A formerCcommissioner for information, culture and Tourism in Niger State and chieftain of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) in Niger State, Hon. Jonathan Vatsa, has alleged that Niger state suffered what he called “total neglect” for eight years under the Buhari administration because of his unforgiving spirit against former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida.
Vatsa’s position tallies with what Everyday.ng gathered regarding the poor state of roads in the largest state of the Federation, and despite former Governor Abubakar Sani Bello shouting himself to a hoarse, all his pleadings to Abuja to re-build federal roads, he was roundly ignored.
It was gathered that at a point during his public outcry, he was summoned to Abuja and reprimanded for embarrassing the then President and the APC government at the centre.
He was cowered into silence and stopped what was considered activism. “It is the reasom many of the federal roads in Niger State is in a state of disrepair, even the one leading to the Governor’s hometown of Kontagora. The only good roads within the town are the ones around residences and properties of a prominent citizen from that town. Check it out yourself” a source said. The Minna-Tegina-Kontagora which should take about two and half hours take over twice the time.
The same sentiments were expressed concerning the Suleja-Minna Road which has been constructed in fits and starts for years, with a large portion left undone or abandoned, even though it is the major access to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The former state chief executive was accused of preferring chopper rides to his hometown and other parts because of the poor state of roads and insecurity, which has become the new normal in his domain.
Meanwhile, Vatsa, the APC chieftain, who spoke in Minna on Tuesday during an interactive session with newsmen, stated that despite the overwhelming supports the former President received from the state in 2015 and 2019, the federal government under Buhari shut its door against the state “simply because of his unforgiving spirit against Babangida over the 1985 coup against him”.
According to him, Niger state turned in the highest votes for APC in 2015 and 2019 but regretted that what the state got in return was “total neglect” in all aspect of human development, adding that “the only benefit the state got from Buhari government were failed promises and abandoned federal projects all over the state, including the ones he awarded and those he inherited”.
The former publicity secretary of the party in the state, who condemned the attitude of the former President against the people of the state, because of his personal hatred for one person, pointed out that “in all elections that Buhari contested in the country before becoming President, Niger state has always given him maximum votes, it is therefore unfair for him to treat Niger state the way he did in his eight years rule”.
The former Coordinator, Public Affairs to former governor Abubakar Sani Bello disclosed that over 15 federal projects including roads in the state both the ones he (Buhari) awarded and the ones he inherited were all abandoned, stressing that “Niger state cannot boast of any federal government project that was completed by Buhari administration in the last eight years.
“Look at the Suleja-Minna dual carriage, the Lambata-Agaie-Bida highway, Minna-Tegina-Kontagora roads, the Kontagora-Rijau-Tungan Magajiya road, the Baro port project, the Bida Basin oil exploration and many more”, stressing that “none of these projects saw the light of the day, all because his hatred for one individual”.
He stated that “to further demonstrate his hatred for the state because of IBB, Buhari never paid a single state visit to Niger state through his eight years in office. The two times he came to the state was in Baro where he commissioned an empty port and in Sunti sugar company where he laid a foundation for a multibillion sugar company that never saw the light of the day”.
Vatsa maintained that while the former President failed in his many promises to the state, including the Minna-Abuja rail line, he hurriedly awarded and paid for the Kano-Maradi in Niger Republic rail line project, saying that “Buhari’s body language and his agenda made him not to have peace throughout his eight years in office.
“Nigerians are the easiest and most peaceful people to govern but when you come with an agenda, God will turn the heat against you and that was what happened to Buhari administration that he couldn’t achieve anything as a President for eight years. It is the most disastrous government in the history of Nigeria since independence”, he submitted.
The former commissioner therefore appealed to President Ahmed Bola Tinubu right the Buhari wrongs against the people of the state by completing all the abandoned federal government projects in the state for the benefit of the common man in the state.
“President Ahmed Bola Tinubu is a son and friend of Niger state; we gave him one of the biggest traditional titles in the country, the Jagaban Borgu. It is one of the most respected titles in Borgu Emirate and Borgu Kingdom, and we are optimistic that his administration will bring country out of the misery that his predecessor put us as a people”.