The governing APC won Kaduna State at both presidential and governorship elections at the just concluded polls. AZA MSUE writes on why the state is home for the APC
The much awaited governorship and state House of Assembly elections have come and gone in Kaduna State as winners are developing roadmap to kick start the next four years mandate.
Political observers identified the defection of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftains to the All Progressives Congress (APC), vigorous campaign and unity among APC members as some of the factors responsible for the victory of the ruling party in the state.
However, announcing the results and declaring Governor Nasir el-Rufai re-elected, the Returning Officer for the governorship poll, Prof. Mohammed Yahuza Bello, said el-Rufai polled a total votes of 1,045,427 to emerge winner.
Bello said the PDP governorship candidate, Hon. Isa Mohammed Ashiru, garnered a total of 814,168 votes.
According to Bello: “Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai of the All Progressives Congress (APC) having scored the highest number of votes and met all the requirements of the law, is hereby returned elected.”
Recall that during the March 9 presidential election, President Muhammadu Buhari, the candidate of the APC won Kaduna State with total votes of 993,445, while Atiku Abubakar of the PDP got 649,612 votes.
Some observers have continued to question why governor el-Rufai scored higher votes than President Buhari in Kaduna State, but political watchers argued that many PDP chieftains dumped the party with their supporters after the presidential poll and voted the ruling party in the governorship election.
A few days to the March 9 governorship poll, one of the prominent gubernatorial aspirants of the recent party primaries of the PDP, in the state, Mohammed Sani Sidi, alongside his 50,000 political associates and several other chieftains of the party across the 23 local government areas of Kaduna State in a surprise move resigned their membership of the party and joined the APC.
In a statement signed by a close associate of Mohammed Sani Sidi, Alhaji Ahmed Maiyaki, it quoted a letter sent to the ward chairman of the PDP, Unguwan Sarki Ward, Kaduna North local government area, stated 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 exists 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.”
The letter further stated, “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.
Maiyaki stated that, other prominent politicians and the associates of Sani Sidi from across the state have resigned their membership of the party.
As dust never settled down, the membership of Kaduna State chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) further depleted as executive members of Kudan local government area too defected to APC with thousands of supporters.
The former exco members who were from the PDP gubernatorial candidate, Alhaji Isa Ashiru’s local government, were received by the Secretary to the Kaduna State Government, Malam Balarabe Abbas Lawal, on behalf of Governor Nasir el-Rufai.
Speaking on behalf of the defectors, a former commissioner of Local Government Affairs, Alhaji Magaji Sadiq Hunkuyi, said that they dumped the PDP because it neglected the people of Kudan area council and the internal crisis ravaging the state chapter of the party.
The season of defection continued as the chairman PDP Zaria local government, Alhaji Samaila Musa, and other chieftains along with their teaming supporters dumped the party for the APC barely four days to the governorship and House of Assembly elections in the state.
At the meeting with the senator-elect representing Kaduna North Senatorial District, Suleiman Abdu Kwari, the chairman said the decision to dump the PDP was born out of the desire to support el-Rufai’s re-election bid.
He further stated that the governor could continue the good work he started in infrastructural development and other social investment programmes which were geared towards improving the well-being of the people.
Recall that Zaria Local government emerged as the LG that produced the highest votes for President Muhammadu Buhari during the last presidential elections which held on February 23, 2019 out of the 774 Local governments in Nigeria with 111,082.
Earlier, a staunch member of the PDP in the state, Ahmed Maiyaki, who was former Director General, Media and Publicity to immediate past Kaduna state governor, Ramalan Yero, defected to the ruling APC in the state and at federal level.
In a statement by Maiyaki, he explained that his decision was made after consulting with his family and dissecting the development plans of the two candidates of the dominant APC, Governor Nasir El-Rufai and PDP Isa Ashiru Kudan.
“This decision has become necessary in view of the inability of the party at the state and its gubernatorial candidate, Isa Ashiru Kudan, to provide an alternative development plan if elected to lead the state….Isa Ashiru Kudan has not put in place any plan to sustain or surpass these achievements.” Maiyaki said.
The statement said, “Isa Ashiru Kudan has not put in place any plan to sustain or surpass these achievements.
“Having consulted widely with my political associates, family and friends, l have decided to resign my membership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“This decision has become necessary in view of the inability of the party at the state and its gubernatorial candidate, Isa Ashiru Kudan to provide an alternative development plan if elected to lead the state”
“It is on record that the bar of governance in Kaduna State is admirably high at the moment and we as indigenes of the state have a duty to sustain this feat. Sadly, the PDP in Kaduna and its gubernatorial candidate, Isa Ashiru Kudan, have not put in place any plan to sustain or surpass these achievements.
“To this end, l have notified and returned the membership card to officials of the PDP at my ward. Accordingly, l have registered as a member of All Progressive Congress (APC) whose candidate, Gov Nasir Ahmad Elrufai has proven competence and vision for Kaduna State.
“I wish to state unequivocally, that @elrufai’s vision for my dear state is unmatched by any of the candidates seeking to be governor of the state in the March 9 polls. l believe Elrufai has the capacity, experience and interest to serve Kaduna better. l therefore declare my total support for his candidature and urge other like minds to do so. Kaduna truly deserves a competent leader, we cannot afford anything less” Maiyaki said.
Speaking on his victory, el-Rufai called on the people of the state to join hands together to build a better state.
The governor, who commended the people for voting him again as they did in 2015, said his administration would not disappoint the electorates.
The governor also said he would listen to opposing views: “we invite them to join hands with us so that we can together build a better Kaduna State. The elections are over, and so should the divisive rhetoric that certain persons and groups chose to inject into the campaigns. It is time to come together.
“You have again decided to entrust in me the responsibility to lead Kaduna State for another four years. I accept my re-election with gratitude and humility. I thank the people of Kaduna State most profoundly for this confidence in our stewardship.”