Adamawa: Garlands For Fintiri’s Fuel Subsidy Palliatives
Adamawa: Garlands For Fintiri’s Fuel Subsidy Palliatives
By: Sani Shamsuddeen
The People of Adamawa state have landed themselves a better bargain by voting Governor Ahmadu Fintiri. This is in light of the man’s people centred actions since President Tinubu’s inauguration day announcement of the end of Nigeria’s long and tortuous Subsidy fuel regime in what has been described as the president’s singular most impactful action since taking over from erstwhile president Muhammadu Buhari. The fallout from that announcement as well as other economic policies like the floating of the Naira has visited Nigerians with hardship never before witnessed in the history of the country.
While analysts and economists and commentators continue to placate Nigerians with the talks of a rosy future to come from president Tinubu’s bitter economic policies, the common Nigerian must bear the brunt of never-before-seen high food inflation, high cost of transportation, hunger in the midst of very poor healthcare, public transportation and other sundry services, all balling into a heavy fist of poverty tearing through the land.
The federal government as well as subnational governments have announced a rash of Palliatives to cushion the biting effects of that policy. 5 billion Naira non-interest loan to states and numbered trucks of grains for distribution to indigent Nigerians. But whereas Nigerians in many states have been lamenting what they call Pallia-thieves, a term used to refer to the alleged diversion of resources meant for the people by some governors and their lackeys, one governor who has taken the plight of his people very seriously is the Governor of Adamawa state, his excellency, Ahmadu Fintiri.
In a landmark move, Governor Ahmadu Fintiri procured over sixty thousand (60,000) 25kg bags of grains, mostly rice and maize. This is to be distributed to the most indigent of Adamawa citizens. The Governor made it clear that only those truly in need will benefit from the grains. This is in addition to the grains that Adamawa like all states of the federation received from the federal government. Leaving nothing to chance in ensuring that only those targeted for the initiative benefit, the state government setup a 22 man representative committee with the mandate to oversee that grains are delivered only to the most deserving residents of the state.
Earlier, the governor revealed that a reduction to the work week is been considered as a measure towards cutting down the burden of high commuting cost for the state’s civil servants and students. This is in addition to a ten thousand Naira (₦10,000) fuel subsidy palliatives extended to the state’s civil servants, a bold move considering even the Federal Government is yet to add a dime to the income of federal civil servants.
However, as plaudits as encomiums were still being poured on the governor, the State House of Assembly announced a Nine hundred and seventy four (₦974) million Naira which has been utilised towards the procurement of Maize and fertilizers that have so far been distributed to farmers in a move aimed at reducing the hardship visited on local farmers by the subsidy removal, to keep them ticking in order for them to focus on cultivating their farm lands, the only means by which the biting hardship can eventually be curtailed. Not only that, the governor has admonished them not to rush into selling off their farm produce. This may not be unconnected to the antics of middlemen who take advantage of the harvest season rush to buy grains at cheap prices only to return and sell them at outrageous prices a few months later.
Perhaps, the biggest move by the Adamawa state government of Ahmadu Fintiri is the procurement of 10 Innoson Luxurious buses at the cost of ₦1,06 Billion Naira. This is a clear statement of intent, a reiteration of the governor’s promise of mitigating the hardship faced by the people of Adamawa, a rejigging of the social contract entered with the people of the state.
The decision to procure buses, specifically by patronising Innoson motors, a local manufacturer is significant in two fronts. First, it connects deeply with calls for buying and using locally made products as the only way of shoring up the Naira against foreign currencies. Secondly, deploying those large buses has the potential to improve confidence in public transportation which ultimately leads to reduction of cars on the road. Needless to say this will ultimately bring down the rate of gas emission in the state, making the air cleaner and healthier.
Indeed, if the dividends of democracy, especially in this time of needs were to be a person, it would have been named Ahmadu Fintiri. And it is no wonder then that organised labour in the state have been left in awe of the man and that’s not a small feat to attain. With labour unions known to be more demanding than Oliver Twist, their plaudits on the actions of Governor Fintiri since poverty started prowling the land on all fours following that fated announcement to the end of the fuel subsidy regime is a testament that when government works for the people, everyone regardless of affiliations will feel the impact and appreciate the individual, any individual in the centre of it.
Fintiri’s garlands are well earned. As the Governor of Adamawa continues to set the pace for responsive governance, Nigerian in other states will be hoping that their governors will borrow the Adamawa model. It must be said that only through a high turnover of people focused programmes by state government’s will Nigeria ever turn the curve of development and sustainable growth.