By Mohammed Zayyad
Mallam Nasir El-Rufai is one of the best performing governors in Nigeria. So far, he is the best Governor of Kaduna State in recent times. However, Mallam lost his polling unit and ward in the local government elections conducted by the Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission on September 04, 2023.
Governor El-Rufai voted at Unguwan Sarkin polling unit 001 in Kaduna North LGA of the state. Mohammed Sani, the presiding officer, announced the final results: Unguwan Sarki Ward 007 Kaduna North Chairmanship, the People Democratic Party (PDP) scored 1,235 votes while the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) scored 948 votes, while for the councillorship position, PDP garnered 1,405 votes while the APC was behind with only 804 votes.
Unfortunately, though, the election witnessed low voter turnout and challenges in some polling units as the wrong machines were deployed. El-Rufai himself expressed disappointment about the low turnout of voters in the council polls. He said: “What worries me is that I noticed that people didn’t turn out much,” This could be one of the reasons the APC did poorly at Governor El-Rufai’s unit, the party may say.
The big questions are: Why should a performing governor’s party be rejected by the people at the governor’s polling unit? Why should a performing governor lose at his polling unit and ward? Are the people angry with the governor, his party, including his government? Are the people not happy with the way the beautiful Kaduna Urban Renewal is being handled? Is the current insecurity the state is witnessing a significant factor? Is it the issue of the sack of workers? Is the Kaduna state government out in touch with the real ordinary people? So many questions require answers because the result is a big political statement from the people to the governor, his government and his party.
Some political pundits believe that Mallam Nasir El-Rufai’s major error is that his government is not doing well in balancing policies, development, and politics. The pundits further said this is a reminder that development in a poor society must and should always consider the people’s survival first. An example was the former governor of Adamawa state, Muhammadu Umaru Bindow, who did very well in constructing roads, bridges and hospitals. Still, the people denied him and his party the APC a second term because Bindow failed in workers’ salaries and human development.
Nevertheless, El-Rufa’i is still the best governor Kaduna State has had so far. APC may go on to win the majority of the local government councils as the results come it. Still, some pockets of the results have given the opposition more strength to fight more and take advantage of areas the government is lagging. One simple example is how one of the governorship hopefuls, Honourable Ahmad Tijjani Umar, is smartly mobilising the youth and building bridges while taking advantage of the government’s weak areas. It seems it is working well for him and his party to win support from the ordinary people.
Governor El-Rufa’i should be commended for conducting a free and fair election and using modern technology to advance democracy. Furthermore, the governor’s polling unit and ward results have given the governor some clues and the need for readjustments and adjustments for future politics.
Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Abuja, email@example.com.