By Hamisu Umar
One of the benefits of democracy is the power given to the people to choose their leaders. Since the return of democracy, Nigeria has had a series of elected leaders, the good, the bad and the ugly. Niger State is no different from other states in Nigeria. It has had her share of exemplary leaders and those lacking the basic qualities of a leader.
In 2015, the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party had a landslide defeat by the now ruling All Progressive Congress. In Niger State, it ushered in Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello as the Executive Governor of the state, with Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Ketso as his deputy, who hailed from Mokwa Local Government.
Since Alhaji Ketso’s emergence as the Deputy Governor of Niger State, Mokwa Local Government has been in mixed feelings. It is one of the lucky local governments in the state when it comes to producing top leaders.
Traditionally, in every government, one person from the local government would hold a very important position. As far as I know, Ketso’s emergence as a Deputy Governor has been more of a curse to the people of Mokwa Local Government than a blessing. It has always been from one problem to another.
The 2019 general elections is around the corner. After the conduct of APC primaries, there have been lots of reasons to be worried about, most especially Lavun, Mokwa and Edati federal constituency. Recall that there was a crisis in the three aforementioned local governments. No thanks to Alhaji Mohammed Ketso as all the crisis in the state house of assembly, APC primary elections in Mokwa, Edati and Lavun local governments are all linked to him.
In Mokwa Local Government, which is Ketso’s local government, a legal practitioner, Barrister Abdullahi Adamu, whom I learnt is very close to the deputy governor, was coasting to victory. Instead of the electoral officer to announce the result, he made himself unavailable, without notice to the aspirants and escaped to Minna.
Investigations revealed that the electoral officer did what he did in connivance with Ketso men because the deputy governor’s candidate, not Abdullahi Adamu, lost. The Deputy Governor made sure the said Barrister Adamu was denied his mandate.
Zoning is being practised in this part of the State to give everyone a sense of belonging. It is in the line of this, that APC in Lavun, Mokwa and Edati Federal Constituencies decided to stick to the zoning arrangement. Hon Ahmed Abu, the incumbent member representing the federal constituency is finishing a four-year tenure. It was agreed that Mokwa, which is the local government Ahmed Abu came from, will complete its eight years.
Ketso, due to his ambition to become the governor in 2023, worked against his local government and supported Hajiya Rahmatu Yaradua, who is from a neighbouring local government. Ketso did this to protect his position as the deputy governor.
He was particularly concerned about RT Hon Adamu Usman, a former speaker of Niger State House of Assembly. Ketso sees Adamu Usman as a rival to his ambition to become governor of Niger State. He worked against the candidature of Adamu Usman and other aspirants from his local government.
News going around has it that one Abdullahi Usman Gbatamagi from Lavun local government has been declared the flagbearer of APC. This singular decision has caused a crisis in Edati Local Government, the local government of Ketso’s candidate, Rahmatu Yaradua. Her people were of the opinion that she won the election. The youths took to the streets and asked that she should be given her mandate.
If Ketso had not, because of his selfish reason, supported and encouraged Rahmatu Yaradua, there wouldn’t have been a crisis in Edati and other places. Ketso should be held responsible for any breakdown of law. On several occasions, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, the Executive Governor of Niger has reiterated his position that he has no favourite aspirant for the APC Primary Election.
However, the Deputy Governor has on several occasions campaigned for some aspirants, that they were anointed by the state government. Investigations showed that Ketso acted on his own volition. The Governor truly has no interest in who emerges. The people of Mokwa can’t more lose than they can count since Ketso emerged as the deputy governor. He is presently not in good condition with the majority of stakeholders in Mokwa Local Government. One wouldn’t be far from the truth if he says that he is intoxicated by power. People close to him can testify to his ego and proud attitude.
Today, according to what I heard, he is the one running things in Niger State. I wish he could learn from his boss, who was born with a silver spoon, yet he is calm, not boastful and respects people irrespective of their status in society.
Hamisu Umar wrote from Minna.