GOV FINTIRI IS IN TROUBLE
For calling and threatening to jail and probably kill someone that he swore on oath to protect, Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri is receiving the punch of many Adamawa people. Williams Ayooso reviews the situation of what is now called the “Fintiri threat scandal.”
For quite some time now, the Governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri has being trying to wade off the web of blameworthiness that encircles the image of his administration, but his efforts seems to be getting stuck in the mud. Threatening a subject whom the Governor has sworn on oath to protect and guarantee the safety of his life is what most Adamawa people considered to be reprehensible.
In the telephone conversation in Hausa dialect that went viral on social media, Chairman of Adamawa State Concern Citizen, Husseini Gambo Nakura, was threatened to be dealt with. The caller, whom Nakura said is the Governor of Adamawa State, has said among other things that “zan chi mutumchin ka…” “…baa wanda ya isa ya fitar da kai.” Meaning, I will deal with you in the manner that nobody can save you.
Not sooner than the conversation started trending that forces from the Governor’s camp rolled out their arsenals to counter the trending conversation which tend to unveil the Governor as a leader that is hostile to his subjects. Director General Media and Communications, Solomon Kumangar fired the first salvo. In a release he signed and circulated to the press, Kumangar said “This report is sheer fabrication and brazen effort by social media agents of the opposition in Adamawa and an online news medium to mislead the public” He reiterated the moral and leadership values of the Governor, saying he, Fintiri, is known for his human nature and soft approach to all things and that the governor is too busy with governance to issue a threat to Nakura.
“…the governor publicly announced that his administration is open to constructive criticism, I believe the audio was doctored as this is not the first time a governor’s voice will be doctored in Adamawa…. So anything is possible in this digital age.” He stated.
While Kumangar was firing his arsenals across the front lines of media territories, Adamawa Global Trustees, said to be a human rights group, took their fight to the Judiciary.
The group in the originating summons, as reported in the media, said that the Governor did not issue a single threat in the original conversion as contained in the audio released on social media by Husseini Gambo Nakura. The group asked the Magistrate Court Grade 2 to compel Husseini Gambo Nakura to produce the original call data record CVR between him and the Governor or summon MTN to produce the original CVR. The group also asked the court to determine “whether, by the true interpretation of Section 75 and 80 of the administration of criminal justice act and the Adamawa state penal code, the defendant (Nakura) has not tempered with the original conversion between him and the governor to inciting the public and bringing the office of the governor to public odium and ridicule, among other things.
Ironically, the grounds that Adamawa Global Trustees sought to obtain in the law court were similar with the ones that Nakura was flaunting so as to consolidate his threat allegation against the Governor.
In a conversation with our reporter in his Yola apartment, Nakura insists that it was Governor Fintiri that called and threatened to either jail him or kill him.
“I have his number for about nine years back. It was on the basis of my advice to him that he called me. I told him that there are items they gave to us but we have not seen any and nobody has come out to explain to us what has happened about it. We want to know where it has gone, because he cannot tell us he did not collect from the government and looting was also going on. This is what provoked him.”
Giving details on the controversial conversation to our reporter, Nakura said:
“I had just come back from the farm, I took my Sallah prayers and sat to eat my food when I saw his call. I told my wife see, Fintiri is calling me, what should it be? I answered the call. He said Useni, I answered and said His Excellency, and he said “zan chi mutumchin ka” meaning I will deal with you. From there, I pressed my phone record and asked him what happened, he repeated the same thing. And I said, His Excellency, what is happening? He kept on repeating “zan chi mutumchin ka” baa wanda ya isa ya fitar da kai.” Meaning, I will deal with you in the manner that nobody can save you.
“I now told him that he cannot do more than taking me to prison. There is nothing he will do more than taking me to prison. Why is he raising his voice with me as if I’m his boy? As I was saying these, he now cut his call. “The call was not more than 30 second. Since the talk was coming as a threat from somebody who is my governor whom I dwelt with for over 9 years I felt it was not good for him to be threatening my life. I know he is the governor and I know how I helped him. Not once, not twice.
“If he takes me where I cannot come back, to my understanding, if it is not in prison, then it is in the grave. But if it is in prison and people did not agree with him, surely they will bring me back.” He stated.
Insisting that the conversation is not doctored as the Governor Fintiri’s camp is complaining, Nakura said that relevant telecom and security agencies should be called in so as to ascertain the authenticity of his claim.
“If they said am lying then they should call MTN, and security agencies in the state. The police commissioner is there, Director of DSS is there AID is also there all in Jimeta town. I know there is a way that MTN will detect the voices of the people in the conversation. So they should trace the voices and allow Adamawa people to judge. How will I just manipulate the Governor’s voice and be displaying to the public? What will I gain from doing that? The truth is that I have his number, I have saved the conversation I had with him and we can equally go to MTN and confirm the authenticity of all that we are saying. There is no need arguing.” He told our reporter.
This is not the first time that the Fintiri led administration is linked with a threat to life allegation. Few months into his office, an Adamawa State based media practitioner, Tom Garba, alleged that one Stephen Madua had called and threatened to slaughter him, if he writes anything against Governor Fintiri again. In the audio recorder, which is made available to NewMission Magazine, a voice threatened to deal with Tom Garba personally and physically if he writes anything good or bad on Governor Fintiri. The voice, which audaciously encouraged Tom Garba to record the conversation, swears that he must slaughter the journalist if he writes anything against the Governor.
“In your own interest, if you write anything about Fintiri, I will deal with you personally. I will deal with you physically. I will slaughter you. I swear.
“In your position as a Kaduna indigene, when the Governor brought a Muslim, Muslim ticket, what did you write?” These and among other vulgar vituperations that this medium considered unfit for publication. Tom Garba identified the caller as Stephen Madua, the Governor’s closest ally.
With these development, the seemingly depressed Journalist told our reporter that based on the threat, he is now a walking corpse as far as Adamawa State is concern.
“Psychologically, I’m not safe. As a journalist, the constitution allows you to practice everywhere. For somebody to come and link you with politics of tribal and regional hegemony then he is somehow trying to destroy your career and your life.
“It has affected me seriously because I have not been getting myself to do what I’m supposed to do. I feel distressed because it is a situation where one has been placed on a death timeline. You are more of a walking corpse and anytime the person can strike and you are gone.
“I’m sure the Governor is aware of it and I can’t report that case to the Governor because he cannot guarantee the safety of my life. He, Stephen Madua, wouldn’t have done that without the consent of the Governor.
“Even after that, nobody has called me to say they are sorry or explain to me why I was subjected to that kind of situation. All I know is that I reported to relevant security agencies, but up till today, nobody has called me to say that this is what he has done about my report” He told our reporter.
It is now an eerie situation of foreboding, which Governor Fintiri and his bosom friend, Madua, has ushered into the state’s social space. Whether their two death threats that are dangling on the heads of the two Adamawa State citizens like the sword of Damocles will be executed, is what remains to be seen.
What is in vogue now is whether or not Governor Fintiri has desecrated the moral and constitutional values of the office he occupies, by going dangerously personal with a subject that he is supposed to protect. So far, Adamawa Global Trustees (AGT) has had it case thrown out by the Magistrate court for lack of merit. The media tools that Solomon Kumangar utilized to repair the damage which the “threat scandal” caused the Governor appears ineffective. The people of Adamawa State know their Governor and his voice, hence they cannot be cajoled with sugarcoated media propaganda.
“It is surely our Governor’s voice. I like his government. But I wondered why he descended to that level. As a leader, you have to contain your emotions. What he did is very pedestrian and it’s not supposed to be like that.” Kwache Peter, business man told our reporter. Abdullahi Salisu, a telecom business mogul concurred with Peter.
“Fintiri needs to apologize to the people of Adamawa State for such a blunder. That is the best way to go. As he is the number one citizen in the state, he should also be number one in the obedience of the law. What he did was criminal intimidation and it is an offence under our laws. This is coming at a time that we are fighting terrorism, such comment with an underlining terrorist inclination is not a good development ” He said