Sunday Trust online

Re: INEC and Kano’s controversial assembly by-elections

Sunday Trust edition of February 24 carried a misleading feature report about the conduct of by-elections in Gaya and Garko local governments of Kano State, insinuating that the landslide victory of PDP in the elections was “controversial”.But what made the polls controversial? Perhaps the reporter was referring to the ranting of disgruntled elements, the hues and cries of electoral rodents, the whining of dejected politicians, who were wedged this time round by the electorate from stealing their mandates.

If the author of the report is acting a script, he moved an inch further to overact the script. While whitewashing the truth, mangling the facts, distorting the history, the reporter ended up presenting the scenario inside out.
Had the reporter taken a short voyage through the history, some editorial gaffes would have been avoided. According to the reporter, the “belief was hinged on the theory that historically, majority of the electorates (sic) are staunch supporters of the ANPP and they have always pulled their weight behind the party to guarantee its victory during elections.” This is clearly untrue in view of the fact that Gaya, Garko, have been the stronghold of PDP. From 1999 to 2003, the councilors, local government chairman, members of the State and Federal Constituency were all produced by PDP. With these obvious facts, how have Gaya people “always pulled their weight” behind the ANPP?
The voice of the people had really echoed the loudest in Gaya and Garko Local Governments when PDP polled 42,696 and 53,896 votes respectively, routing its distant but boastful opponent, the ANPP, which got less than 3,000 votes in each of the local governments.
The landslide victory, which saw the PDP increasing its tally in the State House of Assembly from 30 members (against ANPP’s 10 members) to 31, was attained through the doggedness of Gaya and Garko electorate and also the solid support-base of the PDP in the area.
But certain individuals, who were humbled and humiliated by the outcome of our party’s victory, are crying wolf where there is none. A certain senator who lost out in his country home polling unit during the by-election, had threatened violence during an interview with a Kano-based radio station a few days to the election, saying that he would deploy thousands of thugs to the areas, and that he had the support of security agents “at the top”.
The party thugs succeed in attacking the house of PDP candidate in the Gaya by-election as threatened by the senator. While the PDP candidate’s house was destroyed and torched, several other vehicles were damaged when his party thugs attacked our supporters on Wednesday, 30th January, 2013. Among the vehicles razed by the ANPP thugs included the van of National Programme on Immunization (NPI).
It can be recalled that in order to ensure smooth conduct of election, the parties and the police agreed to a special rooster for campaign rally but the ANPP breached the accord and stormed Garko on 30th January -- a day set aside for PDP to organise its rally in the area. Only a party that recognises violence as its key manifesto will breach this accord.
History has shown that the ANPP government, in its eight years of maladministration, had elevated thuggery and idleness to high heavens, giving birth to a queer phenomenon called “Jagaliya” in Kano State. The party also had the record of conducting the worst by-elections and local government elections in the history of Kano State. Between 2003 and 2011 when ANPP was in power, by-elections for either legislative or council chairmanship slots were held Makoda, Ajingi, Rogo, Nassarawa, Rimingado, Karaye, Dambatta (Kore ward), among others. Obviously these areas were strongholds of PDP, but ANPP deployed an army of thugs to either attack the people or stuff and snatch the ballots. In 2007 local government election, PDP won almost all the local governments in the state, but the ANPP government arm-twisted the victory. This daylight robbery sparked a wave of violence in the state and led to the arson and killing of several members of our party.
Against the reporter’s inference, the fact is that the victory of PDP did not come as a surprise to every discerning mind. Those who keep tab on Kano politics will notice the rapid transformation and the record-breaking achievements recorded in the last one and half year by the PDP government.
If those outside the state will reckon with the achievements of Governor Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, what about the people living in the state -- the people whose lives have been directly or indirectly affected by Governor Kwankwaso’s populist-oriented programmes? I mean people living in places like Gaya (where 2 hospitals were built. The general hospital underwent total overhaul within a year) or Garko (which benefitted from Governor Kwankwaso’s rural road network project and water supply)? In Gaya local government alone, within a year and half, the present administration has built modern classroom blocks (Kwankwasiyya type) in many locations of the local government, 5 km dual carriageway road is being constructed, school principal quarters is built, community bank provided, school feeding and uniform programme is reintroduced, among others.
Part of the senator’s political antics in order to win election by hook or by crook is to employ violence or induce voters and other critical stakeholders in election. Since Gaya and Garko constituents had rejected the old orders, he now devised a new way of registering his grouse. As INEC stood its ground and issued certificates of return to the winners, the senator is knocking on the doors of editors and reporters
The outcome of these two elections is both a litmus test and a pointer that people of Kano State have appreciated the level of achievements recorded by the PDP government in the last one and half year. It is also a victory against electoral bandits and rogue land speculators, who specialize in both snatching the ballot and the land of the people.
Gaya wrote from Gaya Local Government, Kano State


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