Niger State Governor, Rt. Hon. Umar Mohammed Bago, has urged Nigerlites to continue to persevere and remain hopeful for a better Nigeria.
The governor stated this during the 63rd Independence Anniversary celebration of Nigeria, organised by the state government and held at the Bako Kontagora Memorial Stadium, Minna, on Sunday.
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Comrade Yakubu Garba, said, just like the theme for this year's celebration, which is "Hope, Unity, and Prosperity", we should not lose hope in the present administration.
"When you hear somebody say hope, it means there are things that are yet to be done. We should keep up our hope; we should be resilient; we should be hopeful that things will get better," said the governor.
He added that the government was not unaware of the situation of the country, especially for the common man, but that it should not make us lose hope in the government, assuring that things will get better.
The governor observed that there was no alternative to unity, saying it is only when there is unity that there will be peace and the prosperity we are yearning for.
"If there is no unity, there won't be peace. If there is no unity, the prosperity we are yearning for will not come. Therefore, I want us to unite and ensure we get things better in the country and Niger State in particular," the governor explained.
He disclosed that we have every reason to celebrate Nigeria at 63 because, if for nothing, "we need to appreciate God for coming this far together despite our diversity".
Similarly, in their separate remarks, the Secretary to the State Government, Abubakar Usman Gawu, and the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Barr. Abdulmalik Sarkin Daji, said there was every reason to celebrate Nigeria's independence.
They observed that despite all the challenges the country was battling with, Nigeria continued to stand tall, and it calls for celebration even though the glamour that used to come with the celebration has been lost along the line.
They urged Nigerians and Nigerlites to be patient and endure the present situation, saying that with the support of all stakeholders, the present challenges are surmountable and Nigeria and Niger State will be peaceful and more united again, just like when we first became independent.
Highlights of the event were a ceremonial parade by officers of the Nigeria Police and the Niger State Command.
The Justice Angela Otaluka-led National and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal (NAEPT), sitting in the Minna High Court complex, has affirmed the election of Murtala Badaru Suleja of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the member representing Suleja state constituency in the March 18, 2023 state House of Assembly election.
While delivering judgement on the petition filed by Nasiru Alhassan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he declared that the petitioner failed to prove the allegations raised in his petition.
Nasiru Alhassan had approached the tribunal on three grounds in his petition: that the second respondent in the petition was not qualified to contest the election as at the time he contested, that he was not duly nominated by the third respondent, and that he was not duly elected by the majority of lawful votes cast.
He claimed further that the second respondent election was not in compliance with the provisions of the Election Act 2022 and also not in compliance with Section 104 of the Evidence Act, and therefore prayed the tribunal to nullify the election and declare him the rightful winner.
During the pre-hearing of the tribunal, Chris Osuagu, the defence counsel to the third respondent, told the tribunal that it lacks jurisdiction to hear the petition on the ground that it was purely a pre-election matter, which was earlier decided at the Federal High Court in Minna.
Chris Osuagu, in his preliminary objection filed at the tribunal, prayed the court to strike out the petition as it has already suffered defeat at the Federal High Court and should not be entertained again.
All the evidence and witnesses, as well as the exhibits tendered before the tribunal, could not be substantiated by the petitioner.
After painstakingly reviewing all the evidence and submitting both counsels to the parties, the three members of the tribunal unanimously agreed that the petitioner failed to prove his allegations, and Justice Angela Otaluka then dismissed the petition for lack of merit.
While dismissing the petition, she then awarded a cost of three hundred thousand naira to the petitioner.
Speaking with journalists shortly after the judgement, the defendant, Murtala Badaru, described the judgement as a victory for democracy and for the people of Suleja constituency.
He said the victory has vindicated him, stating that it was an indication that he is loved by the people of Suleja constituency.
He assured that this will spur him to give the people of his constituency the needed representation that will positively impact their well-being.
He extended the hand of fellowship to his opponent to move Suleja forward.