Why Kaduna voters are supporting PDP’s Isa Ashiru, by Makarfi Ambassadors

Abdullahi Ahmed is the Coordinator, General Matters, of the Makarfi Ambassadors, a political support group. In this interview he makes a case for Isa Ashiru Kudan, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Kaduna State.

How do you assess the presidential and national assembly elections that was conducted on February 25 by INEC?

The truth of the matter is that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has failed to live up to expectations. The level of transparency we expected was completely missing, giving room for manipulations by desperate politicians and their supporters. This is why our presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar and even his Labour Party (LP) counterpart are challenging the results. And I hope the judiciary will do a thorough job.

But the PDP was able to win all the three senatorial seats and 10 of the 16 House of Representatives seats in Kaduna State. Don’t you think your assessment of the conduct of the election by INEC may be misplaced?

No, it is not misplaced. The reality is that we expected to win with wider margins, and this must have affected the tally of the votes scored by our presidential candidate. At the tribunal, we will present all the evidences we have, and people will understand our position.

The governorship and state assembly elections are scheduled to take place on Saturday March 11. However, opinion seems divided about the candidates among stakeholders, including religious leaders. What’s your position on that?

Well, we are in a democracy with its characteristic principle of one man, one vote. Every individual that has attained the universal suffrage is entitled to his opinion. I will however advise our leaders, religious leaders especially, to tread with caution so as not to heat up the polity unnecessarily. They should avoid instigating disaffection among the people. They have the constitutional right to support candidates of their choice, but they should remember that they will be held to account for their actions, if not in this world, then certainly in the hereafter.

Looking at this scenario and more, do you think your candidate stands a chance in the governorship election?

Like I said earlier, the presidential and national assembly elections, despite the observed challenges, point to the direction that voters will take in Kaduna State. Our candidate Isa Ashiru has gone to virtually all the nooks and cranny of the state, assuring and reassuring stakeholders of a fair and true governance when elected into office. And his message has resonated with voters in all the three senatorial districts of the state and that is why they are supporting him. The voters have also seen and survived the eight hard years of the APC [All Progressives Congress]. So nobody can mislead them into taking the wrong decision because the difference between the PDP and APC in Kaduna State is like that between day and night. We urge all the electorate to ensure that their votes count and also vote Isa Ashiru Kudan.

But some are still doubting his experience and capacity to lead a complex state like Kaduna. What do you have to say?

Isa Ashiru is very well up to the task. He has been a successful businessman. He had represented Kudan/Makarfi Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives from 2007 to 2015. He had also represented Kudan Constituency at the Kaduna State House of Assembly. Before then, he had worked in the Kaduna State public service including the Board of Internal Revenue. In the area of education, he holds a master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration. He is no doubt prepared for the task ahead.

What message do you have for the electorate?

The first is for them not to be discouraged by the failures of INEC in the previous polls. Even the electoral body has noted its shortcomings and has promised to improve in this coming election. So we should all give it the benefit of the doubt and come out to exercise our civic responsibility, believing that our votes will not be shortchanged this time around. We should maintain the peace and avoid actions that can disrupt the process.

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