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For journalists in Katsina, it’s hard choice covering election in Daura or Funtua


Journalists on duty….Photo: Femi Adebesin-Kuti<br />

They felt reluctant and the reason couldn’t be communicated clearly to their guest who was also a journalist. He came from Lagos and he was visiting Katsina for the first time, primarily to cover the Presidential and National Assembly elections initially scheduled for Saturday, February 16, 2019.

The journalist had arrived Katsina metropolis late in the night of Thursday, February 14. His predicament started from Lagos that same Thursday. No direct flight from Lagos to Katsina. The best option was Lagos to Kano by flight, while the rest of the journey of 135mins from Kano to Katsina was by road.

The flight that was initially billed to take off at 10.00am in Lagos did not until 2.00p.m. Therefore, arrival in Katsina was late in the night. And for the accomplishment of his primary assignment, two tasks must be carried out on Friday, February 15 – securing accreditation from the INEC headquarters in the state capital and arranging for a vehicle that would convey him to the country home of President Muhammadu Buhari in Daura on the election-day, Saturday, February 16.

With the ban on public transportation system, going to Daura, which is one-hour drive from Katsina city capital, on the election-day would pose a challenge unless a solid arrangement had been made previous day.

It was in the process of this arrangement that the suggestion to approach Katsina State Correspondents’ Chapel located at Fagachi Quarters in the heart of the city was considered that mid-afternoon of Friday, February 15. This was after documentation for accreditation had been perfected at the INEC office and the directive was to come back in the evening for collection. But surprisingly, the journalists’ body had no official plan to go to Daura for any coverage. Instead, they preferred going to Kafur/Masari Adult Education Polling Unit where the Governor, Alhaji Aminu Masari would cast his ballot.

Masari in Kafur local government area of the state is the hometown of the governor. It is located within Funtua senatorial zone also known as Katsina South. Daura is in Katsina north senatorial district. But why would ‘home-based’ journalists ignore Kofar Baru 003 Polling Unit at Sarkin Yara ward, Daura, where President Buhari, also a strong contender, would cast his ballot? The guest asked with curiosity as he considered news from Daura stronger than Kafur’s.

However, no answer was volunteered, and alas, the election was later shifted by one week to February 23 and it was on that day he later discovered the answer: “You go to Daura, you don’t even assure of ‘ordinary presidential hand-shake’, but in Masari (Funtua), you return to base with handsome reward.”

In this article:
Muhammadu Buhari‎
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