By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
Against established traditions, the swearing ceremony for governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State and his deputy, Ahmed Muhammad Ketso for their second term in office is to hold inside the auditorium of the Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre located opposite the Government House, Minna.
Since the return of democratic rule in Nigeria in 1999, all previous inaugurations/swearing in ceremonies of elected governors were held at the Minna township stadium amidst large crowd of party supporters, the general public, play and fun seekers.
Invitation to guests for Wednesday’s events have been on distribution since last week even as programmes slated for the swearing in have been made concise, tailored and without much fanfare.
Though no reason was offered for the use of the conference hall of the Legbo Kutigi event centre as against the spacious Minna township stadium, or the large acres of land at either the state’s Trade Fair Complex or even the Polo Field which have large spaces for outdoor events, observes argued that beside the state government’s desire to be frugal and make the swearing in ceremony low keyed, the government’s action may have been informed by security concern.
Though there are no apparent security threats especially in the state capital, the state government is not oblivious of public perception in view of the current economic situation in the country.
A keen observer of the events in the state, argued that it would be safer for the inauguration ceremony to be held under a well screened close circuit rather than risk a possible spontaneous mob action from any angle at an opened space outdoor.
Though no government official could explain the rationale in holding the inauguration ceremony at the confines of an indoor facility, the reason hazarded by observers may be the true reason behind the state government’s choice and preference for the Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre.
On the eve of the inauguration, security details were sighted combing the vicinity of the large conference centre which is on the fringe of the street directly opposite the Government House.
Holding the event within the precinct of the Legbo Kutigi Conference Centre would however screen out a large chunk of the members of the public who may want to grace the inauguration ceremony.
By holding the swearing in ceremony at the conference centre, beautiful side attractions such as colourful parades, cultural displays by artists and dance troops as well as the catalogues of drummers and praise singers are schemed out of an otherwise public attraction.