By Julius Toba
Since its inception in the 90’s, precisely on August 27th, 1991 when then military regime of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida took a bold step of carving out the present Adamawa State out of Old Gongola, splitting it into Taraba and Adamawa States; Adamawa has not been lucky with efficient political leadership. This stands it out negatively in the comity of nine states among which were created same day. At the last count, Adamawa’s affairs had been piloted by ten different administrations headed either by military administrators or elected governors. Yet, there’s is little or nothing to show for it. Within this period, the plights of Adamawa citizenry have been left to degenerate from wants to total lack. This happens albeit in the midst of plenty untapped resources.
From history, two things have always been trademarks of these regimes, it was either they were truncated abruptly or the occupant of the seat of power at a particular time was not prepared for the onerous task of a governor. Therefore throwing up mere political opportunists and winner-take-all kind of politicians to be in charge has been the case. In some cases, it has also been noticed that visions to take the state out of its current economic woods is evidently lacking while in other instances; the governor becomes answerable not to the people but to a few godfathers and political demi-gods.
As a result, despite being one of the oldest in the offspring states that emerged from the defunct North/Eastern region of 1967, Adamawa, due to deficiency in the crop of its past and present leaders could hardly compete with smaller states like Gombe, Taraba and Bauchi even within same region. This is in the areas of infrastructures, business opportunities and human capital developments to mention a few. Is it not an irony that such a fate is befalling a state that has produced virtually all big political office holders in the country? Most recent of these positions were held on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, an advantage position for such leaders if they were to annex such for the interest Adamawa and its people.
But it has always been a case of a barber’s son carrying a bushy hair. Such has befallen a state that also has produced notable sons daughters who are doing well in their various professions and callings. Some of these individuals have decided to take up the challenge of liberating their people. A people who they are compassionate about, having suffered untold neglect under successive governments since 1991.
In this category of these concerned citizens of Adamawa is Dr Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Modibbo. Due to his political consciousness and constant touch with his roots in Yola; Modibbo is always at home with their yearning. Giving listening ears and helping where necessary. Not even his busy schedule as a young lecturer in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in those days could deter him. At ABU, it is on records how Modibbo used his position as Dean Faculty of Arts/Social Sciences to encourage youngsters in his rural Adamawa communities to embrace education. At the time, he personally embarked on scouting for admission opportunities for them not only in ABU but in other universities around the world where he has network of friends and contemporaries.
A few years later, his eventual journey to head federal government institutions like Nigeria Teachers Institute, (NTI) and Universal Basic Education Commission, (UBEC) further opened his eyes to peculiar challenges setting back education in some states of the federation. Since Adamawa his home state is not left out, Modibbo paved the way for its education sector to benefit from the gains of these offices. He designed a special monitoring mechanism to see full implementation of these policies in Adamawa. All these were done within the ambit of the law and regulations establishing both NTI and UBEC.
Unlike those who had overseen affairs of Adamawa by accident of events, it will not be out of place to say that Modibbo had laid the foundation for his current governorship ambition years back. He was part of the generation of Nigerians who midwifed the birth of PDP in 1998. For two nights devoid of sleep, Modibbo joined notable Nigerians to brainstorm over formation of what has metamorphosed into the largest political party in Africa today.
Though the race towards Oct. 11, 2014 governorship by-election in Adamawa has shown jokers and true contenders, yet Modibbo still holds his place as a politician of repute. His moral and financial supports to PDP in the last seventeen years are endless, another indication of his commitment as a thorough party man. I still doubt if any of the fourteen aspirants jostling for this job on the same party can match him on this stride. Not from a family of political novices in Adamawa, since Hajia Aishatu Dahiru Binani Ahmed, Modibbo’s wife is currently an elected member of the 7th House of Representatives on the platform from PDP. She represents people of Yola North/Yola South federal constituency. This constituency which is domiciled in the heart of Yola metropolis has been adjudged as the best represented in terms of constituency projects and empowerment programs.
In a state where professional politicians, retired top military brass, accomplished businessmen and others have failed; will it be too much to give a chance to a technocrat educationist and the reformer in Modibbo? A tested and trusted hand in public services spanning thirty five years will surely bring his wealth of experiences to rescue Adamawa. This is more important as lack of qualitative education has been identified as bane of human productivity in Nigeria. No doubt, affordable and qualitative education under Modibbo’s governorship will mark a departure from what it used to be in the past. For him, becoming next governor of Adamawa is like coming to the rescue of his people now that is most needed. He does not see it as an avenue to amass wealth or make a name. But a mere privilege to leave a legacy of better life and social promotion for the people, through judicious use of state’s commonwealth.
The clarion call here is to all well meaning sons and daughters of Adamawa state, both Christians, Muslims, Fulani, Kilba, Hausa, Margi, Chamba, Mbula, Bata, Vere, Higgi, Bachama and other residents who will all form the voting population in Adamawa on October 11, 2014 to see reasons why a round peg must be put in the round hole. Modibbo can be the answer to all teething problems facing Adamawa today going by his antecedents. In order that our yet unborn children will be proud of us long after our departure here on earth.
Julius Toba, Media Assistant to Dr Ahmed Mohammed Modibbo, writes from Abuja