John Adams, Minna
The Niger State governor Alhaji Abubakar Sani on Thursday in Minna lost his temper and ordered a master of ceremony to stop the General Manager of the state Transport Authority (NSTA) Yakubu Sallau from continuing with his address for his inability to pronounce “His Excellency.”
The occasion was the launching of 38 buses acquired by the state government to boost the operation of the state-owned transport authority.
After more than three attempts to pronounce the phrase “His Excellency,” to the surprise of the audience, the governor signaled the master of ceremony to stop the general manager from reading the speech.
At that time, it was the turn of the GM to present his address after the state Commissioner for Transport, Hajiya Ramatu YaraAdua had delivered her welcome address. Then the GM got stuck with the two words “His Excellency.’
The governor’s action it was gathered was meant to stop the official from further embarrassment and breach of protocol.
Immediately the people began to shout “it is enough”, “it is ok”, the master of ceremony, acting on the signal from the governor, walked to the GM and collected the microphone.
The audience on the occasion attributed the unfortunate development to nervousness, explaining that it could be as a result of over excitement on the part of the GM.
In a remark while commissioning the new fleet of vehicles, Governor Sani Bello said the buses were procured with a loan facility from a commercial bank, pointing out that the management of NSTA must work assiduously to repay the loan.
He expressed the determination of his administration to provide affordable and safe means of transportation to the people of the state, hence the need to boost the transport authority with the new vehicles.
But reacting to the drama, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mrs Mary Noel Barje, explained that her principal was not the one who stopped the general manager at the point of reading his address.
She said: “I can tell you authoritatively that it was not my boss that stopped the GM while addressing the gathering. I do not know what exactly happened to the GM. However, the governor did not say anything and he did not ask anybody to stop him.”