Home News Opposition parties decry Bago, deputy’s Hajj trip

Opposition parties decry Bago, deputy’s Hajj trip

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The opposition parties in Niger State have decried the recent trip of Governor Mohammed Bago outside the country, saying it is amidst the rising incidence of insecurity in the state.

Arewa PUNCH reported that Governor Bago had flown out to Saudi Arabia to perform this year’s Hajj.

It was learnt that the governor also sponsored his Deputy, Yakubu Garba; and other Muslim faithful who are members of his cabinet on the trip.

Among those said to be on the Hajj trip are commissioners and all the female Permanent Secretaries in the various government ministries.

According to the opposition, the implication of the trip is that the Niger State Government House is now empty and shut down to all forms of pressing and urgent government activities.

The opposition further lament that it is unheard of for both a sitting governor and his deputy to abandon the ship of state governance and administration at the same time, thus alleging that Bago embarked on the Saudi trip without transmitting power to anybody.

Some opposition members in the state kicked against the action of the All Progressives Congress-led government during an interview with Arewa PUNCH on Wednesday, further describing the governor’s action as “unserious and reckless”.

One of the opposition parties, notably the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), accused the ruling APC of being insensitive to the plight of its subjects who are daily confronted by acts of terrorism, banditry and grappling with insecurity amidst a harsh economy.

According to Arewa PUNCH, the Governor and his Deputy Governor left for Saudi Arabia last Sunday and Monday, respectively, without transmitting power to anybody as enshrined in Section 190 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended

The PDP and the NNPP in separate interviews on Wednessday described the governor’s action as unserious for abandoning his responsibility and neglecting the people to their fate amid the rising insecurity bedeviling the state.

According to the leaders of the opposition political parties in the state the decision of the state governor, his deputy, the Speaker and Assembly principal officers, all female Permanent Secretary as well as the majority of the state executive members to abandon the state for the Hajj in Saudi Arabia is irresponsible.

They noted that state government activities had grounded to a halt and the celebration of the Democracy Day which held on 12 June, was abandoned in the state in violation of the section 190 (1) of the 1999 constitution as amended.

A Chieftain of the NNPP in the state, Umar Abdulhamid described as political disaster, abuse of democracy and unseriousness of the government for the Governor, Deputy Governor and other key officers to abandon the state without transmitting power in line with the constitution, saying, it is not a good omen for the state.

Abdulhamid stated, “We are shocked in the way and manner the Governor Mohammed Umar Bago-led administration has been operating without respect to the feelings of the residents of the state despite the current security situation of the state. It calls for caution and reversal.

“At least, he should have transmitted power to somebody so that the state can continue to function in his absence. This is unseriousness and reckless for any governor”, Abdulhamid said.

In his reaction to the development, the Niger North Zonal Chairman of the PDP, Yahaya Ability said that the APC is known for its outright violation of the laws, especially under the leadership of the present Governor of Niger State.

“It is most unfortunate that the governor left the country for Hajj in Saudi Arabia without feeling sober on the very day two military personnel were shot by bandits at Tegina, Rafi Local government while four local Governments of Rafi, Shiroro, Munya and Mariga are under attack daily and scores being killed.

“The matter is worse because the Assembly Speaker Abdulmalik Sarkin-Daji, who is supposed to receive a written letter of transmission of power, also left together with the governor. The Assembly is a stooge and in the pocket of the governor”, Ability alleged.

The Zonal PDP chairman advised the electorate to go back to the drawing board by voting out the ruling APC come 2027 to ensure good governance while calling on the Hajj entourage to immediately return to the state so as to secure the state and respect the constitution.

“Section 190 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended cannot be observed in its breach as it makes clear provision for the absence of a Governor without anticipating when both the governor and his Deputy will be absent at the same time”, Ability further explained.

Efforts to get the government’s response on the matter failed as the Secretary to the State Government, Abubakar Usman, and the Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Bologi Ibrahim did not pick the several voice calls initiated to their telephone numbers.

A top government functionary who does not want his name in print because he is not qualified to make any official statement denied these allegations, saying that the state is being managed by the SSG and the Chief of Staff Abdullah Gbatamagi.

He insisted that at this age and time of information technology, the governor could operate from anywhere in the world.

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