Governor El-Rufai’s Day of Reckoning by Hassan Yaro
Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state faces a litmus test in the Saturday governorship and State assembly elections as a motley of factors undermine his re-election bid. His too big to fail status is under crucial challenge from multiple forces.
The Governor known to be a strong member of President Muhammadu Buhari’s inner caucus is contending with the southern Kaduna crisis,his Muslim-Muslim ticket, his fractured party structure and alleged high handedness in the governance of the state.His weaknesses may however be balanced by the perceived failings of the PDP candidate ,the internal wrangling within the PDP,the federal machine and what some observers see as his re-engineering of good governance in the state.
Further checks showed that while El-Rufai has serious public image crisis among many sectors of the Kaduna society,he is also perceived to be very controversial and representative of the core hardliner within the northern APC.His statements and utterances are widely considered too threatening of the democratic polity while his politics is deemed too uncompromising of dissenting voices either within or outside his party.
Close watchers of Kaduna politics are quick to point out that El-Rufai may still win the election either by foul or legal means due to several factors.Key among the reasons according to some insiders is the militarised status quo in the state which works in favour of those belonging to the federal party.Another reason is the cult like followership already developed by the governor in the last few years.Aside from Senator Bola Tinubu,very few northern politicians has developed a cult of personality already achieved by the state helmsman.
Equally significant reason is the alleged lack of political magnetism by the PDP candidate ,Hon A.Ashiru.A tape has gone viral in the state showing the candidate unable to rightly read a statement at a party meeting.Many aspirants who contested against the candidate are also not fully in his support.While El-Rufai parades and even flaunts his intellectual credentials, the PDP candidate has not matched up ,leaving many who hates El-Rufai to be having second thought.
Leaders of PDP are however optimistic ,positing that they will still beat the incumbent on Saturday.Ashiru supporters claimed he will sweep southern Kaduna and divide votes of north and central part of the state to win.El-Rufai supporters on the contrary affirmed that their boss is too big to fail,too entrenched to be shaken and too excellent as a governor to be defeated.
Meanwhile,the state chapter of PDP has dismissed as inconsequential the defection of former NEMA chief ,Sani Sidi to the APC. The statement from.the party read as follows:
“Attention of the Peoples’ Democratic Party Kaduna State Chapter is drawn to some media reports ostensibly sponsored to deliberately mislead members of the public where the erstwhile DG NEMA Muhammad Sani Sidi was reported to have left our party on some flimsy excuses. He was reported to have accused the Party of manipulation, impunity, lack of internal democracy and intimidation of Party Delegates during the party primaries in which he was a contestant that failed to secure the party’s nomination. The report went further to imply that the Gubernatorial Candidate and the State leadership of the Party are lacking in sincere engagement towards consultative and genuine reconciliation. He also insinuated that there was mutual mistrust between the Party leadership, the Gubernatorial Candidate and some members of the Party. Finally, he holds an opinion that there is no clear cut blueprint for an efficient and effective service delivery that will cater for the welfare, peace, order and good governance for the good people of Kaduna State. 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. He has since inception of the party being a beneficiary, who had served in various capacities ranging from being a Special Adviser to Hon Nenadi Esther Usman former Minister of finance under the Obasanjo administration, a Commissioner of Works and Transport, commissioner overseeing the Ministry of Health and Commissioner for Culture and tourism. He was also the Director General of NEMA for more than six years under the auspices of our great party. It is no wonder that he failed to connect with the party delegates who subsequently rejected him at the Gubernatorial Party Congress. We expected that as an acclaimed democrat, he will embrace the outcome in good faith and re-strategize against the future, however, in his desperation he turned around to blame everybody, including the Party, but himself for his sorrowful outing. The Party has it on good authority that he influenced the Posting of the Returning Officer to the Party Congress .
“Nevertheless, he turned around to blame the Party for his defeat which is rather unfortunate. It is instructive to state, that of all the nine (9) Gubernatorial Aspirants who contested with him at the Primaries, he appears to be the only person who has complained of lack of internal democracy. The Party cannot recall where its Candidates were chosen either by fiat, impunity or imposition. As far as the Party is concerned, there has been a harmonious working relationship between him and amongst all the Aspirants, the first runner up, Dist. Sen. Suleiman Othman Hunkuyi and all other aspirants have been part of the meet-the-people tour spanning across all the 23 Local Government Areas in the State.
“At the flag-off of the Gubernatorial Campaign at the Trade Fair Complex, Zaria Road, Sani Sidi came towards the tail end of the event after almost all the speakers have spoken at the occasion. 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.
“There shall also be a review of the unjustified dismissal of teachers and other civil servants ensuring that both the teachers union, School teachers and the relevant civil service unions are given the opportunity to express themselves to enable us review their cases in a holistic, equitable and just manner. A free and excellent health care delivery system shall be provided, especially for pregnant women and children below the age of five including the elderly to alleviate their sufferings. An enabling business environment shall be created for businesses to thrive.The youths and women shall be gainfully employed, through a deliberate strategic public private partnership schemes aimed at wealth and job creation.There is a deliberate plan to upgrade roads, hospitals, schools through massive deployment of funds for the development of key infrastructural sectors.
“There is also the plan to safeguard the traditional institutions because of their ability to effectively and efficiently maintain peaceful coexistence amongst our peoples. We are familiar with the theatrics of failed aspirants who explore all avenues to seek refuge for their political misadventures.
“Similarly it has come to our notice of the seeming machinations, desperation and the handy work of the El-Rufai administration to cow the opposition and frustrate a free , fair and transparent elections in his desperation to emerge governor for a second term. The government has perfected its plans to amongst others; (1) Invite President Muhammad Buhari on Thursday to come and mobilize the voters for him since he lacks the clout amongst the people. (2) Mobilize and make maximum use of some Islamic preachers for sensitization. (3) Reach out to the leadership of the Igbo’s the Eze Ndigbo and the Ohaneze Ndigbo to discourage them from turning out enmasse on election day. (4)The APC plan the use of thugs known as (Kato da Gora) who will go from shop to shop to threaten and intimidate the Igbo’s from Thursday to Saturday against voting out the APC. (5) Suppressing of votes and blockade of PDP strongholds. (6) Militarizing the Southern Kaduna axis on election day to deliberately disenfranchise the voters because of its large PDP following. (7) He has Encouraged the Ad-hoc Staff to stuff ballots and cancel units for over voting in PDP strongholds. (8) He has also Encouraged the non-usage of card Readers in the PDP strongholds so that votes cast will not count. (9) Vote buying through buying of PDP Agents, loyalists and officials to engage in antiparty activities.
(10)The APC has equally made arrangements to massively buy votes, directly from voters on elections day, and are deploying huge resources for that purpose”,the party noted in a statement signed by Abraham Alberah Catoh ,the State Publicity Secretary of the party.