By Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai
I welcome you all to the formal launch of a crucial phase in our joint quest to make Kaduna State GREAT again. We unveil today the Campaign Council that will lead the APC to victory in Kaduna State.
Our party stands poised to be elected by the people of Kaduna State; it is therefore proper to acknowledge and thank the members whose efforts and sacrifices have helped to position us as the people’s choice.
Our teeming members across the state are the pillars of our party, and their commitment and hard work continue to strengthen the APC. The leaders of the legacy parties that merged into the APC deserve praise for evolving, out of many, a united party structure fit to carry the hopes of our people.
The members of the interim executive did a sterling job to further broaden the appeal of our party, and to incorporate new members. The elected executive of the party at the state, zonal and local levels have commendably maintained the momentum.
Furthermore, we recognise the continuing positive contributions of the distinguished leaders who made our governorship primaries in Kaduna State such a joyous celebration of democracy.
After the successful conclusion of our party primaries, we began a new process of inclusion to bring together all strands of our party. In that time, after a thorough search and wide consultations, the party named Mr. Barnabas Yusuf Bala (Bantex), the state chairman of our party, as my running mate.
As an accomplished political figure, with vast experience and remarkable character and intellect, I am delighted to welcome Bantex as a capable partner for the tough tasks ahead. Our pairing is a ticket of performance and integrity, and the people can see that the APC is offering unmatched quality.
We have renewed ourselves and our structures for the next phase of our journey of change. The APC Kaduna Change team has strengthened itself in unity; we march on to the elections as a mighty, broad movement, representing the best of Kaduna State and ready to bring change, unity and progress to Kaduna State.
The task before us is huge, but we have the might of the people behind us. We will need the people’s steady support not only for electoral victory, but to govern effectively and to put our state on the path of sustainable change.
The people of Kaduna State now know that the PDP government has collected and spent N600 billion in just seven years; yet there is little evidence of all that in the poor infrastructure base of the state, whether roads or water supply, or in human capital development, jobs and social welfare indices.
Kaduna State has the highest debt level per capita in Nigeria; yet it is also rated by the World Bank as the worst place to do business in Northern Nigeria. Even our capital city, Kaduna, from where the huge landmass and peoples of Northern Nigeria were administered for decades, is almost stagnant, appearing dazed by the sheer incompetence it is enduring.
It is obvious that the present government has beaten our Kaduna State to the ground. We are ready to make our Kaduna State to stand tall again, as a bastion of peace, prosperity and progress; a bulwark of harmony, equality and solidarity; a magnet for talent and enterprise, a rebuke to incompetence and a shining light of positive possibilities and responsible governance.
It is time to kick out those who treat political power as a perpetual ego-trip, an enterprise in aggrandising themselves and their narrow circle, an excuse for gluttonic enjoyment of perquisites, a justification for an endless indulgence in vacation mentality and a platform for feckless abandonment of responsibility.
The APC Kaduna Change Team is ready to restore the civilised notion of political power as a platform for service, a tool of change and an enabler of order, security, harmony, peace and prosperity. Not for us empty promises, the politics of deceit, or the promotion of violence and division. We offer only solemn readiness to sweat our all for Kaduna State.
Well before our primaries, we have consulted widely, discussing and analysing the problems of the state, and considering possible solutions to them. We published the outcome of all the analyses as a manifesto, which we have further shared with the diverse constituencies of this state, reflecting our desire to offer competent governance as soon as we are vested with the people’s mandate.
As stated clearly in our manifesto, “the APC believes that every citizen has the right to live in dignity, to aspire to and to attain the good life; that it is the duty of the government to organize society to enable every person develop their talents and be educated and healthy enough to make the best choices for themselves.
The APC believes in you; that you possess the dynamism and the ability to grow yourself and make a contribution to society. What we seek is the responsibility to work with you to secure lives and property, create jobs, provide healthcare and build a prosperous society for all.”
This summarises the values and thinking behind our programme for Kaduna State. We are primarily committed to good governance, competently deploying public resources to the public good and taking responsibility for securing positive outcomes.
The APC Kaduna Change Team is committed to fostering an environment that secures lives and property by tackling the roots of intolerance and communal violence.
Our government will invest in our people by improving capacity and delivery in Health, Education and Social Welfare. We shall make a priority of Transparent Governance and Improved Service Delivery by reenergizing and empowering the public service.
We shall rebuild and expand water supply, rural electrification, and roads infrastructure. We shall energetically promote Agriculture and Food Security, while implementing Land Reform as a basis for wealth creation and capital formation. We shall unite our people, and relate to all with fairness and equality.
The APC Kaduna Change Team will implement reforms that will create a transparent and responsible local government system, that is properly funded, autonomous and technically-strengthened to be responsive and capable of delivering services at the grassroots. We are poised to take advantage of our state’s proximity to Abuja by developing new towns in locations neighboring the federal capital territory.
Given our belief in education as a progressive and life-enhancing force, the APC Kaduna Change Team will make the first nine years of education free. This will be done in schools that will be rebuilt, repaired and renovated with modern facilities that aid learning. We shall empower our teachers with further training and incentives, and make teaching more attractive to more qualified people.
As FCT minister, we achieved the successes we did in Abuja largely with the civil servants we met there. We provided them with inspired leadership and a sense of purpose, and they delivered. We shall similarly empower the civil servants in Kaduna State to excel. We shall raise the number of healthcare professionals in the state and improve access to healthcare facilities.
We shall change Kaduna State, and make it a place that is fair to all its residents, committed to peaceful and orderly development, friendly to enterprise, supportive of talent and protective of our young, the old and the infirm. We are ready for the difficult tasks ahead. All we ask is that you trust us with your votes so that we can together change Kaduna State, and restore hope and harmony.
Our leader, General Muhammadu Buhari, is energetically mobilising the people of Nigeria to make change possible by electing him as the next president of Nigeria. We welcome the enthusiasm and tremendous response he is receiving. The way forward is to vote APC at national and state levels so that we can CHANGE Nigeria at all levels.
It is my pleasure to inaugurate our APC Kaduna State Campaign Council, the team of men and women, charged with the responsibility to manage our campaign and secure victory at all levels for the APC in Kaduna State. The members have been chosen for their experience and commitment, and I salute them all for accepting this burden.
They will coordinate our diverse efforts to successfully elect APC candidates from every House of Assembly, House of Representatives and Senatorial constituency up to the Governorship of Kaduna State, and the Presidency of Nigeria.
Under the leadership of Suleiman Hunkuyi as chairman, and Ben Kure as DG, I have no doubt that the Campaign Council will effectively mobilise and organise the people of Kaduna State, who are eager for change, to deliver victory for the APC.
The people are eager for change! Let’s Make Kaduna Great Again!
Kaduna State is Ready for Change, Unity and Progress.
Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, the APC Candidate for Governor of Kaduna State, read this speech at the inauguration of his Campaign Council and formal launch of the Kaduna State APC Team’s general election campaign.