Our Government House correspondent, George Nuhu Daniya, gives a blow-by-blow account of the second term re-election campaign efforts of the Governor of Niger State, Alh (Dr) AbubakarSani Bello. Enjoy:

Supreme-Court-Affirms-Bello-As-Niger-Governor-Dismisses-Babangidas-Appeal

Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello

The campaign for the re-election of Gov Abubakar Sani Bello as the governor of Niger State for the second term was flagged off January 12, 2019 by the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo at the Minna Trade Fair Complex, Shango, Minna. The governor is again running on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to build on his present foundational work in social and economic engineering in the state.

On February 21, the campaign train of Mr. Governor hit the ancient city of Bida; it was their first port of call, and when he arrived the town, the governor proceeded straight to the Bida Waterworks to see for himself the turn-around work that has taken place to revamp the waterworks, from which the inhabitants of Bida have started drinking pipe-borne water. Although it was a campaign visit, it afforded the governor the opportunity to perform his oversight work as the CEO of the state. But as was usual with him, deriving from his parental training and inestimable reverence of traditional rulers and elders, Governor Bello first paid a courtesy call at Wadata Palace to pay homage to the Etsu Nupe, HRH Alh. Yahaya Abubakar, and seek his fatherly blessings and advice. As it became customary, in every local government he went, he made it mandatory to call on the traditional rulers’ palace first, before mounting the campaign dais. At the Wadata Palace, he assured the emir that the revamping of the water sector would be completed, promising that reticulation would be given attention due to the expansion of the town, where new outlying layouts have sprung up. He further stressed that tackling the developmental challenges of Bida town occupies a prominent spot in his mind, which he would pursue if given the mandate again.

After paying homage to the emir, Gov Bello left for the Aliyu Ndayako Memorial Stadium in the town to address the mammoth crowd that had patiently waited for him from morning. Addressing them, the governor told the supporters and loyalists of APC, in the Niger South Senatorial District (Zone A), that the main opposition, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), was campaigning with deceit and falsehood that it would only do one term, if elected into the executive office in the state. The PDP, you will recall, had been vanquished from power in the state by the APC in 2015, after 16 years of unbroken rule. The candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Mohammed Nasko, also comes from the same political region as the incumbent governor, which, in Nigeria’s political logic, is entitled to a second inalienable term in office. Alhaji Umar Muhammed Nasko had been campaigning on the plank that he would do one term only, to complete the double terms the incumbent tenant in Minna Govt House is entitled to enjoy. A curious logic: the PDP completing the APC tenure. But Governor Bello, speaking in Bida, warned the people to regard this as a as a ruse and red herring to gain power and truncate the smooth transition of power to Zone A political bloc.

He said that there was the need for the people to re-elect him, because it will ensure continuity, promising that with the way that power rotation was structured in the state, power was shifting to Zone A in 2023 at the conclusion of his tenure. He, therefore, canvassed the need for them to vote the APC at all levels. He said come 2023, if re-elected, he will hand-over power to any candidate of Zone A that emerges as the governor of the state, describing one-term only tenure campaign slogan of the PDP as a deceit.

During the event, a group, known as Alliance for Nasko, a campaign group for Umar Mohammed Nasko, the PDP gubernatorial candidate, decamped to the APC and metamorphosed to Alliance for Lolo; it is a group with co-coordinators in the 25 local government areas in the state. No fewer than 50 of its members joined the APC and were received by the state APC state chairman, Engr. Jibril Mohammed Imam. The governor also received some notable stalwarts of PDP in Bida, who defected to the APC, among them were Gen Mohammed Gana, Alh Dalhatu Makama, Hon Sadiq Umar, and Alh Yahaya Dangana. At the occasion, the governor declared that “Politics is not a fight, but a fair game,” a slogan of his campaign first rendered in a Hausa song, “siyasabafadaba ne, wasana.” This has become the catchphrase, the frequent anthem of APC supporters.

KATCHA/AGIE/LAPAI

The next day, the gubernatorial campaign team moved next to three local government areas, namely Katcha, Agaie, and Bida.

The Katcha community had come out in their large numbers at Badeggi to welcome the governor to their community; from there, they drove to Katcha town, the headquarters of the local government, where a large number of supporters were also waiting to hear the governor. Gov Bello went straight to the palace of the district head of Katcha, Alh Baba Adamu, to thank him, especially because when they came to him in 2015 to seek election his people listened to them, even though they were not in power then. He said that they were in Katcha to seek their mandate again as well as their advice.

At the venue of the rally, top politicians from the local government were on hand to demonstrate their support to the governor’s re-election bid; chief amongst them was the former commissioner of works who had served in Gov Bello’s first cabinet, Hon Abdulmalik Cheche. The Director-General of Abubakar Sani Bello Re–election Campaign Organization, Alh Yusuf Suleiman, urged the people to vote all candidates of the APC at all levels to ensure good governance. The state APC chairman, Engr Imam, urged APC supporters to turn out en masse on election days, pick out the APC logo, the broom, and vote for all candidates of the party. He charged officials of the party to move the campaigns to their various units. The chairman also received high-profile decampees from the PDP into the APC family.  Governor Bello said he was overwhelmed with the support and love showed him by the people of Katcha, promising them that he will continue to push to ensure that the ongoing Federal Government road project passing through Bida-Katcha-Agaie to Baro Port would be completed.

The campaign, with a huge success in Katcha, moved to Agaie. The road project of the FG was ongoing, proving that the Baro Port Project commissioning by Mr. President is worth it.

At the Palace of the Emir of Agaie, HRH Alh Yusuf Nuhu, Gov Bello once again said he was in the palace to receive royal blessings and support for his re-election bid, come March 2, 2019. He said that the entire community of Agaie was supportive in 2015 and hopeful that they will surpass what they did.He told the emir and his council members that they met a lot of problems when they came onboard, especially in the education sector, health sector, and other sectors.

On education sector, the governor said that his administration was bent on redeeming it and returningit to her lost glory. He said one of the key initiatives of the administration to achieve that was the establishment of the Teacher’s Development Institutes in the three senatorial zones in the state – Munya, Agwara, and Agaie. He said the aim of the teachers’ institute was to enhance and improve teachers’ teaching skills as well as service delivery, observing that education is the bedrock of any meaningful development. He said it is on record that the pioneer teachers institute in Munya was already operational.

The Emir of Agaie applauded Gov Bello for the role he played to ensure that Baro Port was a reality, adding that Agaie community was happy to see that the teachers’ institute was established in his domain. He also appealed to the governor to assist in the area of the welfare of the district heads, saying that the administration of Engr. Abbdlhhadir A. Kure was the last to have enhanced the welfare of district heads by providing them with vehicles. He appealed to Gov Bello to replicate such gesture.

The emir also appealed to the governor to address the water challenges facing the town, saying that the water project in the town, which was 80 per cent completed, has been abandoned. He also asked the governor to help in fixing their major roads.

GBAKO/LAVUN

Going through Wushishi, the gubernatorial campaign team arrived Lemu, headquarters of Gbako Local Government Area. The governor went straight to the palace of the district head of Lemu, Alh Abdul-azeez Sonfa dako Bello, where he sought for votes, advice, and prayers. He told the traditional ruler and his council members that some top politicians were behind the unrest in the local government, in pursuit of their personal motives. He then called on the district head to wade into the matter and settle the issues, warning that with the power conferred on him by the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, he will not hesitate to deal with anyone fomenting trouble in any part of the state. He charged those in key political positions in the present administration to resolve their issues amicably and move the local government to the next level.

At the rally, Gov Bello admonished the youths to desist from allowing themselves to be used as instruments for causing conflicts and mayhems, urging them to conduct the election in a peaceful and violent free.He said that some projects have been started in the LGA, adding that voting the APC will ensure continuity and conclusion of the projects.

Lavun Local Government was the next port of call by Gov Bello. At Kutigi, headquarters of the LG the governor urged the youths not to turn politics into a battle but a friendly contest.He urged the youths to all come out with their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVC’s) to vote for all candidates of the APC at all levels.

Earlier on, the governor visited the Ezonuwa of Kutigi to solicit for support and prayers in the forthcoming general elections.

EDATI/MOKWA

On Monday, January 27, the campaign team was in Edati and Mokwa Local Governments Areas; as was expected, they were received by a large crowd. Mokwa witnessed one of the largest. The deputy governor, Alh Ahmed Mohammed Ketso, son of Mokwa, was truly home to his people, received by a tumultuous crowd eagerly showing their support and solidarity to one of their own. At Enagi, Hajiya Ramatu Yar’adua’s influence was all too clear; she had attracted a large, ecstatic crowd. Governor Bello told the crowd in the two local governments that voting the APC will restore the lost glory of the country, especially with the work that they have started since 2015. According to him, it would be a grave mistake not to vote APC, because there was the likelihood that the ongoing projects that they have started would be abandoned by another party taking over from them.

Earlier, at the palaces of the Biman Enagi, Alh. Suleiman Ahmed, and the Ndalile of Mokwa, Alh. Mohammed Shaba Aliyu, royal blessings and prayers were offered for the success of the forthcoming elections. The governor commissioned a 7.5 MVA injection sub-station in Mokwa, the headquarters of Mokwa Local Government Area.

KONTAGORA

With the successful completion of Zone A campaigns, it was the turn of Zone C, and Kontagora, the home of Gov Bello, was the first port of call for the flag-off of the campaign in the zone.

It was, indeed, a home-coming for the governor; the people of Kontagora really showed that their own has come home and that they were proud of his ambassadorial work. The crowd was beyond description.

Governor Bello said that the People Democratic Party (PDP) has become extinct; even Kontagora particularly, he said the party was dead and buried. He said there was no more opposition in the town. He said that voting the PDP was a waste of time, a waste of effort, a colossal waste of vote. He urged the people of Kontagora not to waste their precious votes by voting them. No fewer than 117 people decamped from the PDP to join the ruling APC in Kontagora. He said that APC members were obedient, and urged them not to engage themselves inany act of lawlessness before, during, and after the election. He charged his people to conduct themselves peacefully.

Earlier on, the state APC Chairman, Engr. Jibrin Imam, appreciated the mammoth gathering for their patience, waiting for them from early morning till their arrival. He acknowledged that the Zone C has a huge voter population, and they would count and believe that those votes have been secured for the APC.

The governor had earlier paid homage to the Sarkin Sudan of Kontagora, HRH Alh. Saidu Namaska, who was represented by the Madawakin Kontagora, Alh. Aminu Ahmad. He prayed for sound health for the emir and thanked the people of the emirate for the overwhelming support and reception accorded to him. According to the governor, voting for the APC will lead to a better state and continuity in its laudable programmes.

The Madawakin Kontagora acknowledges the numerous projects that have been carried out as well as the ongoing ones, saying that they have witnessed roads constructions and schools renovation, amongst others. He appreciated the governor for providing succor to victims of last year’s flood disaster in the zone.

RIJAU/MAGAMA

After a very long trip to Rijau, Governor Bello and his campaign team arrived Riau, headquarters of the local government, and were given a rousing reception. They then went straight to the palace of the district head of Rijau, Alh Mohammed Bello Gidiya, who was represented by the District Head of Darangi, Alh Garba Mohammed. The governor told the monarch that president Muhammadu Buhari was resolved to fight corruption and leakages in the system, which have held development hostage in the country, and as such, he should be re-elected. He added that Rijau has benefitted from the revamping of the education sector, while the General Hospital, Rijau, will be renovated.

During the rally, the governor said that 13 schools were being renovated in the LGA, with some of them completed and others ongoing. He charged parents to send their wards to schools, especially the girl-child.

Nasko is the headquarters of Magama Local Government Area and the country home of Alh Umar Mohammed Nasko, the PDP gubernatorial candidate, major opposition, to the APC, and to the utter surprise of many, Gov Bello was well received by a large turnout of people. The governor told the district head that he was in Nasko to seek their votes and needed his royal blessings. The District Head, Alh. Hussaini Nasko, said that both Gov Bello and Umar Nasko were his children and wished them success in their quest, saying that a victory for any of them was a homecoming again. He enjoined them not to allow politics to divide them.

He prayed that God grant the governor his heart desires and that if he was re-elected, may God give him the grace to repair the Nasko road.

Governor Bello acknowledged the huge gathering and described it as a sign of victory to them.

MARIGA

In Kampani Bobi, the people of Mariga came out in great number to receive Mr. Governor. The KampaniBobi – Bangi RAMP Road project could be one of the reasons why the governor received such massive support his re-election. The road had been a nightmare, until the governor’s partnership with the World Bank project led to the provision of the rural access road.  It was a show of overwhelming love and gratitude in Bangi, the headquarters of the LGA, which has just been connected to national electricity grid since it was created as LGA. The governor said that over 50 projects, some already completed, others ongoing are in the LG.

MASHEGU

The turnout was massive, and, overjoyed, Gov Bello urged the electorate to double the votes of 2015.He said 73 projects have been executed here and there in the local government and told the gathering that he has faith in them to give him their full support.

The governor and his campaign entourage have earlier paid a visit to the district head’s palace to seek royal blessings.

AGWARA/BORGU

Late into the night on the February 1,GovAbubakarSani Bello’s campaign team arrived New Bussa, headquarters of the LGA en route to Agwara LGA. Arriving Agwara next morning, the palace of the district head had been filled to capacity to welcome Mr. Governor, who identified power and road as the major challenges of the people there. He promised that electricity will soon get to them and be extended to Roffia.

He commended the local government chairman for maintaining the road, which is a Federal Government road, promising to join forces with him on the road maintenance.

The venue of the rally was filled to the brim; the governor told them that 31 projects have been carried while some others were ongoing, hence the need to re-elect him and others for continuity.

Earlier, the District Head of Agwara, Alh. Alhassan Zakari, said that the kingdom has progressed tremendously since the coming of the administration in 2015.He said electricity was a major challenge to the people of the area, including the provision of access roads as well as the establishment of a general hospital in the area.

As a show of support, the community of Wawa, in Borgu local Government, trooped to the roadsides to welcome the governor.

While in Borgu Local Government Area, the first function of Mr. Governor was to commission the Borgu Local Government Education Authority office; he then proceeded to the palace of Mai Borgu for royal blessings.

The supporters of APC all gathered at the rally ground, with the governor charging them to vote and behave in a well-manned way and resist anything that will disrupt the elections. The governor said he was overjoyed at the sight of the gigantic crowd that welcomed him, expressing optimism that they will win the election.

WUSHISHI/RAFI

Wushishi was the last local government where the campaign in Zone C took place. Like in Kontagora, it was another homecoming for the governor as the town has close affinity historically and culturally with Kontagora. Here they treated as son of the soil. He was welcomed right from Zungeru, 15 kms away, by a profound number. Wushishi, the local government headquarters, was ready and agog to show their support to the governor.

The District head of Wushishi, Alh Ibrahim Shehu Abubakar, expressed happiness with the love that the governor has shown them, the type they had not seen in the past 20 years. He said they were happy with the provision of electricity in Zungeruas well as the construction of the ongoing Zungeru road. Prayers were offered for the success of the governor’s quest.

At the venue of the rally, the governor thanked the people for the show of love, urging them to vote all the candidates of the APC during the election.

Rafi was the first local government in Zone B where the campaign took-off. Kagara, the local government headquarters, stood still for the visit. It was one of the most attended campaigns. The local government was ready to, indeed, receive the governor who they said identified with them through numerous projects, such as the construction of roads in Kagara town and Tegina, among others.

Governor Bello could not hide his excitement on seeing such a crowd, and he got a relief that Rafi’s votes were APC-assured, urging them to vote APC candidates.

At the palace of the Emir of Kagara, Alh Salihu Tanko, the governor said that he enjoys cordial relationship with Rafi LG, promising to continue to dohis best to the people and the local government. The governor added that everything has been done to ensure the end of criminality, such as banditry and kidnappings rampant in the area.

During the Rafi campaigns, the governor commissioned the Kundu Fish Modern Market and laid the foundation for the construction of Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University (IBBU) Study Centre in Tegina.

The emir called for prayers towards the success of the polls.

BOSSO/CHANCHAGA

The campaign of Governor Bello was at the heart of Minna on Thursday as Bosso and the supporters of the APC massively came out to receive their candidates. Here, Alh Abubakar Bawa Bwari, a minister with the Federal Government, joined the campaign train.

At Maikunkele, the District Head, Alh. Suleiman Abdullahi Dada, received the governor, thanking him for fulfilling his promise to provide water to the inhabitants of the area. Now, he said, the people have access to pipe-borne water. He, however, said that they were left behind in terms of infrastructural development and need an additional transformer. The governor promised to renovate the township roads.

Impressed with the love and support shown him, Gov Bello even interacted with youths at the Baban Dabo Football Field ground in Maikunkele, venue of the campaign stop, and told them to conduct themselves well and avoid violence during the polls.

The governor with his campaign team observed their Jummat prayers in Bosso Town.

To gain entry to the Emir’s palace in Minna took the intervention of security men, who cleared the road for passage. The crowd was simply massive. Gov Bello, at the palace, said that about 131 projects have been carried out in the local government, explaining that some of these projects have been ongoing in the past three years amidst the scarcity of resources.

He appreciated the support that the Emir of Minna, Alh. Umaru Faruq Bahago, has been offering him since he came to office. He assured that, if re-elected, he will continue to support the traditional institutions. The emir advised key advisers to governor to be truthful and desist from hypocrisy and back-biting the governor.

Every space at the Bako Kontagora Memorial Stadium, Minna, venue of the campaign, was taken up by supporters and admirers of the governor. He pleaded with the people of Chanchaga to vote overwhelmingly the candidates of APC, starting from Mr President to the members of the state house of assembly.

Yesterday, the campaign train was in Munya and Shiroro, and it is expected to be in Paikoro and Gurara today and round up tomorrow, in Suleja and Tafa LGAs.

TAURARUWA