KATSINA, NIGERIA (VANGUARD) - Considering the ongoing local government election in Katsina State which began today, coupled with other problems bedevilling the country, a former Governor of the state, Barrister Ibrahim Shehu Shema has said that the country is in a sorry state, alleging monumental fraud in the exercise.
Shema expressed shock over alleged acts of illegality in the exercise, noting that he cannot understand why materials were reported having left the Central Bank of Nigeria premise in Katsina between 8 am – 10 am yesterday, Sunday and escorted to their various destinations in the 34 LGAs by party representatives could have been diverted supposedly by those in government, citing instances of places like Kankara, Bakori and a number of other places.
The former Governor described the Katsina Local Government election as a scam and a shame on APC administration at the state and central levels.
Shema who registered his displeasure over the conduct of the local government election in the state while speaking with a team of pressmen at his Dutsin-ma resident said:
“I am totally disappointed in the APC administration in Katsina State. Indeed in President Muhammadu Buhari’s state, it will be a shame if the Local Government election cannot be conducted correctly, freely, fairly, giving equal opportunity to all Nigerians and Katsina people.”
“In a lot of the polling units, I have discovered that, like in Mashi LGA, the returning officer is a card-carrying member of APC and on top of that they took ballot papers to the different units but without result sheets.
“They are holding the result sheet to return to government house to meet Aminu Bello Masari and his cohorts to fill these forms and tell Nigerians that election has been conducted.
“This is not an election. This is a sham. it’s a shame on APC nationwide and a shame internationally that they can’t hold a common local government election.
Shema recalled how “the same Aminu Bello Masari, dissolved a duly elected local government council of the PDP extraction under his administration before the supreme court of Nigeria declared the action as illegal, unconstitutional, null and avoid, compelling him to pay them their due entitlement for the time they were supposed to be in office.
“This kind of action should not go unpunished in this country.
Nigeria belongs to Nigerians. It doesn’t belong to any small group of people who think they can manipulate and mess around the life of this country,”
For the country to make any meaningful progress, Shema said there must be a change from this kind of leadership:
In his words:
“Are we going to continue like this? How can democracy, rule of law, and our economy grow under this kind of activity that does not even respect the people of this country?
“I am hugely disappointed at the government of Aminu Bello Masari and those who are behind him to carry on with this unlimited illegality. It doesn’t make sense.
Nonetheless, concerning their next line of action on the April 11 local government election, the former Governor said: “our people are there and will insist on the election being conducted. They will insist on results being entered into the venue. That’s what the law says.
“The Chairman of the electoral commission has told Nigerians and Katsina people indeed that elections will be announced at each polling unit and wards for the Councillorship and the local government headquarters for the chairmanship.
“But that is not what is happening today. APC people are carrying result sheets, in someplace like Danmusa, I saw pictures of young boys brought from the bush supposedly by the secretary to the state government, Mustapha Inuwa. They are brought to come and thumbprint yesterday and announced the result in the Local Government Secretariat.
“So in essence, Nigeria is in a sorry state on top of the rising insecurity on a daily basis, hunger, poverty, despair and destructions happening to every institution in Nigeria that has been thriving. We are
Reacting to the allegations, the Secretary to the Katsina State Government, Dr Mustapha Inuwa, at a press briefing this evening at the state government house said such allegations are not new.
Apparently, he noted those making such accusations knew what they did while in government which accounts for why they are levelling such allegations.
In his words:
“As far as I am concerned, the state independent electoral commission (KTSIEC) did all they could do in terms of preparation to ensure that election materials and personnel were discharged early enough to reach to the destinations designed to do this election.
“However, what actually brought the delay is that the PDP organized thugs in most of these places to ensure that election materials from the local government headquarters towards do not reach these wards on time.
“We had to work with the security agencies to ensure that they were able to disperse these thugs brought into these local governments to ensure electoral materials and personnel move to the various polling units and so on.
“That’s what actually caused the delay in some places. Honestly, some places were not able to get something done until in the afternoon. That is why up to this time I am talking to you, the election is being held in some parts of the state in some of these local governments. But about an hour ago we heard that the election has been concluded in about 19 LGAs and their results came in.
“So we have done all we could by providing the necessary logistics to people concerned and I believe KTSIEC did the best it could to ensure everybody and every material is there on time.
“So, these people know they are failures because they know they collected money from Abuja in the name of contesting the election, so they are making noise so that those who gave them money will say yes, they have done something. We are used to it. They have been doing it so it is not something new.
“All the elections here in 2019 and 2015, it is the same technique, the same system they adopted. So it is not something new and you know the person here is a renowned liar, an internationally recognized liar. So when he makes all these sorts of allegations we are not surprised.”
Vanguard News Nigeria