In this report, SUNDAY ISUWA and Danjuma Joseph write on the penetration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) into some senatorial districts in Nasarawa state as the president visits today
In 2015 elections, president Muhammadu Buhari lost Nasarawa State to then president Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari’s party had a seating governor but that could not change the result of the presidential polls.
The present ruling APC has continue to penetrate some of the places it lost in the presidential elections ahead of the February 16 Presidential and National Assembly elections.
Buhari’s visit to Nasarawa State, according to some party faithful, is to seek their mandate for another four-year term which will enable him take Nigeria to the ‘Next Level.’
Politicians in the state, it was gathered, are now converging on Nasarawa to forge a common front, vowing to deliver President Muhammadu Buhari and Engr Abdullahi Alhaji Sule as well as all other APC candidates in the coming elections.
The resolve, it was gathered, was further strengthened when the campaign rallies of President Muhammadu Buhari/ Engr Abdullahi Sule stormed the Nasarawa West Senatorial District which was characterized by massive turnout of party faithful, loyalists and supporters.
The state gubernatorial campaign train, which kick started its activities on Thursday, January 24, with rallies held in Umaisha, Toto and Gadabuke all in Toto Local Government Area, witnessed massive turnout of enthusiastic party supporters, who restated their commitment to deliver all the candidates of the APC during the election.
The state wide gubernatorial campaign rally saw the campaign train stop in Loko, Udege, Nasarawa, Panda, Karshi, Karu, Keffi, Agwada and Garaku as well as Nasarawa, Karu, Keffi and Kokona Local Government Areas, which senatorial district shares boundary with the Federal Capital Territory ( FCT) , Abuja.
In Nasarawa, headquarters of Nasarawa Local Government Area, Traditional rulers were not left behind. The team first paid a courtesy call on the Emir of Nasarawa, HRH Alhaji Ibrahim Jibril.
At the palace, it was gathered that the politicians become religious and could not leave the palace until prayers were offered for the success of the campaign.
Government College Nasarawa was used for the campaign with massive crowd seen chanting ‘Sai Baba, Sai Sule.’
Party faithful said the reception at the rallies was heart-warming and infectious, with party supporters and well-wishers trooping out enmasse to pledge their unflinching loyalty to the APC, President Muhammadu Buhari and Engr A. A Sule as well as all other candidates of the party.
Harping on the need to foster unity and eschew the politics of bitterness, governor Umaru Tanko Al-makura, used the opportunity to appeal to all those harbouring one ill-feeling or the other to imbibe the spirit of forgiveness in a bid to move the party to the next level.
Al-makura who doubles as the chairman, Board of Trustees of the campaign, is also the APC candidate for Nasarawa South Senatorial zone.
While calling on party members to eschew the politics of bitterness and embrace one another in peace and unity, Al-makura urged supporters to deliver the APC in the coming election for all elective positions.
Al-makura commended the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for bringing lasting peace to Nasarawa State in the wake of the herders/farmers crisis.
“Since his assumption to office, President Buhari ensured that there is security of lives and property for farmers and herdsmen in the state, enabling them to go out on their daily activities without fears,” Al-makura said while assuring the President of unprecedented victory come February 16.
Al-makura further urged party faithful to mobilize votes for the APC, as well as Engineer A. A Sule and all other candidates of the party.
“If you are going out to vote, ensure to take along with you, a friend or two, your relatives as well as well-wishers. That way, the APC is assured of maximum votes,’’ Al-makura stated.
In Garaku, the governor urged the people to shun politics of religion promising to extend the road linking the Lafia Cargo airport with Abuja to pass through Garaku which according to him, will open up the towns for business opportunities that will impact positively on the livelihood of the people.
The party’s governorship candidate, Eng Sule, while addressing party supporters and loyalists throughout the rallies, pledged to build on the infrastructure put in place by governor Al-makura.
“Nasarawa State, since the CPC era has been identified as a bastion for Buhari. By the grace of God, come February 16, we will all troop out to vote President Buhari again,” Sule told an enthusiastic crowd in Karu.
“Let us vote for Buhari because he is delivering. Let us vote for A A Sule because governor Al-makura has delivered,” the candidate urged the surging crowd.
Equally addressing a mammoth crowd at the Emir’s palace in Keffi, Chairman of the campaign council, Hon. Ahmed Aliyu Wadada, urged various aspirants under the APC who lost out during the party’s primary election to forgive one another and come together for the success of the party.
Wadada who also lost to Sule during the primaries, was enthusiastic when he called on the people to vote for President Muhammadu Buhari, A A Sule, Sen Abdullahi Adamu as well as all other candidates of the party.
Reviewing the entire exercise, Director General of the A A Sule Campaign Organization, Sen John Danboyi, described their rallies as successful, stressing that the massive turnout of supporters is a confirmation of the popularity and general acceptance of the party.
The rallies which drew mammoth crowds, according to the APC supporters, was the manifestation of the acceptance and popularity of the APC in the state.
Danboyi expressed satisfaction on the way and manner the campaign train was received in all the venues of the rally.
“This shows that in 2019, we are going to have, if not a higher victory than what we had in 2015. This election, APC will win with a large margin and in peace,” Danboyi said.
Speaking in Garaku, APC state chairman, Chief Philip Tatari Shekwo, said the campaign strategy of the party involves showing the people what governor Al-makura has done and what Engineer A A Sule will come and do.
The state Secretary of the party, Alhaji Aliyu Bello accused the opposition for resorting to politics of tribe and religion.
He challenged party officials but elected and appointed to deliver the party at their various polling units, threatening to sanction officials who fail to deliver their units.
Women and youths were also not left out in the rallies as they turned up in their numbers to grace the occasion across all the venues in Nasarawa West.
Former Secretary to the State Government, Hajiya Zainab Ahmad while speaking in Nasarawa on behalf of women in the zone, said it will amount to betrayal if women failed to vote for the APC in the coming election.
“I was appointed and we actively participated in governance. Five women were recently appointed as commissioners. If we refused to vote for this great party, then as women we have betrayed the trust reposed in us,” she said.
She vowed to deliver 150, 000 votes to the governorship candidate of the party from Nasarawa Local Government Area.
The rallies witnessed presentation of flags to all its candidates participating in the election, with members of the Board of Trustees, members of the State Campaign Council, members of the state executive council of the party, elder statesmen/women, esteemed stakeholders in attendance.
Buhari’s visit, according to some political pundits, is significant.
The only state to have elected a governor under the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the party founded by General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) shortly before the 2011 general election, Nasarawa State has continued to demonstrate total loyalty to the President under Al-makura.
Even before the coming of President Muhammadu Buhari to power in 2015, Nasarawa State has already began to experience change in 2011 shortly after Governor Al-makura was elected governor.
With the coming of President Buhari, it was therefore not too difficult for Nasarawa State to leap to the front under the new dispensation where integrity and accountability is said to be the guiding norm.
President Buhari’s visit to Nasarawa has always been a homecoming. It was gathered that markets, shops and other businesses are always close whenever he visit.
Aside the natural love the people of the state seems to be having for President Buhari, it was gathered that some are always attracted to his character and integrity he has build over the years.
The 33KVA substation in Akurba, near Lafia, the state capital, the Farin Ruwa hydroelectricity project taken over by the Federal Government, the school feeding programme, N-Power and Trader-Moni are among several other interventions by the Buhari’s administration for which the people of the state remain beneficiaries. These are many others, it was gathered, are among the reason for which the people of Nasarawa State are rolling out the drums for his welcome.
A son of the state, Muhammed Adamu was recently appointed as the Inspector General of Police. The protracted farmers/herders crisis was said to have been brought under control through a concerted effort by the President Buhari lead administration in collaboration with the Nasarawa State government.
In Keffi Local Government Area for instance, prominent politicians resolved to sheath their swords and to embrace peace during a unity rally organized by Hon. Ahmed Aliyu Wadada, former House of Representatives member and former gubernatorial aspirant.
With former governor of the state, Sen Abdullahi Adamu, who doubles as the North Central coordinator for the Buhari/Osinbajo Campaign Organization, reconciling with Gen Abdullahi Aboki (rtd), Hon. Wadada and Barr Abdullahi Mohammed, Secretary to the State Government, the stage was released for a massive mobilisation that will surpass previous receptions Buhari had before.
Again, with a section of the Nigerian elites clamouring for the return of the locust days of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), it has become necessary for all admirers of the President to come out in solidarity and to demonstrate their love for what the President is doing in terms of fighting corruption, addressing insecurity as well as re-jigging the country’s economy.
The people of Nasarawa State have yet another opportunity to manifest their affection for a President said to be working tirelessly to preposition the country and take Nigeria to the Next Level.
With Al-makura being an unrepentant disciple of Buhari, it’s another golden opportunity for the people to reciprocate in kind, considering the landmark achievements recorded in the state since 2011. With Al-makura being celebrated as the Architect of Modern Nasarawa State, some believed it behooves on them to show solidarity to Buhari as he tours the home of solid minerals today.