Sarkin Sudan of Kontagora power struggle: Niger Governor’s latest order douses tension

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The decision of the Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello to order the review of the process of election/selection for the successor of late Sarkin Sudan of Kontagora may have doused the tension brewing in the Kontagora Emirate of the State earlier this week.

Late Sarkin Sudan of Kontagora, Alh. Saidu Umar Namaska died on 9th of September, 2021 at the age of 84.

The kingmakers of the kingdom or Electoral College had on 19th of September, 2021 at about 9am entered an election/selection process, at the end of which a candidate purportedly won out of the 48 contenders for the highest traditional seat of the kingdom.

The kingmakers of Kontagora are the Madawaki, Alhaji Aminu Ahmed, Galadima, Alhaji Yusuf Shehu Galadima, Waziri, Alhaji Tanko Yusuf, others are Magayaki, Alhaji Adamu Muhammad and Kofa, Alhaji Abdulkadri Ahmed.

The Chief Imam who was supposed to be the sixth person had died earlier and a new one has not been appointed before the passing away of the late Sarkin Sudan.

While the people of Kontagora, and the state awaited the unveiling of the winner by the State Governor to the public, the outcome of the election was already enmeshed in crisis as the other 47 contestants had started kicking.

It was gathered that the purported winner of the election process was a not popular candidate, but has the backing of some top personalities both within and outside the state.

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The development, our correspondent learnt irked the other candidates to team up to reject anticipated outcome of the election.

The Governor, who incidentally hails from Kontagora absolved himself and the state government from the rising tension in his hometown.

As of Monday, a Petition had surfaced from Mika Anache & Co (Legal Practitioners and Consultants) based in Minna signed by Mika Anache, the 39th contestant on behalf of the other 46 contenders for the stool addressed to the State Governor on the matter.

They also copied the Speaker House of Assembly, the Chairman, Traditional Council of Chiefs, the Commissioner of Police, and the Director, DSS.

Others include Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, former Military President of Nigeria, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, former Military Head of State, and the Chairman, Kontagora Emirate Kingmakers (Electoral College), Alhaji Shehu Yusuf Galadima.

They told the Governor that the exercise handled by the Commissioner for LGs, Bar Abdulmalik Sarkindaji that produced whoever emerged as winner was shrouded in mystery which smacks of transparency.

They claimed that the election processes were flawed with abuses and non-compliance to the later which to all intent and purpose touches on the Fundamental Right of the contestants and breach of their rights.

They said though, the circular as well as the viva-voce explanation specifically provided for screening exercise of contestants, it was not done but only for them to learn that the list of 48 contestants was pruned down to 21

” We write to reiterate the fact that failure on the part of the Electoral College, Government to afford contestants those opportunities has portrayed the whole exercise as a sham exercise and lacking legitimacy, thereby, making the whole exercise illegal and fraudulent.”

They maintained that in the interest of justice and fair play, the exercise should be cancelled and another one be held outlining transparent procedure and process.

They pleaded for “…any other thing that will ensure credible and fair election process for the selection/election of the 7th Sarkin Sudan of Kontagora.”

The aggrieved contestants accused the commissioner of being incompetent, incomprehensive and lacking capacity to handle the task and for involving himself in the complicity of compromise with people of vested interest.

In the petition tittle,” The Irregular/ Illegal Selection of 7th Sarkin Sudan of Kontagora Leading to Sham Election into the said revered stool”, the petitioners insisted that the revered stool of Sarkin Sudan of Kontagora cannot be demeaned by the interest of a few who are hell-bent on destroying the traditional institution which is 11th or 12th in the Northern Region Hierarchy of Traditional Institution

They consequently, asked for the redeployment of Sarkindaji from the Ministry of LG.

Further more, they told the governor that, ” this petition equally serves as Pre-action Notice to you in the event that you refuse and/or neglect to grant our prayers which could be distilled cursorily in a Court of Law. We believe you will not allow this to happen.”
Bello through the Secretary to the Niger State Government, SSG, Alh Ahmed Ibrahim Matane on Tuesday, 21st Sept, 2021:in a press statement made available to newsmen granted their demands.

He ordered a revisit to the process of the election.

Matane revealed that the move was to reinforce the State Government’s neutrality in the election process.

It reads in part, ” with the demise of the sixth Sarkin Sudan of Kontagora, late Alhaji Saidu Namaska on Thursday, 9th September, 2021, the Executive Governor of Niger State, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello directed the Ministry for Local Government, Community Development and Chieftaincy Affairs to conduct transparent and accountable election of the new Sarkin Sudan which took place on Sunday, 19th September, 2021″

“However, the aftermath of the election was followed by petitions and misgivings.

” In this regard, the Honourable Commissioner, Ministry for Local Government, Community Development and Chieftaincy Affairs, Barrister Abdulmalik Sarkin Daji has been temporarily moved to the Ministry of Youths Development.

“Similarly, Mr. Emmanuel Umar, Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Youth Development has been temporarily redeployed to the Ministry for Local Government, Community Development and Chieftaincy Affairs.”

The redeployment, according to the statement takes immediate effect.

Presently, tension seems to have gone down in the town as the people of Kontagora and the state await the turn of events in the next few days, week or perhaps weeks in the power tussle between the 48 contenders who are contending for the seat of Sarkin Sudan of Kontagora.

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