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Ehis Agbon, Abuja Nigeria, 5 April 2015
The gubernatorial race in Kaduna state, the political capital of Northern Nigeria, will be the focus of the international community in the coming week because of the vantage position of the state in Nigeria.
Who occupies Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, the seat of government in the state, will be a determining factor wether kaduna will continue to occupy this vantage position.
Among the front runners are the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero; All Progressives Congress APC, Nasir El Rufai; and the All Progressive Grand Alliance APGA, Polycarp Danladi Gankon.
Mukhtar Ramalan Yero is currently the governor of Kaduna state. His ascension to office was as a result of the death of governor Ibrahim Yakowa on the 15th of December 2012 in a Helicopter crash in Bayelsa State. Yero, who was the deputy governor, was sworn in the next day.
Yero’s stay in office was which many thought would be a continuation of the sterling performance of Yakowa was however beclouded by allegations of non-performance and insensitivity to the plight of southern Kaduna indigenous people in the hands of marauding nomads who constantly raid their villages killing and maiming them. While this was going on there was also all seeming abandonment of project started by late Yakowa. While Yero has attempted to complete some of these project in recent times the expectations of residents of Kaduna is a far cry from the what the people expect. These are some of the issues that will determine whether Ramala Yero will be returning to Sir Kashim Ibrahim House as governor after the 11 April 2015 gubernatorial polls in the state.
Polycarp Danladi Gankon, is a first timer in Kaduna politics. He is the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA. Before his forage into politics he was an Assistant Chief Experiment Office at the Institute of Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. He is from the predominantly Christian tribe of Bajju in Zangon Kataf Local government area in Kaduna state. Polycarp is leveraging on his position as a Deacon in the church and his exceptional character to win votes from the southern part of the state and votes from the ‘settlers’ who make up 30 per cent of the voting population in the state. Political watchers believe that the unification of the southern Kaduna votes and the votes of ‘settlers’ with the belief that Yero and El-Rufai may split the votes of the voters from the Northern part of the state where both Yero and El Rufai come from.
Mallam Nasir El Rufai, Former Director General of the Bureau for Public Enterprise and former Minister of Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory. A Quantity Surveying graduate of the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria also attended a post graduate programme at the prestigious Harvard Business school and Georgetown University, he has completed an LLB degree in University of London among many other academic and professional qualifications are some of the sterling qualities of El Rufai.
El-Rufai stand miles apart from the other contenders if past records are the determining factors in the polls but however there are other issues that the electorates may be looking at in the next captain of the state. Some of these issues which are mainly hear-say bother on purported comments by El-Rufai. The ported claim that El-Rufai would carry out demolition of property in the predominantly Christian suburbs of Gonin Gora, Gbagi Villa, Television and Sabo neighborhood was debunked by El Rufai when he visited these suburbs to campaign. He said these neighborhoods where part and parcel of Kaduna and Kaduna does not have the prototype master-plan similar to Abuja that warranted the demolition of some structures in Abuja when he was a minister. He also said his government will carry every citizen along in the administration and development of Kaduna state. He said his administration will abide by the tenets of his party manifesto for the state which states that “The APC believes that every citizen has the right to live in dignity, to aspire to and attain the good life; that it is the duty of the government to organize society to enable every person develop their talents and be educated and healthy enough to make the best of choices for themselves…..”
As the electorate excesice their civic responsibilities on 11 April 2015 in Kaduna state these front liners will clearly be leading the park.