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Why Kaduna APC leaders want Buhari, El-Rufai re-elected

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Why Kaduna APC leaders want Buhari, El-Rufai re-elected

For political leaders in Kaduna State, Saturday, September 16, 2017, was a day like no other in the state, at least in recent times. Setting aside all differences and burying all hatchets, leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from ward to national levels, in an unprecedented move, gathered at an expanded stakeholders’ meeting and unanimously endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari as the state’s favorite for the 2019 presidential election. Similarly, the delegates endorsed the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el Rufai as the candidate of the party in the 2019 gubernatorial election. In all, APC leaders from all the 255 electoral wards of Kaduna State attended this very successful meeting, which held at the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Hall in Kaduna.
At this epoch-making political gathering were the state governor, Mallam Nasir el Rufai, virtually all the members representing the state in the National Assembly, all the APC members of the state House of Assembly, all the Local Government Chairmen, party executives at ward, state and national levels as well as several other critical stakeholders across the three senatorial zones of Kaduna State.
All the persons who spoke at the Kaduna Stakeholders’ meeting affirmed that in just two years of APC’s rule under President Buhari, Nigeria has begun regaining its rightful place as a peaceful, stable, cohesive, indivisible, economically viable and internationally respected nation.
Not surprisingly, the political leaders in Kaduna resolved, at this meeting that never again would the State vote into any political office persons that are known to be corrupt, aloof, inept, clannish or unprepared for the rigours of the high office they are supposed to occupy.  
As one of the key organizers of the phenomenal APC stakeholders’ meeting in Kaduna, I must confess that since the outcome of the event was made public, I have received several calls, text messages and emails lauding the endorsements of President Buhari and Governor El Rufai for second terms in office. However, a few persons have challenged me to openly disclose what the stakeholders were told that both President Buhari and Governor El Rufai have achieved thus far, that swayed them to pass the confidence vote on both men. I have, with all due respect, since accepted this challenge. 
On President Buhari, leaders of the APC in Kaduna State, especially our dear governor, Mallam Nasir el Rufai spent hours enumerating and offering proper details of the achievements of Mr. President in just two years in office.  Party members were told, among other things, that in the crucial area of the economy, the Buhari administration has returned the country to unprecedented growth in particularly agriculture and solid minerals. 
The Kaduna political leaders, many of whom are big-time farmers, were beside themselves with joy when the facts were laid bare that the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (which involves a partnership with the Government of Morocco, for the supply of phosphate), has resulted in the revitalization of 11 blending plants across the country - the benefit of this include annual savings of US$200 million in foreign exchange, and ₦60 billion annually in budgetary provisions for fertilizer subsidies. Of course, many of the party leaders at the meeting said they were well aware that the scheme has also made it possible for farmers to purchase fertilizer at prices up to 30 percent cheaper than previously available.
In the all-important area of provision of critical infrastructure across the country, delegates at the meeting acknowledged the fact that road projects are ongoing across the country; many of these projects had been abandoned in recent years because of mounting debts owed by the Federal Government to contractors. They also appreciated the fact that the Buhari Administration is also pushing ahead with the revitalization of Nigeria’s 3,500km network narrow-gauge railway. In addition, Abuja’s Light Rail system is slated to go into operation later this year.
After enumerating the huge achievements of President Buhari in just two years, Governor Nasir el Rufai bluntly informed the gathered stakeholders that the political future of President Buhari is closely tied to his own personal political future. He reminded the Kaduna APC leaders that he (El Rufai) was among the few persons who begged and prevailed on President Buhari to run for the office of the President of Nigeria in 2015, after three unsuccessful previous attempts. It was the view of Mallam El Rufai that if President Buhari does not accept the plea to run for a second term in office, the nation stood the risk of returning to the dark era of ineptitude, corruption and insecurity.
Mallam El Rufai was so emphatic about his insistence on the continuation of Buhari in office beyond 2019 that he even suggested that he (El Rufai) might not be keen on seeking reelection as Governor of Kaduna State if President Buhari decides not to seek reelection in 2019. In fact, the governor reminded the political stakeholders in Kaduna that as far as he could remember, he was the only person President Buhari prevailed on to run for office.  
At this stakeholder meeting, an emotional Governor El Rufai said he was happy he has not betrayed the trust reposed in him by President Buhari and the teeming electorates in Kaduna. The political stakeholders agreed with the governor and cited the fact that the visit of President Buhari to Kaduna three weeks ago to commission the multi-billion naira Olam Farm, was the president’s first official visit outside Abuja since he returned from his medical vacation. This, many of the stakeholders agreed, can only be a measure of the unwavering love, trust and confidence he has in the Kaduna State governor. They were also quick to point out that the solidarity rally the Kaduna State Government organized for the president shortly after his arrival from medical vacation in London remains unprecedented.  
Similarly, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai has attracted to Kaduna State, the biggest poultry and hatchery farm in the whole of West Africa. The farm, which is worth about $150 million, was constructed by the Olam group. The group had on Friday, April 8, 2016, commissioned another mega farming project in Kaduna, the Olam Integrated Feed Mill and Poultry project in Chikpiri Gabas village.
In the same regards, the agricultural revolution in Kaduna State under Governor El Rufai has caught the attention of the highly successful Dangote Group. The company is currently investing $10 million (about N2 billion) on a 7000-hectare tomato farm and
processing plant in the state. Similarly, the Stallion Group has also committed about 100 million USD investment to rice farming and milling in the state. Of course, sensing business expediency, Indorama, one of Africa’s largest fertilizer companies has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to build an organic fertilizer plant in Kaduna to power the agricultural revolution going on in the state.
Conscious of the fact that Kaduna State is the leading producer of ginger in Nigeria, Governor El Rufai has perfected plans to triple yields between this year and 2018. On this score, the state government is collaborating with the Central Bank of Nigeria to enable ginger farmers in the state access a N5billion loan to boost ginger farming. It is the hope of the governor that when the loan is properly harnessed and utilized as intended, ginger farmers will be empowered economically as the crop is in great demand across the globe. Already many ginger farmers in Kaduna State are hitting gold as they are merrily exporting several tons of their produce to China, Chad, Sudan and Ghana while a considerable volume is being sold locally.
But for Governor El-Rufai, it is in abundant deposits in raw Gold and Nickel that Kaduna State holds the aces. He disclosed recently that solid minerals alone would attract about N40 billion investments, and urged investors to explore the opportunities in the state. No doubt, good times are in the offing. 
Sani is the Special Adviser on Inter-Governmental Affairs and Political Matters to the Governor of Kaduna State.

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