From Grace to Grass: How Umar Fintiri May Emerge the Biggest Loser in Adamawa Politics
Following a court judgement that nullified his resignation as deputy governor o Adamawa State that paved way for the the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Ahmadu Umar Fintiri to assume to position of governor in an acting capacity, Bala Ngilari, the former Deputy Governor under the administration of then-Governor Murtala Nyako, was sworn in few hours after as the substantive governor of Adamwa State.
Ngilari had resigned in controversial circumstances minutes before Nyako’s impeachment in July, but he later challenged the resignation in court saying he was made to submit the letter to the Speaker of the House of Assembly instead of to the governor as provided by the constitution. The court yesterday ruled in his favour, saying Ngilari did not resign from office as deputy governor in line with section 306 (1) (2) and (5) of the 1999 Constitution as amended. It said with Nyako’s removal, Ngilari should step in.
Last-minute attempts by Fintiri to hold on to power as acting governor by saying he would appeal the judgment of the Abuja Federal High Court did not see the light of day as Ngilari eventually took over the reins of power few hours after the court judgment.
With the court judgment and the ascending of the seat of power by Ngilari, the political calculus in Adamawa state, particularly in the PDP has now changed and it seems Umar Fintiri would emerge the biggest loser.
First, Fintiri has lost his chance to serve as substantive governor, at least for now.
The PDP candidacy he has obtained for the by-election is also gone, and he is not certain of retaining it in the November governorship primaries for the 2015 election. He had already given an undertaking not to go for the ticket in November, but that was on the understanding that he would run in the now suspended by-poll.
Another issue that may arise in the PDP is that other gubernatorial aspirants who contested with Fintiri in last month’s primaries are likely to also come back for the November primaries, even though they reportedly agreed not to participate.
In APC, there may be agitations for new governorship primaries since the nomination of Senator Jibrilla Bindo was meant for Saturday’s by-election.
But what seems to be the biggest change in the political calculation is that Fintiri may lost the chance of retaining his seat at the House of Assembly as the speaker.
Fintiri spearheaded the impeachment of the then governor Murtala Nyako, played a fast one on the Deputy Governor, Bala Nhgilari by getting his to sign a letter of resignation, all so he would emerge the acting governor.
Yes, he achieved all that, but with the recent development, he might lose even the chance of returning to the status quo as the speaker of the House.
Since both Ngilari and Fintiri are from Madagali Local Area of Adamawa North, it would be against the principle of federal character for Fintiri to return to the post of speaker.
With the swearing in of Ngilari as governor, Fintiri will return to his substantive post of speaker, subject to his acceptance by the state lawmakers.
If the House of Assembly members do not want him back, especially considering that his return would be against the principle of federal character, which is their sole discretion, they will have to impeach and replace him with another speaker.
Unless Fintiri gets the blessing of the House members, his case will be one of falling from grace to grass.
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