Niger Governor Orders Stoppage Of Pro-Tinubu Rally For Being Sidelined
The Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, rallied security agencies on Tuesday to stop the presidential campaign rally that was called by Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Niger North.
Bello has been having running battles with some stakeholders of the party in the state led by Senator Abdullahi and has reportedly been sidelined by the APC presidential campaign council.
It has also been reported that the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, is also relying on Senator Abdullahi and other top party members in the state to undertake mobilisation for his election.
The Pro-Tinubu group is largely being organised by National Assembly members with Sabi and his colleagues in the House of Representatives being the leaders.
In view of the frosty relationship, the Federal lawmakers were reported to have agreed to champion the promotion of the APC presidential campaign in the state.
This led to the call for a rally on Tuesday, which was expected to be one in a series of rallies that will ensure Tinubu wins the state.
The botched rally which was called by the Senator and his colleagues in the lower house was billed to be held at the New- Bussa Township Stadium, Borgu.
It was expected to be attended by 774 Support Groups, under the leadership of the senator tagged ‘Grand Lockdown Rally’.
Abdullahi said the rally was aimed at garnering support for Tinubu and his running mate, Kashim Shettima, as well as the governorship candidate, Umar Mohammed Bago and his running mate Yakubu Garba.
Sabi, who is also the Deputy Whip of the Senate, and National Coordinator of Project 774 for Tinubu/Shettima, 2023, had through his Special Assistant (Operations), Mohammed Garba Danladi in a letter dated January 27 and addressed to the state party Chairman, Haliru Zakari Jikantoro notified the party of the planned rally.
The letter, also stated that the State Working Committee of the party was invited to the rally
But a statement in Minna on the eve of the rally signed by the publicity secretary, Musa Dan Sarkindaji, said the Chairman of the party, Haliru Zakari Jikantoro had disassociated himself from the rally, therefore must not go ahead.
The letter directed all party faithful not to honour the rally, claiming that the planned rally contravene unified campaign structure already designed and being executed by the party.
The statement said,“The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Niger State under the leadership of Haliru Zakari Jikantoro has disassociated itself from a lockdown rally organized in New Bussa, Borgu Local Government Area of the state.”
Rather, party executives, stakeholders and loyalists were urged to attend a grand zonal rally which is scheduled for Wednesday, February 2 in Bida, headquarters of Bida Local Government.
But Sabi and other stakeholders went ahead with the planned rally as officials, journalists, support groups and those gracing the rally began to arrive at the stadium only to meet heavily armed security men condoning off the stadium.
A witness at the stadium confirmed to THE WHISTLER that there were detachments of Police and soldiers, who were also supported by men of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, Civil Defence Corps and the local vigilante group taking over the venue of the rally and began to turn people away.
The security agencies and support guards were said to have arrived at the venue as early as 8a.m. for an event slated for mid-day.
A statement issued by DSP Wasiu Abiodun, Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Niger State Police Command said the police had to take action following intelligence received of a likely breach of security at the venue.
He said,“We have to do the needful to avert any possible attack or hijack by suspected miscreants to cause mayhem and breach of peace in the community.
“The Command will not fold its alms and allow acts of political violence, avoidable loss of life, destruction of properties and lawlessness,” Abiodun added.
Bello was one of the governors allegedly said to be working for the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar.
The APC has however said none of its governors was working for Atiku.