The Commissioner for Local Government Affairs in Kano State, Alhaji Murtala Sulegaro, has denied claims that he, the Deputy Governor and other government officials, were arrested for disrupting the collation process during last Saturday’s Governorship Election.
Sulegaro said this in an interview in Kano on Thursday. He was reacting to allegations that his arrest, alongside the state Deputy Governor, Nasiru Gawuna and other government officials, was because they tore result sheets at the Nasarawa Local Government Collation Centre.
The commissioner, who spoke about the incident for the first time since his release from police custody, said it was unfortunate that the opposition which planned and executed the whole plot, was the same playing the victim.
According to him, he and his colleagues went to the collation centre in response to an alarm raised by agents of the All Progressives Congress that agents of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party were tampering with the collation process.
He said, “These PDP people were the ones responsible. They went to the collation centre; the Electoral Officer said so when he spoke at INEC headquarters. Some people from the PDP attacked him from the back and tore the result sheets of Gama Ward.
“There was a consensus earlier reached at the collation centre that the results from that ward would not be included in the results even before we went there, but to our surprise, these people went to the collation centre and tore the results sheets for Gama ward before we got there. They went out without any of them being arrested by the police. That is why we are saying this commissioner of police is comprised; he is selective and we are not going to take it anymore because he has not been fair to us.”
He further explained that he called other government officials, including the deputy governor who hail from the local government and they went to the collation centre in response to a distress call about the unwholesome activities of the opposition but that they were attacked by the PDP agents, some of who were wearing observers’ vests.
In response, the state Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Rabiu Bichi, dismissed the claims. He said it was shameful that highly placed government officials would descend to the level of leading thugs to invade a collation centre when it was glaring that the people of Kano had rejected them.
Bichi said, “The commissioner and his colleagues in government who took part in that shameful act should be ashamed of themselves. They were caught in the act; they had no excuse to descend to the level of common criminals because it was obvious that they have become desperate, the people of Kano have rejected them.”
An attempt to get a reaction from the state Police Command was unsuccessful as of the time of filing this report.
An aide to the spokesman for the Kano State Police Command, DSP Abdullahi Haruna, who answered the telephone said, “Sorry, sir, he is at a meeting at the moment.”