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Gov’ship Election: Can el-Rufai Stage A Return In Kaduna?

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Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai

Political strategists have concluded that, going by the victory of All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari in Kaduna state and recent exodus of chieftains of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state to APC, the stage is now set for the re-election of Governor Nasir el-Rufai. AZA MSUE, examines the intrigues ahead of the March 9 poll

As the people of Kaduna state are  set to cast their votes on Saturday  March 9 governorship and State House of Assembly elections, if recent results of the presidential and National Assembly polls, among others are anything to go by, governor Nasir el-Rufai, may be on his way to Sir Kashim Ibrahim House for his second term.

Politics watchers affirmed that apart from ex-governor Balarabe Musa, no other governor has performed like el-Rufai  in terms of infrastructural development, investment, human capital development and reforms in education, health, land administration, local government among others that have started yielding results.

Many believed that the results of the just-concluded presidential elections would influence the forthcoming governorship elections in Kaduna State. Though, like President Muhammadu Buhari, his godson el-Rufai, has some issues with some elite who are not comfortable with him.

Recall that in  2015, Buhari, who was Presidential candidate of the APC defeated then President Goodluck Jonathan who was the candidate of the PDP with 1, 127,760 to 484,085 votes. The APC won in 14 of the 23 local government areas of Kaduna state.

The presidential election of 2015 settled the victory of APC governorship candidate, el-Rufai in the subsequent elections as he polled 1,117,635 votes to defeat the then incumbent governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero who scored 485,833 votes.

In the just concluded presidential election, Buhari won the presidential election in Kaduna state with a total of 993,445 votes in 14 Local Government Areas, while the candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, got 649,612 votes in 9 Local Governments Areas.

Pundits opined that it may be difficult for an opposition PDP to win a strategic state like Kaduna which is the second home of Buhari. To them, el-Rufai will be re-elected based on his credibility, competency, high performance and the popularity of his party, the APC in the state.

Mass Defection Hits Kaduna  PDP

A few days after the outcome of presidential poll, one of the prominent gubernatorial aspirants of the recent party primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Kaduna state, Mohammed Sani Sidi, his over 50,000 political associates and several other chieftains of the party across the 23 local government areas of Kaduna State resigned their membership of the PDP.

They joined APC in Kaduna to fight their former party. Just before Sani Sidi, former Director General media and publicity to ex- governor Ramalan Yero, Ahmed Maiyaki had dumped PDP for APC.

LEADERSHIP learnt that more PDP heavy weight chieftains are on their way to join APC before the Saturday governorship polls.

In the  statement signed by a close associate of Mohammed Sani Sidi, Alhaji Ahmed Maiyaki, it quoted a letter sent to the ward Chairman of PDP, Unguwan Sarki Ward, Kaduna North local government Area, stating that “since the party’s primaries held last year, characterized by manipulations, impunity, lack of internal democracy and intimidations of party delegates, the party’s leadership at the state or the candidate has failed to genuinely engage all aspirants towards consultation and genuine reconciliation, an important task that would have helped the party forge ahead.”

“Even more worrisome is the mutual mistrust that exist between the party leadership, the gubernatorial candidate and some of its members and above all the failure to showcase any meaningful blueprint and capacity on how to govern the state when voted into power.” Said Sidi.

The letter further states, “it is based on these reasons and after due consultation with my political associates across the 23 local government areas, l decided to resign my membership of the party henceforth. And l thank you most sincerely for your support while in the party”.

Sani Sidi, former Director – General, National Emergency Management Agency,NEMA, submitted alongside the letter, his membership card of the party to the ward leadership of the PDP.

He stated that, other prominent politicians and the associates of Sani Sidi from across the state who have resigned their membership of the party.

Maiyaki, said over 30,000 members of the Sani Sidi Campaign Steering Committee and some executive members of the party at the Local Government and Ward levels have began the process of resigning their membership from the Peoples Democratic Party.

Reacting to the defection of its chiftains ahead of saturday polls, Kaduna state chapter of the PDP, accused Sani Sidi of not contributing anything to the party.

Abraham Alberah Catoh, PDP State Publicity Secretary, in a statement said: “It is on record that Sani Sidi has contributed nothing to the peace, progress and prosperity of our great party. His coming into the contest for the gubernatorial Primary Election on our party’s platform was doomed to fail”

“As far as the party is concerned, there has been a harmonious working relationship between him and amongst all the Aspirants.

“However to allay the fears of unsuspecting members of the public we wish to reiterate that our candidate had reeled out the blue print of how he intends to  govern Kaduna State, if given the mandate, amongst his well structured agenda is ensuring peace, unity  and security,  of the State, massive infrastructural development , elevation and promotion of agriculture to attract new and dynamic young farmers with knowledge of extension services that will further boost agricultural production,  declaration of a State of emergency in the education sector and ensuring a generous budgetary allocation to meet the (UNESCO) requirement of 26% allocation” PDP said.

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