***I don’t know why force and power were unleashed on my efforts for the party, but I took it in good faith and leave it to God, Deputy Senate Whip
By Henry Umoru
CRISIS rocking the Niger State Chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC deepened yesterday as Security Operatives blocked the New Bussa Township Stadium, Borgu local government area of the state, venue for a grand lockdown rally for the APC Presidential and governorship candidates including their running mates slated to hold at New- Bussa Township Stadium.
The Police, Soldiers, men of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Civil Defence Corps and the local Vigilante were yesterday deployed to the New Bussa Stadium venue of the planned rally as early 7 am in the morning for an event slated to hold from 11 am to 2 pm.
The Army came in two loaded pick- up Van’s while the Policemen were dispatched from the State Headquarters to join their colleagues in New Bussa to ensure that no one was allowed into the already arranged venue with chairs and tables.
Journalists, invited guests and Supporters who came for the rally were turned back by the police operatives citing order from above.
The closure of the Stadium came barely twenty-four hours after the Commissioning of the rehabilitated New- Bussa Township Stadium, Borgu, Niger State by the deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, APC, Niger North who rehabilitated the said Stadium.
Vanguard gathered that the order for the closure may not be unconnected with the political fight between the Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello and the Deputy Whip of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, APC, North, just as the governor has gotten the Senatorial ticket to replace the Sabi Abdullahi.
It will be recalled that the relationship between the Governor and Sabi Abdullahi went sour since the former showed interest in the latter’s seat at the National Assembly.
It was learnt that the state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, who is the leader of the party in the state had instructed the party to stay away from the planned rally, just as was revealed that the Governor was angry because his picture was not in the programme booklet despite being the Senatorial Candidate of the party in the zone.
Despite the closure of the Stadium by Security Agencies yesterday, supporters of the All Progressives Congress Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu trooped out to the streets of New- Bussa, headquarters of the Borgu Local Government Area of Niger State to galvanise support for the ambition of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, his running mate, Senate Kashim Shettima as well as the governorship candidate, Hon. Umar Mohammed Bago and his running mate comrade Yakubu Garba.
The crowd however converged on the family house of Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, who coordinated the programme under the auspices of Project 774 For Tinubu/Shettima 2023.
The Senator and his Supporters went round New Bussa town singing songs for Asiwaju, the Jagaban Borgu; Shettima, Bago and others, just as the Borgu Kingdom lockdown for Tinubu and Shettima was in memory of late Emir of Borgu, Senator Haliru Dantoro Kitoro111.
A Support Group, 774 under the leadership of the senator representing Niger North Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi had planned a “Grand Luckdown Rally” for the Presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima as well as the governorship candidate, Hon. Umar Mohammed Bago and his running mate comrade Yakubu Garba billed to hold at the New Bussa township stadium today Tuesday to mobilize supporters for the candidates.
The Deputy Whip of the Senate, who is also the National Coordinator, Project 774 for Tinubu/Shettima, 2023, had through his Special Assistant (operations), Hon. Mohammed Garba Danladi in a letter dated 27/01/2023 and addressed to the state Party Chairman, Hon. Haliru Zakari Jikantoro notified the party of the planned rally.
Senator Sabi in the letter also stated that the State Working Committee of the party was invited to the Grand Lockdown Rally for the Candidates and their running mates on the need to galvanize support and positively enhance the party’s chances at the polls.
The letter read in part: I am directed to invite you and your exco to the Grand Lockdown Rally in honor of Jagaban Borgu and Kashim Shettima, our party Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates, Hon. Mohammed Bago, with Comrade Yakubu Garba as Gubernatorial and Deputy Governorship Candidates for Niger state in the 2023 General Elections.
“In view of the need to galvanize support and positively enhance the chances of our party in the forthcoming elections, we wish to solicit and count on your unflinching support towards the success of the rally..”
But the State Working Committee of the party in a statement in Minna on Monday by the publicity secretary, Mallam Musa Dan Sarkindaji, a copy which was made available to Daily Sun, said the Chairman of the party, Hon Haliru Zakari Jikantoro has disassociated itself from the rally.
The four-paragraph statement, titled “Niger APC Disassociated Herself From Lockdown Rally in Borgu” and signed by the publicity secretary also directed all party faithful not to honour and attend the such rally, claiming that the planned rally contravene unified campaign structure as designed by the party.
According to the statement, “The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Niger State under the leadership of Hon Haliru Zakari Jikantoro has disassociated itself from lockdown rally organized in New Bussa, Borgu Local Government Area of the State.
“The party wishes to draw the attention of all party faithful not to honour and attend the such rally as it contravenes with unified campaign structure as designed by the party”.
The Party instead urged its Executives, stakeholders and party loyalists to attend the grand zonal rally which is scheduled for Wednesday 2nd of February, 2023 Bida, headquarters of Bida local government.
However no reason was given for the action of the party, but it was gathered that the state governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, who is the leader of the party in the state had instructed the party to stay away from the planned rally, confirmed of the Cold War between him and the senator, the organizer of the rally.
However, DSP Wasiu Abiodun PPRO, Niger state police command said in a reaction that the Police had to take over the venue of the planned rally, as a proactive measure due to intelligence received of a likely breach of security at the venue.
“Hence, 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.”
Speaking with Journalists after the rally around town instead of holding it at the Stadium, Senator Sabi Abdullahi who described the event as colourful and an opportunity to speak with his people to vote for Tinubu and other APC candidates, said, “I have no explanation as to why force and power were unleashed on my efforts for the party but I took it in good faith and leave it to God.
“What we have done today has laid to rest any doubt as to whether I am leaving the party or not. By the Grace of God, we will vote for all APC candidates in the coming elections.”
Reacting to the police claim on a likely security breach at the venue, Senator Abdullahi said: “If there was going to be any security breach, I think the method we adopted today would have aided the breach if there would be any. What we saw today is love for me. I have addressed them to support all APC candidates, including in Niger North senatorial district and they all agreed.”
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