Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
Niger state Governor, Abubakar Bello has commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies for doing creditably well in the February 23 and March 9 elections, in spite of the number of supplementary elections to be conducted and the pockets of violence that trailed the elections.
Bello, was at the Presidential Villa, Abuja to congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari on his victory at the polls.
When asked by journalists to comment on the spate of inconclusive elections and INEC’s overall rating in terms of conducting the general polls, he said that “I think INEC did extremely well, the security agencies did very well too. It is not unusual when you hold elections in a country like Nigeria where you have so many units to have issues with one or two units.
“If you look at the number of polling units compared to the ones that have issues, probably, it’s less than two or five per cent. But generally, the elections went well.”
However, the governor said he was not surprised that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was claiming to have won the presidential and Niger governorship elections.
He noted that such was expected in a democratic setting. The governor said that the opposition has the constitutional right to challenge the victories at the court, emphasizing that the elections was free and fair by all standards.
“It’s not unusual, when you lose elections, you go to court for so many reasons. It could be that you think you won or it could be that someone is telling you that you’ve won or it could be that someone is telling you some miracles can happen. It could also be that someone wants to get money off you.
“So there is no reason why after free and fair elections have been conducted and it’s clear in the eyes of the world, one still believes that there is a shoddy dealing. Anyone who feels dissatisfied is free to approach a court of law.
It’s a free world, everyone is entitled to his opinion. But honestly, from what I saw in Niger, this election has been the fairest election we have conducted so far,” the governor said.
Asked what he had in store for the people of the state in his second term, the governor added that “Niger state should be rest assured that we are committed to providing dividends of democracy; we are completing the projects we started in addition to the new ones we want to embark on that will be of benefit to the general public.
“So, there is still a long way to go, there’s a lot of work to be done. We’ll get on it as soon as possible.”