Mohammed Umaru Bago has clinched the governorship ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Niger State, beating his strong contenders with a total vote of 540, according to a score sheet obtained by WikkiTimes.
Bago, a lawmaker representing Chanchaga Federal constituency in the 9th National Assembly, downsized Ahmed Ketso, the incumbent deputy governor of Niger State, Mohammed Idris Malagi, the publisher of Blueprint newspaper, Engineer Sani Ndanusa, Nigeria’s former Minister of Youths, Sport and Social Development, Professor Yahaya Kuta, a former Secretary to the State Government (SSG) of Babangida Muhazu Aliyu administration, and Usman Idris Makanta, the state coordinator, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN).
While Malagi polled 386 votes, Ndanusa walk away with 84, paving the way for Bago to bag 540.
Confidently, Ketso, the deputy governor settled for 17 votes. He was followed by Makanta who embraced a defeat with just three votes. Though, Mohammed Rufai, another aspirant was leading Makanta with one vote margin.
However, Professor Kuta gleefully pocketed zero votes despite cross-carpeting from the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).
In the midst of eleven invalid votes, about three aspirants namely Aliyu Idris Ruga, Mohammed Nda and Dr Kpotagi were consoled with one vote each.
Money Bags Undo Godfatherism
Inside sources confided in this paper that the aspirants scrambled for the governorship ticket with thousands of naira. As an experienced politician “Bago was giving N500,000 to delegates and Malagi gave N300,000,” a source told WikkiTimes.
The deputy governor and Makanta (the RIFAN chairman) also followed suit with the money bags trend. But Bago outplayed them.
Besides the money bag trend, residents familiar with politics in Niger State said Bago has successfully defaced godfatherism in Niger State, citing General Abdulsalam-endorsed Abubakar Sani Bello, the incumbent governor, as a case study.