By Mohammed Bako
The Proposed Budget of N175,019,054,060.00 for the 2023 Fiscal year presented to the Adamawa State House of Assembly by Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintri, on November 24, 2022, tagged “The 2023 Budget of Consolidation”, could be described as icing on the cake. The Governor, and his Advisers, no doubt, have demonstrated immeasurably that the overall welfare and interest of the people of Adamawa are uppermost in their minds.
Although the 2022 state’s budget of N163,629,910,040.00, for the 2022 fiscal year, was a watershed in the annals of the state. However, beyond just mentioning figures, the State Government has demonstrated that it is being propelled by a leader with a clear vision of where he is headed, which is why analyzing the performance of the 2022 budget, one will not mince words to conclude that Governor Fintiri walks his talk.
He is fully aware that the essence of governance is to improve on the quality of lives of the people, especially the rural folk. No wonder, since Governor Fintiri took over the mantle of leadership of the state in 2919, he has been strident in carrying out one people-oriented project or the other.
In order to get the job done, he made sure that members of the State Executive Council, Heads of Parastatals and Agencies, as well as his Special Advisers all, have their eyes on the ball, with the Governor as the leading striker. With the synergy he put in place in the administration of both the economic and human capital in the state, the state not only leap-frogged in terms of tangible developmental strides but that programs and projects embarked on in the state have a direct bearing on the well-being of the generality of the people. And the results are very visible for all to see.
Not only has the state greatly improved in terms of physical infrastructure and various social projects that dot the landscape of all the senatorial zones, but in particular, the landscape in Yola, the state capital is not quite appreciable, depicting a 21st Century State capital city.
For the first time, the landscape of Yola is dotted with eye-popping flyovers and several other infrastructural projects, thus turning the state capital into a huge construction site.
While doing stocktaking during the budget presentation, Governor Fintiri drew the attention of the people of the state to why they are reaping the bountiful benefits. According to him: “The 2019 election was a watershed moment in the history of Adamawa State. It marked the resolve of the people to replace pessimism with optimism;
Lethargy with energy; superficiality with substance, and desolation with vision. Today, we are at a point where by way of reflection, must admit that
the wisdom of the greater number of the electorates of Adamawa State is
indeed time-tested wisdom. Adamawa State has moved away from the inglorious era which was characterized by the ills of misgovernance, hopelessness, and lack of vision to a governance system that upholds purposefulness, courage, and vision.
Today, we have progressed the State away from the occupation of an infamous place among the last ten States with the lowest development index ranking to a top position among the ten best States in the federation”.
He added: “Upon assumption of office in 2019, we took up the task of unbundling the financial crunch and restoration of fiscal discipline. We deployed all our ingenuity and re-engineered the financial mesh of the State. This financial re-engineering was able to lessen the weight of the debt burden on our shoulders and provided us with the required oxygen to breathe and unleash our energy on other sectors.
This has reduced monthly operational charges to 40% by Ministries, Parastatals, and Agencies; which brought a significant reduction in recurrent expenditure and cost of governance,” stressing that, “this feat remains unprecedented”.
Governor Fintiri did not pretend to be a magician. He knew where the problems lie greatly and he faced the monster squarely. He was convinced beyond any iota of doubt that he needed to retouch the legislative composition prevalent then in the state if he should make any meaningful impact. In this respect, therefore, according to him, he said: “In the last three years, together, we have enacted and amended over 35 Laws to institutionalize reforms in public finances, fiscal responsibility, Local Government, procurement, taxation, revenue enhancement, teachers’ service, health insurance, poverty alleviation and wealth creation, peace and conflict resolution, environmental protection, violence against persons, legislative funds management, child welfare and protection, district creation, among others. These laws have provided the necessary comfort and legitimate sustainability framework for the life-changing reforms we are prosecuting”.
Who says that Governor Fintiri does not fully understand what laying a good foundation is all about? He left none in doubt that he appreciates what it takes to take people to enjoy a better life, as he put it. And he knows that for his people to enjoy the facilities they must do so in a peaceful environment. No wonder then, he made the security of lives and property his number one priority. According to the Governor, “Forever faithful to the timeless refrain of our governance philosophy of No one is left behind and nothing is left untouched – we are relentless in our commitment to a path of security, unity, and prosperity of our people”. No wonder, therefore, he decided to open up the rural areas through aggressive rural infrastructure campaign. In addition, he embarked on “lighting up communities by providing electricity to towns hitherto not connected to the national grid or whose facilities were destroyed especially in the insurgents’ devastated areas. We have leveraged our partnership with the Rural Access and Mobility Programme (RAMP II) supported by World Bank and constructed over 347 km of Rural roads across the State. Key among them are: Yolde Pate-New Prison to Yadim, Parda Muninga – Fufore, Kwanan yaji – Amdur, Longa Ewa – Wuro Yombe, Hong – Mujili – Kuva Gaya, Mayo Nguli – Manjaken – Salma, Numan – Bare, Shelleng – Bakta,
Toungo – Kiri, Polewire – Ndikon, Ngurore –Mayobelwa – Gongoshi. “The rural electrification project has equally reconnected communities of Michika and Madagali LGAs to the National grid after five years of darkness due to destruction by Boko Haram Insurgents. We have also connected Uba/Mishara in Hong LGA, IDP Camp Sangere/Jabbi lamba in Girei LGA, Fadama-Rake in Hong LGA, Bahuli in Mubi-North LGA.
“We have awarded contracts for the electrification of Kpasham, Bille and Dong in Demsa LGA and that of So’o and Mapeo in Jada LGA. We have made history by connecting Toungo LGA to the National Grid”.
Looking back, the Governor has no qualms saying “we have bridged the
infrastructure gap so fast that Adamawa State is emerging as one of the wonders of urban renewal in this century. This uncommon feat has earned us (all) a mark of recognition in the country and an Award of Excellence in (State) infrastructure even from the Federal Government”.
One other critical area he delved in to ensure he crystallizes the push was in Youths’ development and empowerment. On this score, he said these “have been elevated to an institutional level by creating the Ministry of Entrepreneurship
Development and an Agency of Poverty Alleviation and Wealth Creation to provide the right skills for our teaming youths and prepare them for self-reliance”. And the results are quite revealing: “So far, over 20,000 youths have been trained in various skills ranging from ICT, entrepreneurship and related trades.
The youths and women who have acquired these skills have formed cooperative societies and are making compulsory savings to run businesses at the cooperative level. This will create self-reliance, reduce dependency and stimulate the development of Micro-small and Medium Enterprises in the State”. He added: “We have also resuscitated our Technical and Vocational Skills Acquisition Centers across the State, and enrolment of trainees has commenced in some of them”.
To the oldest profession, which is agriculture, the Governor beats his chest, stressing it impacted most of the people. According to him, “agriculture presents us with the best
opportunity to attain growth, especially that the majority of our people, about 60 percent, are dependent on it. This sector has a relatively short gestation period with low capital requirements, readily available labor, abundant water resources, and the blessing of arable land,” promising to “implement a new comprehensive agriculture support programme in 2023”. Having reviewed the achievements recorded in the sector over the years, he pats himself on the chest declaring: “This programme will be cost-effective, better targeted and equitable across
It will also support the supply of quality inputs, attain diversification of crops as well as increase production and productivity. It is only right that we continue to support our small-scale farmers for the reasons that we all know. But we can do more in agriculture by promoting large-scale production for both local and export markets. The markets can employ many people at different levels of skills, create associated business opportunities, support agroindustry, support viable out-grower schemes and earn foreign exchange.
“To reduce dependence on rain-fed agriculture, which oftentimes comes with the associated risk of nature such as flooding as it happened this year, Government will continue to encourage and support irrigation farming. Through our Credit Guarantee Scheme, we will also guarantee concessional financing for irrigation equipment for small-scale
farmers,” he said.
The Governor did not forget the Fresh Air Agenda, which was the mantra he rode on to office. He remains optimistic with convincing facts that they remain the fulcrum for alleviating poverty, saying “we will empower youth and female headed households through livestock stocking and restocking as well as support for livestock infrastructure”.
Giving life to the 2023 proposed Budget of N175,019,054,060.00 for 2023 Fiscal year, made up of recurrent expenditure of 105,011,432,436.00 billion representing 60% of the total Budget and N70,007,621,624.00 billion for capital development projects, representing 40%, he promises to continue to ensure that all on-going projects, especially the ones started by his Administration, are completed to satisfy his yearnings and the aspirations of the Adamawa people.
Based on what has so far been achieved and considering the ambitious plans in the 2023 budget, there is no doubt that Governor Fintiri’s ambitions are not just high falutin but achievable. He has proved since 2019 that he has the capacity and discipline to get things done. He had turned the psyche of the Adamawa people for the better to once again embrace the industry, resilience, and hardworking they were noted for. In spite of the ravages of insecurity, Governor Fintiri has proved that a man who understands his vision and has his compass, would certainly get to his destination if he remains focused and determined. Governor Fintiri has proved he has what it takes to lead his people out of the woods and there is no doubt about that.