Kaduna: Yero, El-Rufai Battle For Govt House

By Saxone Akhaine Northern Bureau Chief   |   17 January 2015   |   11:00 pm  

THE political temperature in Kaduna State has assumed a new dimension ahead of the 2015 governorship election. The battle for political supremacy is now pitched between the incumbent Governor, Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and erstwhile Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Nasir E-l Rufai, who is vying on the All Progressive Congress (APC).

  Both candidates are engaged in serious political arguments that border on poor infrastructure development in the state and the level of insecurity in Southern Kaduna where gunmen have wrecked

havoc by unleashing terror on citizens.  Both candidates argue that the violence should be quenched before the elections, although none of them has been able to say how.

   El-Rufai has also accused Yero of non-performance, squandering the state’s resources and neglecting the developmental needs of Kaduna people. He further pointed to the inability of the government to put an end to gun attacks in Southern Kaduna as a measure of the poor leadership style of the governor.

     Irked by the level of criticisms, Yero, told thousands of PDP supporters that the opposition was behind the violence and crisis in the state, insisting, however, that nobody has the monopoly of violence. Yero also stressed that the PDP would not succumb to any form of intimidation from the opposition.

He remarked that the PDP believed in peace and issue- based campaign, but warned that anybody who engaged in violence would be dealt with, even as he added that should they fail to live in peace, the state government would make them face the full wrath of the law.

   On his part, El-Rufai denied the allegation that he was instigating his supporters to foment trouble during the forthcoming elections and accused the governor of deliberately casting the APC in bad light before the people.

    He pointed to the unfortunate incident of the 2011 elections in the state when crisis erupted and curfew announced after it was found that the defunct CPC was leading in the elections. He said the imposition of curfew paved the way for alleged rigging of the results.

     El-Rufai said: “We have renewed ourselves and our structures for the next phase of our journey of change. The APC Kaduna Change team has strengthened itself in unity; we march on to the elections as a mighty, broad movement, representing the best of Kaduna State and ready to bring change, unity and progress to Kaduna State.

  “The task before us is huge, but we have the might of the people behind us. We will need the people’s steady support, not only for electoral victory, but to govern effectively and to put our state on the path of sustainable change. The people of Kaduna State now know

that the PDP government has collected and spent N600 billion in just seven years; yet, there is little evidence of all that in the poor infrastructure base of the state, whether roads or water supply, or in human capital development, jobs and social welfare indices.

   “Kaduna State has the highest debt level per capita in Nigeria; yet it is also rated by the World Bank as the worst place to do business in Northern Nigeria. Even our capital city, Kaduna, from where the huge landmass and peoples of Northern Nigeria were administered for

decades, is almost stagnant, appearing dazed by the sheer incompetence it is enduring.”

   Mallam El-Rufai said, “It is obvious that the present government has beaten our Kaduna State to the ground. We are ready to make our Kaduna State to stand tall again, as a bastion of peace, prosperity and progress; a bulwark of harmony, equality and solidarity; a magnet for talent and enterprise, a rebuke to incompetence and a shining light of positive possibilities and responsible governance.

   “It is time to kick out those who treat political power as a perpetual ego-trip, an enterprise in aggrandising themselves and their narrow circle, an excuse for gluttonic enjoyment of perquisites, a justification for an endless indulgence in vacation mentality and a

platform for feckless abandonment of responsibility.”

   However, the Vice President, Alhaji Namadi Sambo who expressed the hope that the PDP will overwhelmingly defeat the opposition in Kaduna State and at National level in the forthcoming polls, said at the commissioning of Jonathan/Sambo Campaign office in the state that the massive turnout of citizens has already shown where the direction of victory would tilt in the forthcoming elections in the state.

     Said he: “Kaduna State is a stronghold of the PDP, and we have the objective of surpassing our previous record of performance by generating at least two million votes for the presidential election. I have no doubt in our ability to meet this expectation in view of the wide acceptability of the party and positive indications that greater victories await our great party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). 

   “We have always been a popular pillar of the party and we shall prove our mettle of reliability and success again.”

     Sambo continued: “We have kept faith with our promises to the electorate. In 2011, we sought their mandate, which they graciously and overwhelmingly gave us. We are also of the strong belief that this

time around, you will once more rally round us, give us your maximum support and ensure a landslide victory for our candidates at all levels in the state.

    “Our confidence is premised on our records of achievements in the state by which we have impacted positively on your lives through our policies, beneficial programmes and laudable projects.”

    Meanwhile, another PDP Chieftain and former Governor, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, who spoke on the altercations between Yero and El-Rufai, said in an interview with The Guardian that “the opposition must have issues to raise, while, of course, the party in power will also sell out its programmes.

   “In Zaria, during the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Emir on the throne, the governor was able to enumerate what his government has

been able to do in the state. I would expect that if anybody has an issue to raise he should be been more specific in disputing the issues that the governor has

raised. 

    But, even if you are a saint, no matter how well you performed, the role of the opposition is to punch holes into your records. So, it is a normal political process and as a party in power, we should know how to tell the people how much we have done and not allow the talk that we have done nothing to derail us.”



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