Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna state has called on all stakeholders in the state to join hands with him in building a better Kaduna state following his re-election in last Saturday gubernatorial election.
This is just as his major contender, Hon. Isa Ashiru Kudan of the People’s Democratic Party rejected the results released by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), stating that they would challenge the results in the election tribunal over what he referred to as “failure to use card reader in seven local government areas”, noting that non-usage of the card readers should render the poll in those areas null and void.
In his acceptance speech on Monday, Malam el-Rufai said, as you did in 2015, you have again decided to entrust in me the responsibility to lead Kaduna state for another four years. I accept my reelection with gratitude and humility. I thank the people of Kaduna State most profoundly for this vote of confidence in our stewardship.
“My immense gratitude to you for voting to reelect President Muhammadu Buhari. It is heartwarming that Zaria local government gave President Buhari the highest vote in the whole country. Kaduna state has made history by electing a woman as deputy governor, the first elected in the far North of our country. You have taken a bold step forward to create a much-needed role model for every girl-child in Kaduna state and Northern Nigeria.
“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 and continue the work of rebuilding Kaduna state. Where there has been strife, let us seek calm through accord and conciliation. Where suspicion and ill-will have reigned, let us enthrone goodwill. We can do so much for the good of our state and all its people when we come together.
“We are committed to uniting the state around common values, anchored on equal citizenship, law and order, and protection of constitutional rights. There is so much to do to tackle poverty, to improve health outcomes to provide decent education, to create jobs for our youths, and to secure our communities. Let us do it together. We shall not disappoint you. You have invested your hope in us. It is a new day in our state. Let us work together to start of a better future.”
Hon Ashiru, while addressing journalists on the outcome of the election said: “I wish to state without any fear of contradiction that reports obtained by our party from across the state indicate that the elections were marred by a lot of irregularities. Our party in a petition to the State Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) rejected the results and called for its outright cancellation.
“Reports have shown that Smart Card Readers were not used during the elections in a lot of polling units in Giwa, Birnin Gwari, Kaduna North, Igabi, Zaria, Lere and Ikara local government areas. It is our firm believe that the non-usage of the Card Readers, which is a violation of the electoral guidelines, have rendered the results from these areas invalid and should have been cancelled.
“Another issue of concern to our party was the clear militarization of the electoral process in various part of the state, as military personnel were used to intimidate voters particularly in the areas where our party has an overwhelming strength and support. Example is the use of military in Birnin Gwari and Kauru local government areas. Soldiers were also used to alter the result of our house of assembly candidate in Makera Constituency of Kaduna South local government area.
“Lot of people in Kaduna state will consider it unbelievable the disparity between the numbers of votes obtained in the presidential elections and the governorship elections. Based on this and other irregularities, I hereby stand by the position of my party to challenge the concocted results at the election tribunal to get back our stolen mandate. I call on our supporters and citizens of Kaduna state to remain calm and be law abiding.”