood in the State.
Agriculture and food Security: We have long realized the potentials of the State in Agriculture. Beyond the provision of the necessary incentives to farmers to produce food for the population is the need to maximize the opportunities in the Agricultural values chain. By launching the ADAS Programme, Adamawa State is already on the path of incubating Agribusiness merchants and shall continue to finetune our policy of agribusiness by unlocking all affordable financing windows for the sector and providing the necessary incentives for the famers and other key industry players. Equally important is to conclude the refurbishing of our fertilizer blending plant at Damare to ease the perennial challenge of having timely and affordable fertilizer supply for our farmers. The ultimate policy objective in this sector, is to support production but more importantly encourage processing for this is where the real agricultural wealth is.
Urban Water Supply: We have recorded tremendous success in the provision of water across the State. Despite what we have achieved in this sector, water still remains a huge challenge especially in our urban centers. With a renewed mandate, we shall face this challenge head-on and ensure the issue of water supply and reticulations especially in the urban centers is addressed as a matter of priority.
Environment and Climate Change: This area is admittedly one of our lowest points. We are losing our lush vegetation at a geometric speed. Annually the arid encroachment is becoming a reality. We must key into the Sustainable Development Goals for climate change mitigation measures by initiating deliberate policies to protect our forests, plant more trees, embark on aggressive environmental hygiene campaign and reclaim encroached lands designated as dumping and recycling sites in the State.
Fellow citizens, as a government, we are conscious of the fact that it is not enough to draw up development agenda, we must draw up the right policy compass to achieve each item on the agenda. I call on citizens, friends and partners who have contributions and expertise to lend, to avail their support to us. The ultimate policy objective is to build an Adamawa State that works for all of us: a strong, resilient and prosperous subnational economy that creates jobs in a competitive world and deconstructs cleavages by harnessing the bounties of diversity for development through forging a united front.
The first term has laid the foundation for the attainment of the policy objective. We have refurbished the Skill Acquisition Centers across the State. The target is to make Adamawa State, the skills hub of the North. We have equally created institutional framework for social investment. Through the Adamawa State Poverty Alleviation and wealth Creation Agency, (PAWECA), we have started the process of pulling people out of the poverty line. The target is to empower on the minimal, 100,000 youths and women annually. This empowerment must go beyond providing stipends to trades that sustainably liberates the people from poverty. We are opening up the State for investors and making the State one of easiest and safest place for investment. We have built adequate trust and bolstered the required confidence in the people of Adamawa State to live peacefully as a united people. There is indeed nothing as precious as peaceful coexistence.
Fellow citizens, this isn’t just the time to hope; it is indeed the time to trust more. We are not just talking about what we would do, we are indeed talking about what we have done or what we have started doing. Our commitment to our age-long philosophy of No one is left behind and nothing is left untouched, remains a time-tested commitment. In the first term, we made a commitment to move Adamawa State from the ten bottom States in terms of development indices to the ten top States in the Federation, today it is safe to say, we have achieved that, with your support and available resources. Today, the commitment again, is to improve the rating by placing the State among the first five leading States in the federation. With you, this is possible.
I must not end this address without reiterating my gratitude to the electorates for believing in us. I also want to thank the international community, election monitors and observers, journalists and all Civil Society Organization for being on their toes, spicing the election with vigilance and ensuring the right things are done. I also commend the Independent electoral Commission for jealously guarding its image and mandate against all odds.
To my party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), I thank you immensely for standing by me. The task of protecting electoral victory has just begun.
I must again thank the Presidential and Governorship Campaign Council under the leadership of Bar. Awwal Tukur who was the Director General and Dr. Aliyu Idi who was the Secretary of the Council for delivering on the most successful electoral campaign.
I dedicate this day to the memory of my late parent. As humans, God has a way of keeping every being on trials. My biggest trial on the course of this journey was the loss of my parent. Few months into the tenure, I lost my father Alhaji Umaru Badami and as if that is not enough, one year after, I lost my dear mother Hajiya Fatima Umaru Badami. It’s been one trial too many. This is deep. This is truly emotional. On a day like this, my courage has failed me. I must confess, I miss them profoundly and honestly wish they were here with us. Every day, I pray for them. Today, with this crowd, perhaps larger than what they have ever seen in their entire lives, to honour their son, I beg for prayers for them. May their individual souls like many of the departed rest in eternal peace. Amin.
My sincere appreciation goes to His Excellency Atiku Abubakar (Wazirin Adamawa), whose fatherly role and support at all times have been tremendous. He has sacrificed a lot not only for Adamawa State but for democracy. Sir, thank you again and again.
Fellow citizens, as a State, in the last four years we have been through a lot. We have lost so many senior citizens who would have loved to be with us at this occasion. I must therefore not end this address without paying a glowing tribute to some of them. Namely: Alhaji Abdullahi Danburam Jada, His Excellency, Wilberforce Juta, Alhaji Ahmed Joda, Alhaji Gambo Jimeta, Dr. Mahmoud Tukur, Air Commodore Dan Suleiman and many other prominent citizens who represent the stuff Adamawa State is made of – champions of their times, pride of the State, and special gifts to Nigeria and the world.
We shall continue to honour our citizens, especially those who are handy with patriotic support whenever any issue that concerns the collective survival of the State is at stake. At this point, I want to acknowledge the support of His Excellency, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur (Tafidan Adamawa), His Excellency, Alhaji Hassan Adamu (Wakilin Adamawa), Major General H.A. Hananiya and a lot of others who demonstrated that they are truly elders when it comes to the matters of the State.
I commend Hajiya Aisha Buhari, the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari for standing beside her husband throughout the 8 years. Her tenure as the First Lady and daughter of Adamawa State has benefitted the State tremendously. As her husband exits today, I wish him all the best just as we pray, she continues to be a good support to him and a pride for Adamawa State.
One man I shall continue to appreciate is my first term deputy – Chief Crowther Seth, Nzeanzo Bachama. We have together served out the first term and I can attest to his humility, maturity and tremendous sacrifice in the service of the State. He is a gentleman per excellence and a great politician. The State and indeed the nation will continue to honour and thank him for his patriotic service.
I welcome and congratulate Professor Kaletapwa Farauta as we continue the journey of service to Adamawa State.
To the members of the Fresh Air Cabinet – Commissioners, Advisers, Aides and all those who served the State in the first term, I thank you on behalf of Adamawa State.
To friends and citizens who are here and those who are watching and praying for us at home, in the farms, in the markets, at the fishing sites, at the ranches, and wherever, I thank you so much and assure you of my indebtedness.
To my wife – Lami and my children – Faiza, Abdulhameed, Ismail and Nana Aisha; thank you for your encouragement in spite of the challenges to the fraternal bond.
Fellow citizens, from this point on, note that we collectively have a task at hand. The task of making Adamawa State GREAT as always. This task must be done. There is no time to waste.
As we depart, I wish everyone journey mercy.
Thank you and God bless.