Google+ Followers

Sunday, 13 July 2014

2015 Guber: Factors That May Make Or Mar El-Rufai’s Chances In Kaduna

Namadi-Sambo
       
The speculations and permutations as to who will occupy the Sir Kashim Government house, Kaduna State in 2015 is gathering momentum, this is evident going by recent political activities, with various groups drumming up support for their preferred candidates ahead of the elections. ISAIAH BENJAMIN x-rays the possible factors that may make or mar the chances of the former minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, who, according to well-informed sources, is nursing the ambition to wrest power from the incumbent Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero of the PDP, in 2015.
The Abuja Factor
His activities as the Minister of the FCT is viewed differently by Kaduna residents, to some, the demolition exercise, when he was FCT minister, turned so many homeless, others lost their dear ones whose house was demolished and could not stand the shock. These among other reasons may stand against him in Kaduna elections; but to some, the demolition exercise restored the master plan of the Federal capital and has turned Abuja into an enviable capital. It was also said that prior to his becoming the FCT minister, the Ministry of then FCT was rotten but when he came on board, he cleansed it. The Wuse market was rebuilt by his administration and tenants were subsequently made shop owners thereafter, are among several others reasons that might work in his favour all things being equal. But to some others, should he become the next Executive Governor of the state, present landlords might become tenants while so many others might lose their business places, but others feel when he comes on board, the state will be better for it.

Emergence of State APC Chairman
The role of Mallam El-Rufai during the state congress which led to the emergence of the state APC Chairman in the person of Bala Barnabas (Bantex) is seen by some of his party members as a minus for him. According to some of the aggrieved party members, the state congress in which ten persons contested for the Chairmanship position was rigged in favour of Bantex, while accusing fingers was being pointed at Mallam El-Rufai among others as masterminds. Mallam El-Rufai is also accused of bringing in Bala Barnabas into the system from the southern part of the state to brighten his chances of picking the Governorship ticket coming from the central district. Considering the role he played in which most of those who contested the chairmanship position and their supporters are said not to be satisfied and convinced and as such they have vowed at various fora to work against his emergence as the party’s flag bearer in the first instance; but should he escape it, plan B will be brought into focus to forestall his ambition, during the actual election.

The Isah Ashiru Factor
Honourable Isah Ashiru is a two termer in the Federal House of Representatives under the PDP until recently when he defected to the APC with an intension to vie for the sir Kashim government house come 2015. He was before going to the National Assembly a former member of the Kaduna State House of Assembly. People see him as a grass root politician who stands a better chance than El-Rufai. Again, his relationship with the former Governor of the state, Senator Ahmed Muhammed Makarfi, a former Kaduna State PDP Governor, a well respected political figure in the state, might yet be another factor that may brighten his chances. Although, much was not heard of him (Ashiru) during the state congress as to whom he supported, it is very obvious that he is certainly not in the same camp with the El-Rufai group.

The Elitist Factor
Just like what happened in the just concluded Ekiti governorship election in which the incumbent of the APC lost to the former Governor of the PDP, the winning was largely attributed to the PDP Governor being a grass root politician and the incumbent being an elitist governor. Similarly, political observers sees Mallam El-Rufai as an elitist politician who lacks grass root support, and in the present day political contest, elitist politicians can hardly make head way. It is therefore obvious that unless Mallam El-Rufai take to the part of relating with the actual electorates who will actually come out in their numbers to participate in the election, and again attempt changing their perception on his person, it will certainly be an herculean task for him. He has largely played his politics at the national level with little or no impact on the state.

The PDP Factor
This perhaps may be one of the Major factors that may affect El-Rufai’s chances. It is on record that Kaduna has always been a PDP state right from 1999. The party has won its elections landslide, therefore attempting to change the equation with a very ‘unpopular person politically’ as some people referred to Mall. El-Rufai will certainly be a very difficult task. Presently, of the 23 local government Chairmen in the state, El-Rufai’s APC has only one with PDP having 22, even the one according to political analyst was a protest vote, because even as PDP has majority of the councilors from that same local government . So, if the local government is the closest to the electorates being grass root, and with all the chairmen pledging their resolve to work for the PDP, fighting such party will not be a bed of roses. Again, the state House of assembly is also dominated by the PDP members, some of who will want to retain their seats while political appointees of the PDP who are grassroots politicians, will certainly not leave any stone unturned to garner support for the party.

Incumbency Factor
The power of incumbency is yet another factor that cannot be waved aside. Although, it failed to work in Ekiti election but the reasons are not farfetched, one of which is the elitist factor which worked against the incumbent. But in Kaduna, it may be a different ball game altogether, the incumbent governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero started as a Finance Commissioner from where he was elevated to the position of the Deputy Governor, and upon the death of the then Governor late Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, Yero became the Governor. So many people see him as a governor having some sought of grass root support in view of his political positions prior to becoming the Governor. Although tongues are wagging about his slow nature of running affairs in the state, political experts says that will in no way affect his chances of retaining the seat. Therefore, attempting to wrestle power from somebody who is ‘grounded’ politically with local, state and national support will require major efforts.

Presidency Factor
If the presidency could be influential to the emergence of the Ekiti PDP Governor, it is not debatable that it would put more efforts at ensuring that PDP remains the ruling party in Kaduna State. Again, the vice President Architect Namadi Sambo is from Kaduna state and was a Governor before he was elevated to the Federal. Although, the vice President lost his polling unit to all the elections in 2011, informed sources said he has learnt his lessons and he is ready to give it all it takes this time around to ensure that his home state remains a PDP state. in view of this, a combination of incumbency factor and the powers that be from the Presidency is very likely to play out El-Rufai in the contest.

Internal Wrangling Within the Kaduna APC
The APC since its emergence has been bedeviled with crisis in the state. Observers however said, it was expected because, for three political parties to come together to form a merger party, there will be issues of attempting to gain superiority by members of the defunct party. This perhaps explains why all the Chairmen of the legacy party sought to become the party chairman of the APC. It all started when some members kicked against the Chairmanship of the Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed led state Interim Management Committee (IMC) as alleged concerted efforts was made to remove him by those who were not comfortable with him, this however was not successful but soon after many other reasons Dr Baba Ahmed opted to resign his position which he later withdrew and according to him for persuasions for relevant stakeholders. Just as that was about to die down, the PDP defectors into the APC alleged to want to stamp their foot on the ground and to cut the shots in APC, the members of the legacies party that formed the APC felt it was a slap on their faces. Then, the issue of who becomes the Chairman of the party came up, and Mallam El-Rufai was fingered to have masterminded the emergence of the present Chairman of the party in the state with the support of some well respected leaders of the party within and outside the state. This alleged singular act of Mallam El-Rufai is yet to go down well with some aggrieved members of the party, some of whom have vowed to work against him in any contest. Therefore, Mallam El-Rufai will have to first and foremost settle the internal wrangling within his party members and particularly aggrieved members if he must scale through his party primaries should he decide to contest eventually.

Call for General Buhari To Contest 2015 Presidency
It was reported in a national daily just recently that Mallam El-Rufai is asking the former Head of State General Muhammadu Buhari to run for the 2015 presidency, this did not go down well with some party members who feel asking the General who have contested three times for same position and was unsuccessful was a tactical way of giving an easy ride to the PDP should he decide to heed to his advice. Others however felt it was a good call but expressed that it was too early for Mallam El-Rufai to pitch his tent now, just like others were of the opinion that APC needs a younger person like the Founder of Leadership Newspaper Sam Nda-Isaiah to give a good fight to whoever emerges from the PDP.

Randomly sampled Opinion of Kaduna Residents on the Person of Mallam El-Rufai
Mallam Ishiaku Alkali said, “ in my opinion, Mallam El-Rufai is a better candidate for the APC but there is this misrepresentation of his person, there is also this wrong impression that is being created that when Mallam El-Rufai wins, it will be the end of road for people or politicians that feeds on government, because Mallam El-Rufai is a merit based person, so for you to get anything, you must merit it, so such kind of people are feeling threatened, and they would prefer a person that will guarantee their continuous patronage from government.”
Chief Anthony Nwanchukwu “my son, I am an Igbo man and I have lived in Kaduna for years, how can I vote for a man that will send me home” when asked what he meant, he said, “this man demolished people houses in Abuja, made people homeless and some people who could not handle the shock died, infact, he even pulled down worship places, he is not the kind of governor we need in Kaduna, that is my own opinion.”
For this man that simply calls himself Engineer, “Mallam El-Rufai is not a grass root politician, he belongs to the elitist group and it would be very difficult for him to win election against an incumbent governor, again those that surrounds him are working for PDP in disguise and he must beware of such persons because they might lead him to a doom.”
Hajia Fatima Abeeb said, “I am a landlady, how do you expect me to vote somebody who will come and demolished all my labour in Kaduna in the name of planning the state, for me I want APC to win but if they give the ticket to that man (El-Rufai) gaskiya I won’t vote for him.”
Some others share divergent views on the person of Malam El-Rufai. While some spoke in support of him becoming the governor, more persons spoke against him on grounds earlier looked into, particularly the issues of him not being a grass root politician, the demolition exercise of Abuja and the elitist factors dominated their reasons. Whether or not Mallam El-Rufai will become the next Governor of Kaduna State, only God and time will tell.
Leadership

No comments:

Post a Comment