The Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Bello, says he rejected all requests for him to interfere in the All Progressives Congress (APC) primary election that produced his party’s governorship candidate.
Mr Bello, who will complete his second term on 29 May, stated this on Tuesday in Abuja during a fundraising dinner for Umar Bago, the APC governorship candidate in Niger State.
Mr Bago, a member of the House of Representatives, defeated Mohammed Malagi, the publisher of Blueprint newspaper, the incumbent deputy governor, Mohammed Ketso, and others.
While canvassing support for the candidate, Mr Bello said he deliberately refused to interfere in the primary as against the usual practice of incumbents handpicking a successor.
“I deliberately refused to get involved in the primaries even with all the pressure, all the lobbying. I said you know what? Let the will of the people take place. When you allow the will of the people to speak, you won’t have a problem in the general election.
“What we see today in Niger State — the acceptance, the reception during campaigns is as a result of allowing the people to choose who they want.
“Campaigns have been completed in two zones and I can tell you that in those two zones, we score 90 per cent,” he said.
The governor, therefore, donated N8 million to the campaign of Mr Bago.
Speaking to journalists, the governorship candidate said fundraising is a critical part of his campaign because he cannot afford to finance the election alone.
He stated that fighting insecurity in the state is top on his agenda. He added that with close collaboration with traditional rulers, insecurity in Niger State will be addressed.
“We want to collaborate with the traditional institutions to curb insecurity.
“We have travelled around Niger for the campaigns. We have seen how people live and how our bushes are and how our local governments are.
“There is a need for the government at the centre in the state to connect with the traditional institutions and the local institutions to curb insecurity,” he said.
For the past couple of years, Niger State has become vulnerable to bandits and other terror groups operating in North-central Nigeria.
The state has witnessed several cases of mass abductions in recent years.
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