El-Rufai to Contest Kaduna Governorship Seat
Former FCT minister, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, is believed to be the favourite to fly the flag of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 governorship election in Kaduna State, party, according to insiders.
El-Rufai will be having a head-to-head clash with Hon. Ashiru Isa Mohammed Kudan, who is the vice-chairman of the plum appropriation committee of the house of representatives.
It has been gathered that, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, a national leader of the party who enjoys enormous goodwill in Kaduna State, is backing the candidacy of el-Rufai.
While Kudan is being backed by the former governor of the state, Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi , although Makarfi is in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar is also said to be backing Kudan, who defected from PDP to APC early this year as part of his plans to run for governorship since the current governor, Alhaji Ramalan Yero, is virtually certain to pick PDP’s ticket. However, el-Rufai’s deft moves in the APC state congress have placed him in an excellent position for the governorship ticket of the party.
According to TheCable, he controls over 70% of the party structure in the state and successfully helped to install Hon. Barnabas Bala Bantex as the state chairman. Bantex’s emergence was significant because that was one of the few times a Kaduna Christian would be state chairman of a major opposition political party, a move that is said to have endeared el-Rufai and APC to the southern Kaduna people.
Aside the novelty of his chairmanship, Bantex is also a popular politician in southern Kaduna, having been chairman of Kaura LGA and a member of the house of representatives before. Bantex was elected state chairman in a competitive election in June, polling 634 votes to defeat his closest rival and Ashiru’s candidate, Aliyu Lawal Silver, who had 381 delegates in his corner. Sadiq Mamman Lagos, backed by Senator Mohammed Sani Saleh, vice-chairman of senate committee on foreign affairs, got only 299 votes.
One of the factors counting in favour of el-Rufai is the fact that the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), to which he belonged, forms the largest bloc in APC, which is a merger of Nigeria’s leading opposition parties. CPC is very popular in Kaduna State and was believed, at least by its members and sympathisers, to have won the governorship election in 2011.
However, the official results showed that PDP’s Patrick Yakowa ? who would later die in an air mishap ? scored 1,334,319 votes to defeat CPC’s Haruna Sa’eed who got 1,133,564. It was a narrow margin, in the end. Kaduna is one of the “swing” states in Nigeria where no party is very sure of winning in the general election, but APC stalwarts are confident PDP will be swept out in 2015.
However, it is not just el-Rufai and Ashiru that are interested in APC’s ticket. Other aspirants are: former deputy governor of the state, James Bawa Magaji; Senator Dati Baba-Ahmed; Group Captain Bala Zaza Gora; and Hon. Samsudeen Ango Abdullahi.
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