BY IBRAHEEM MUSA
Last December, the Kaduna state chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC), had flagged off its campaign at Ranchers Bees stadium, at an elaborate and well attended ceremony. In his speech, Governor Nasir El Rufai had set out some ground rules of engagement. According to him, the campaign should go beyond mere rallies in showcasing the party’s achievements to the electorate. Specifically, in the last one month, the campaign has visited almost all the state constituencies and largely, it has kept faith with the governor’s advice.
Significantly, the APC campaign has been unique in several ways. First, it encompasses rallies, stakeholders’ meetings and door-to-door campaigns. In particular, each outing begins with a Town Hall meeting, where religious and community leaders, representatives of youths and women, including political appointees gather under one roof. Before deliberations begin, fliers will be distributed to the gathering, listing projects, political appointments and various interventions that the state government has done for the constituency. Thereafter, the floor will be opened for questions, advice and clarifications from the constituents. Afterwards, the governor, his deputy or the most senior government official present, will give answers to the issues that were raised. Largely, the stakeholder’s meetings are non-political interactions, where the government reels out its achievements and presents its scorecard.
From there, the campaign train will move to the rally ground, where candidates will be presented, amidst singing and dancing as well as speeches. In contrast, the campaign rally is devoted to political rhetoric and jamboree but mainly, the messages are usually issues-based.
Secondly, another unique characteristic of this year’s campaign is the house-to-house campaign. Here, candidates vying for various positions meet supporters in their homes. In this regard, the governor’s three wives, as well as the wife of the deputy governor, have visited several semi-urban and rural communities and canvassed for votes for APC.
Thirdly, the campaign did not ground government activities as the governor still attends to state matters. In particular, El Rufai had to leave Lere local government, after paying courtesy calls on the Chiefs of Lere and Kuriga, for a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja. However, the rally continued without him and El Rufai’s absence did not take the shine off the event.
In addition, the governor had commissioned a multi-million naira dialysis centre at Yusuf Dantsoho Memorial Hospital at Tudun Wada, in the morning of January 30. In the afternoon, he attended an event organised by the National Peace Commission, before going to Soba for a campaign tour.
Similarly, he had to leave Kafanchan town, headquarters of Jema’a local government area, for a security meeting in Abuja, after giving the opening remarks at the stakeholders meeting. However, deputy governor Barnabas Bala Bantex continued with the meeting and the subsequent rally which held at the township stadium.
Above all, the most defining feature of the APC campaign, is the insistence of Governor El Rufai not to use government vehicles for the exercise. In fact, only the governor, his deputy and commissioners used their official vehicles for this partisan engagement. However, vehicles were hired for party members and other support groups volunteered automobiles during such outings.
In this regard, El Rufai has once again proven that he understands the nuanced difference between politics and governance. That is why he has always been fair to all, irrespective of party affiliations, ethnic or religious differences, as governor of Kaduna state.
Musa is a member of the Strategic Communications Committee of the Kaduna State chapter of All Progressives (APC) Campaign Council