The Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, has cancelled the appointment of a new Emir of Kontagora, following a petition by 46 others contestants alleging irregularities in the selection process.

The governor also redeployed the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Abdulmalik Sarkin-Daji, who was accused of perpetrating the irregularities.

Earlier on Sunday, a Kaduna-based businessman, Mohammadu Barau-Mu’azu, was announced as the 7th Emir of Kontagora after he polled the majority votes from the electoral college and was reportedly selected by five kingmakers.

However, the announcement was greeted by protests from the other contestants who claimed that the exercise handled by Mr Sarkin-Daji, was shrouded in secrecy.

They said they were not given fair representation in the election/selection processes because the commissioner has a preferred candite.

Mika Anache, a lawyer, wrote a petition on behalf of the 46 contestants to the governor, copying security agencies and others officials.

The petitioners “rejected the so-called selection process leading to the alleged election of whoever was said to have emerged as the winner of the said election as the 7th Sarkin Sudan of Kontagora allegedly held on 19th September, 2021.

“We write to reiterate the fact that failure on the part of the Electoral College, Government to afford contestants those opportunities has portrayed the whole exercise as a sham exercise and lacking legitimacy thereby making the whole exercise illegal and fraudulent,” the petitioners wrote.

Following the petition, the Secretary to the State Government, Ahmad Matane, said on Tuesday that “the aftermath of the election was followed by petition and misgivings.

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“Therefore, to reinforce the State Government’s neutrality in the election process, a review of the process has been directed by Mr Governor.

“In this regard, the Honourable Commissioner, Ministry for Local Government, Community Development and Chieftaincy Affairs, Barrister Abdulmalik Sarkin Daji has been temporarily moved to Ministry of Youth Development.

“Similarly, Mr. Emmanuel Umar, Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Youth Development has been temporarily redeployed to Ministry for Local Government, Community Development and Chieftaincy Affairs.”

The redeployments took immediate effect, the official statement said.

The late Emir of Kontagora , Sa’idu Namaska, died last week Thursday at 84 years of age following years of illness,

Mr Namaska was turbaned in 1974 and reigned for 47 years as Emir of Kontagora.

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