The issue that should shape 2023 Kaduna state governorship election

“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters” –
Abraham Lincoln.

In democratic societies like Nigeria that practice presidential system, voting to elect candidates into various positions is among the most important duty that citizens are called upon once every four years to undertake.

The other duties are:defending the constitution, paying tax, etc. While voting is considered a right, it also carries with it great responsibility. And considering the importance of the outcome, only citizens that are 18 years and above are charged with that responsibility, based on the expectation that they can make the all important decisions in a careful and reasonable manner.

However, this remains the ideal, due to several critical factors, but especially, the unpredictable nature of the animal called man. When “emotion” drives voting, it’s usually to catastrophic ends. But when voters are able to exercise critical reasoning, and respect hard evidence, they are able to exercise their power to vote with great responsibility.

The United States of America is still paying the price for electing the incompetent and divisive President Donald Trump. In Kaduna state, electing Isa Ashiru Kudan, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, will be of tragedy of grave proportion.

Against this background, the election will be about one critical issue and not issues. Some people erroneously believe that several issues would determine the outcome of the crucial 2023 Kaduna state governorship election.

The gospel truth is that the stark choice before the people of Kaduna state in the 2023 governorship election is between continued physical and human capital development, which the All Progressives Congress (APC) represents or a return to the ugly era of stomach infrastructure, a term popularised by former governor of Ekiti state Ayo Fayose; it simply means the government dolling out state resources to party stakeholders, that excludes service delivery to the ordinary people, which the PDP, sadly, represents.

The governorship election will be a referendum on this singular issue, while every other issue essentially flows from it.

Nevertheless, it’s equally important to interrogate the issue(s) that the opposition PDP would want the Kaduna state people to consider, when voting. Since 2015, the PDP has predicated its campaign on the policies and programmes of the Nasir El-Rufai administration, which hasn’t cut ice with the people and is not likely in 2023. It has never put forward a credible alternative.

In 2019, Isa Ashiru Kudan was roundly defeated in the governorship election, with the APC trouncing the PDP in the local government elections of 2018 and 2021, despite its negative campaigns.

There is no reason to fear that the people will buy into the same negative campaign that the PDP has consistently mounted on the various reforms (education, public service, traditional institution, local government, etc), or the urban renewal projects, which though led to the demolition of some structures, but which the owners were adequately compensated.

What the PDP has mischievously refused to tell the people is how an omelette (development) could have been made without breaking eggs (reforms/demolition). But the position of the PDP isn’t surprising, since the PDP did neither of them, it lacks understanding of basic rudiments of governance. And Kaduna state paid dearly for its failure to do the needful..

But if the people, per any chance, decide otherwise, if they buy into the tendential argument of the PDP that the developments by the El-Rufai administration, including the urban renewal projects, were possible without demolition, then like Abraham Lincoln said, they should be ready to live with the consequences of their choices.
The clear implication will be victory for those who prefer stomach infrastructure to development. The bottom line is that the consequences will be monumental for all.

Very unfortunate is that the hard work of the last eight years by El-Rufai will be undone. El-Rufai has aged from sleepless nights, rescuing the state. It will be a monumental tragedy if Kaduna state lapses back into comatose, considering Isa Ashiru Kudan’s proven lack of capacity. He just wants to be a governor for the fun of it, like Ramalan Yero, who El-Rufai defeated in 2015.

The other big problem is that future governors will not be under any obligation to selflessly work for the people, as they will rightly interpret the rejection of APC, which has more than delivered on its promises, as a vote against progress and development.

I trust the people of Kaduna state, who have truly shown appreciation for the monumental development in all spheres, of the El-Rufai administration in the last eight years, which by far surpasses what the PDP achieved in 16 years, to massively support Senator Uba Sani, the governorship candidate of the APC.

Everyone, including die-hard PDP members, agree that the APC and its candidate, El-Rufai, have given a credible account of the mandate of the people and that Uba Sani will without doubt bountifully reap from the unprecedented achievement. They expect the election to be a walk over.

In electing Uba Sani, the first graduate of the El-Rufai Policy School, they will be ensuring not only the continuation of the progressive policies of the El-Rufai administration, but the much needed consolidation, the slogan on which, fortunately, he is running.

The bane of Nigeria’s development is the lack of continuity. El-Rufa’i deserves commendation for not abandoning any policy or project he inherited from Ramalan Yero.

Kaduna state people must reward APC with another fresh mandate, like they say, one good turn deserves another. Thankfully, based on proper evaluation of the candidates, Uba Sani stands shoulder above Isa Ashiru Kudan and the others. He is simply incomparable.

Isa Ashiru Kudan, Jonathan Asake have absolutely nothing to show for their time at the House of Representatives. And this remains a huge burden on the ambition of both men. They need to justify why they deserve another opportunity, having squandered previous opportunities. On his part, Senator Uba Sani has over delivered, despite being a first termer.

Moving forward, the people of Kaduna state must note that as in war, the elections will be dominated by all manners of mischief and propaganda, and the cruel murder of truth, such that they will be lost about what the election is really all about.

We look forward to performance based voting, which the PDP, from its antecedents, will vehemently object to, but which the good people of the state must insist on.

Musa writes from Kaduna, Kaduna state.

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