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Niger Guber Primaries And Matters Arising

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Last week Sunday, both APC and PDP in Niger State conducted their governorship primaries, which produced candidates for the 2019 election. ABU NMODU writes on the implications.

Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani-Bello has again been endorsed by his party men and women as members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state last Sunday affirmed him as the candidate of the party for the next year’s governorship election.
They all came out enmasse to affirm him as the party’s flag bearer for 2019 gubernatorial election in the state as he was the only aspirant of the party. 150,839 party faithful came out to affirm him as the candidate of the party .
LEADERSHIP Friday observed that party members from the 274 wards of the state trooped out in large numbers as early as 8am in their ward’s designated centres to participate in the direct primary election adopted by the party in the state for the emergence of party’s candidates for all elective offices.
The governor was also at Mustapha Comprehensive School, a polling center at Kontagora central ward, Kontagora local government area of the state for the governorship primary to vote.
At the end of the day, Governor Sani-Bello was officially announced by the chairman of the governorship primary in Niger state, Mr Lucky Imasuen, who is a former Deputy Governor of Edo state. He polled a total 150,839 votes to become the APC flag bearer for the 2019 election.
The chairman of the committee noted that the governor was the sole aspirant of the party, a situation which made it easy for the party members to conduct themselves in orderly manner throughout the conduct of the primary election.
He explained that materials were provided at each of the units as slated by the party in time and they did not encounter any challenge in the course of the process of the primary supervised by the nine –man committee.

Meanwhile on the same day, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the leading opposition party in the state, also conducted its primaries with Umar Nasko clinching the ticket of PDP with 1,972 votes out of a total 2, 809 delgates.
Nasko was the flag bearer of PDP in 2015 election and with his emergence again as the flag bearer of PDP for 2019, it will be a re-match of the last governorship election in the state with all eyes on the two candidates.
Nasko unlike Governor Bello emerged through indirect primary by defeating four other contestants including the former Nigeria’s Ambassador to South Africa who resigned and defected to PDP recently to contest the election, Hon Ahmed Musa Ibeto, who scored 516 votes; Hannafi Sudan got 157 votes, Aminu Baka got 110 votes and Umar Ahmad Dogon Koli received 24 votes with only 2 voided votes.

The implication is that the rematch of the 2015 is likely to play out with the governor being in power having more responsibilities to be judged by his stewardship unlike in 2015 that the Nasko’s PDP was the one at the receiving end based on their stewardship.
But to the governor in a statement released after being confirmed as the flag bearer of his party t “It is very comforting when your people have confidence in you, when they support you, when they overwhelming endorse you. In politics this is what you need and I really appreciate the gesture.
“Their action has further humbled me and I am propelled to do more in the years to come. By 2019 our administration will continue the good works we started” he exhumed confidence .
The governor then assured party faithfuls and people of the state of his resolve to be more committed to the actualization of the restoration agenda of his administration, which he said has been on course adding that a second term ticket would enable him to consolidate and take the state to greater heights.
According to him “It has been tough in the years past but there are still a lot of work to be done. We may have not been able you cover all sectors, this time we are determined to cover more grounds and ensure full actualization of our set goals come 2019,” the governor assured the people of the state.
The Chairman of All Progressive Congress Niger state Eng Mohammed Jibrin Imam who lauded the effort of his party men in ensuring that the primaries were hitch free in the state so far said that with the development so far it means that the party is naturally ahead.
According to him “ if the Governor scored over 150, 0000 what it means is that the Governor has an assured 150,000 votes even before the election and he is naturally ahead of his opponents with the numbers of votes”.

The party Chairman reiterated that the difference between the All Progressive congress in Niger state and other political parties is that the party structure did not stop at the ward levels but the party has structures down to the poling units.
He explained that for every polling unit in Niger state the party has 10 official thereby making tit easier for the party to easily mobilize support at that level that is mostly needed .
The PDP in the other hand has been unusually quiet since the outcome of the indirect primaries was announced most political observers in the state were thinking the outcome of the primaries would go the way of the former Deputy Governor and ambassador Hon Ahmed Ibeto.
The assumption is that he has a very huge political influence in the party despite the fact that he left in 2015 and came back in 2018 to contest for the tict of the party, he was said to have the support of the party’s executives in the state.
Whether the support really mattered or not it obviously translated into 516 delegates vote making people wondering and took many of Ibeto’s supporters aback because most gave it to Ibeto to pick even as it was rumored that his former Boss Dr Muazu Babangida Aliyu was not in his support.
The translation of the outcome of the primary is that Nasko’s popularity in the party is significant even with the advantages he has with Dr Aliyu stand against Ibeto, and the jettisoning of his preferred aspirant before now, Aminu Baka because of the pressure on him to abide by the zoning arrangement in the state.



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