By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
The planned visit by President Muhammadu Buhari to Minna, the Niger State capital has been shelved, a competent source close to the seat of power in the state told our correspondent in Minna.
President Muhammadu Buhari is due in the Mokwa, about 300 kilometres away from the state capital on a working visit during which he would commission the N50 billion Sunti Sugar Company located in Sunti area of Mokwa.
Authorities in the state had planned to loop on the President’s visit to Mokwa and bring him to the state capital but their plans hit the rock as powers in the corridors of Aso Rock, persuaded the President to shelve the visit to Minna for another more auspicious time when there would be enough time and reasons to be in the state capital.
Though the state government had made elaborate arrangements for the expected presidential visit, a last minute word from the Presidency, punctured and deflated the balloon as they took the air out to flatten all the plans for a huge ceremony as planned by the state government.
The Spokesman for governor Abubakar Sani Bello, Jibrin Baba Ndace comfirmed to our correspondent in a telephone conversation that the President would only visit Mokwa to commission the multi billion naira sugar project which is one of the largest agro allied investments by the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Baba Ndace said since there was no much to showcase in the state capital, it was only reasonable to allow the President undertake the commissioning of the Sunti Sugar Company in Mokwa and quietly return to his base at the villa while a more elaborate plans continues for a state visit any time soon.
The governor’s spokesperson said the elaborate arrangements made so far, notwithstanding, everything would be kept as the state plans for another opportunity for the President to be in the state during which time, there would be enough for the President to see, hold townhall meeting with citizens and governing All Progressive Congress party leaders and stakeholders in the state.
He explained that the President had in the last few weeks been very busy with visits to some states with security issues including Benue, Borno, Plateau and would require time to get some rest.
He added that ”Minna is very far from Mokwa, it is not reasonable to bring Mr. President to Minna moreover since he is coming just for a working visit and return to Abuja after the commissioning of the Sunti Sugar Company. It is the reasoning of the authorities that we should wait until when he would be coming for a state visit” Ndace added.
He, on behalf of the state government, appealed for the understanding of the citizens in Minna and environs who had looked forward to welcome President Muhammadu Buhari in Minna.
Our correspondent reports that certain public structures in Minna such as roundabouts, roads and other road furnitures had been beautified and given a facelift in the last few weeks in readiness for the visit of Mr. President which was earlier fixed for Tuesday, 13th which had come and gone.