El-Rufai, PDP In A Fight To Finish In Kaduna
As the Saturday, March 18 date for the governorship and state assembly elections approaches, political observers project that the seeming redrawing of Nigeria’s electoral map, which began during the February 23 presidential and National Assembly elections, could continue.
That means the reign of some gladiators in some political parties and states will be determined at the polls. So, it is either they guard their ‘political kingdom’ and win their turf for their parties or they are dethroned.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s Kaduna State presents one such interesting scenario. During the February 25 elections, the Peoples Democratic Party almost rendered the governor, a king without a kingdom with his ruling All Progressives Congress getting a thorough beating at the polls.
The PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, defeated the APC candidate, Bola Tinubu, in the state.
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Atiku garnered 554,360 votes to beat Tinubu, who got 399,293 votes to come second while the Labour Party’s Peter Obi polled 294,494 votes to claim third position.
El-Rufai has been the governor of the state since 2015 under the APC. But, under his reign, the APC lost the three senatorial seats to the PDP at the National Assembly polls.
The main opposition party also won 10 seats out of the total 16 seats for the House of Representatives in the state.
The Central North Senatorial district seat was won by Lawal Usman of the PDP who polled 225,066 votes to defeat the former Chief of Staff and Commissioner for Budget and Planning to Governor El-rufai, Abdullahi Sani, of the APC, who garnered 182,035 votes.
According to the Returning Officer, Prof. Haruna Adamu of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, the candidate of the Labour Party, Ibrahim Sani, came third with 87,510 votes while Umar Tijjani of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, polled 24,395 votes to place fourth.
The PDP also clinched the Kaduna North Senatorial District won by its candidate, Khalid Mustapha, who defeated the incumbent, Senator Suleiman Kwari, of the APC.
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Mustapha scored 250,826 votes to defeat Kwari, who got 190,008 votes.
The governorship battle
Against the above backdrop, many see the Saturday governorship election in the state as both challenging and of course interesting, a battle to finish between El-Rufai’s APC candidate and the PDP.
The PUNCH reports that no fewer than nine governorship candidates in the state on March 6 endorsed the candidate of the PDP, Isa Ashiru, as the consensus candidate.
Under the platform of the ‘Kaduna State Rescue and Rebuild Gubernatorial candidates Forum,’ they claim that the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC is a mere ploy to divide the state along religious lines.
The nine parties comprised the Young Progressives Party, Action Alliance, Allied Peoples Movement, All People’s Party, All Progressives Grand Alliance, and National Rescue Movement as well as the leadership of the Accord Party, ADP and the Zenith Labour Party.
Addressing a press conference in Kaduna, the Chairman of the Forum, who’s also the governorship candidate of the YPP, Sani Yaya, said they decided to endorse the PDP candidate because he remained the best man for the job.
Going by how people voted in the state during the presidential election, pundits believe the PDP could have its best outing since 2015 this time around. If the pattern of voting continues, the PDP might cruise to victory again on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the idea of a Muslim-Muslim ticket strategy introduced by El-Rufai, which worked for him in 2019, may also be in favour of the APC governorship candidate, Uba Sani.
Before his election as senator in 2019, Sani had served as political adviser to El-Rufai in 2015. He is the incumbent senator for Kaduna Central senatorial district
His campaign jingles and programmes dominate virtually all local radio stations in Kaduna.
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He promises to review and build on El-Rufai’s achievements in the past seven and half years, though citizens of the state do not seem to generally be in agreement on the governor’s achievements, especially, Christians, who might have reservations. The APC’s Muslim-Muslim ticket is what the opposition parties are exploiting to campaign against the APC.
Meanwhile, as much as the election is majorly between the APC and the PDP, there is also a major factor which is the growing influence of the Labour Party.
The LP governorship candidate, Jonathan Asake, was the President of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union, which makes him popular in Southern Kaduna. Asake is an obstacle which the APC and the PDP have to deal with.
No doubt, the major contest will be between the APC and the PDP on Saturday, and while the PDP will want to capitalise on the success it recorded in the presidential election in the state, the ruling APC will be doing everything to spring back into reckoning from the February 25 defeat and save the outgoing governor from a devastating political misfortune.
JUST IN: INEC To Hold Supplementary Elections April 15
The Independent National Electoral Commission has decided that all outstanding governorship, National and State Assembly supplementary elections will take place on Saturday 15th April 2023.
This was made known by the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi on Monday.
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Oyekanmi said, “Arising from its meeting held today, the Independent National Electoral Commission has decided that all outstanding governorship, National and State Assembly supplementary elections will take place on Saturday 15th April 2023.
“A detailed official statement will follow shortly.”
Why Idahosa Should Be Next Edo Governor – Group
A support group under the aegis of Greater Edo State (GES) has an appealed to the member representing Ovia Federal Constituency in the National Assembly (NASS), Hon. Dennis Idahosa to be ready to throw his hat into the 2024 governorship race
The group noted that Idahosa has delivered on his responsibility as a lawmaker at the national level as a first timer, noting that he would change the narrative in the state if entrusted with the number one job of state.
Coordinator of the group, Mr Emmanuel Asekhame made the appeal in a release titled, “Entrusting Dennis Idahosa With Higher Responsibility in Edo State” and made available to newsmen in Benin on Monday.
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While noting that they were unaware of the clamour for power shift to the Central senatorial district of the state, Asekhame, however, appealed to relevant stakeholders to work towards presenting the best for the people irrespective of the ethnicity.
The coordinator further posited that they were not aware where it was documented that power must rotate from one senatorial district to the other.
The group said: “While we don’t want to dwell on the issue of power rotation, we must however state that there was no where that the issue of power rotation was agreed upon or even documented, we only speak on it on the basis of fairness and equity and nothing more.
“As a group, our concern primarily is how to ensure that the people enjoy good governance and we believe that Idahosa has what it takes to ensure that Edo people enjoys dividends of democracy as evident in his stewardship to the people of Ovia Federal Constituency.
“As a first timer, the Ovia representative have broken the ceiling and enthrone quality representation to the people of Ovia.
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“His numerous projects and empowerment programmes abounds for everyone to see. The lawmaker has also initiated and sponsored bills and move motions that have changed quality of lives of his constituents.
“Idahosa has brought dynamism in representation by always being on ground at his constituency almost every weekend.
“His compassion and zeal to better the lives of his constituents is second to none in the history of our dear state.
“This is exactly why we felt that he would do better when entrusted with higher responsibility in Edo State.”
Power Derived From Rigged Elections Not From God – Shehu Sani
Senator Shehu Sani, a former federal lawmaker has countered those with the insinuation that all winners of the just concluded general elections had the backing of God.
Some politicians, particularly those of the ruling party, had called on Nigerians to accept the outcome of the polls, stating that it is the will of God.
However, those of the position party, including the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi had insisted that the outcome of the polls was not the will of God, asking Nigerians not to accept the results.
READ ALSO: Old Naira Notes Being Used For Vote Buying In Kaduna – Shehu Sani
Speaking on Arise TV, Obi had said, “The problem of Nigeria is accepting what is unacceptable. That’s not God’s wish. God’s wish is when you do the right thing”.
In a similar vein, Shehu Sani, a former lawmaker, said, “power derived from rigged election is not from God”.
In a post on his verified Facebook page, Senator Sani said, “after they buy votes, falsified figures and rigged elections, they will bring in religion to launder and legitimise their evil; and want you to believe that power is from God”.
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