Running mate to the People Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate in Kaduna State, Dr. John Ayuba, yesterday, in Kaduna, assure voters that PDP will do all it can to protect its votes at the polling unit and at the collection center in 2023. Ayuba made the assurance during a parley with the Southern Kaduna Journalists Forum where he discussed array of issues regarding voters’ registration, equity and fair-play along religious lines.
Ayuba added that the PDP is more than ready for the next election because it has undergone several reforms that has placed the party at pole position to clinch power in 2023 and that, part of the steps taken are responsible for some of the electoral success recorded in zone 1, especially any election that was conducted in the zone after the 2019 general election.
“Part of the successes recorded by PDP in northern part of the state, especially any election that took place after the 2019 general election is attributed to the investigations carried out after the 2019 elections on why we performed badly, the recommendations of various committees that were set-up to reposition the party and those recommendations by the various committees that were implemented,” he said.
He went further saying, “going into 2023 and the election that will ensue, I assure you that PDP is more than prepared to do more than enough to woo voters interest and protect its votes.”
The ex-Banker also spoke on how the Southern kaduna geopolitical zone will make a greater impact than the impact it created in 2019.
“In 2019, we were able to generate 510, 120 votes for the PDP against 263, 344 votes for the APC. However, in 2019 the religious card (Muslim-Muslim) was played by the APC. The APC sold their candidacy to the Muslims as a Jihad. That was a statement in deceit and that deceit of 2019 is like a broken record now, the Muslim community has come to realize that they were deceived into thinking that by voting for the Muslim-Muslim ticket they were voting for their religion.
“What has happened after 2019? More Mosques were demolished, more Muslim businesses have been destroyed in kaduna. So, they are asking, justifiably, that they thought that if they voted for the Muslim-Muslim ticket it is going to project their religion and project them as individuals. Now, the reverse is the case. So, don’t be surprised that PDP votes will go up in zone 1.
“However, because of Peter Obi of Labour Party factor, PDP’s votes may drop, some of our people are saying that Obi’s ticket deserves Christian votes. Though, we have met with some pastors and they are also talking about the Obi candidacy as being synonymous with Christianity, these Pastors are from Southern Kaduna and if they hold on to their conviction, they’ll definitely take away PDP votes away to Labour Party, we can’t hope to declare more votes. But, we are still talking to them.”
Ayuba shed more light on the steps taken to ensure that eligible voters get their voters card to boost the region’s electoral fortune as we approach 2023.
“In-terms of registration for the Permanent Voters Card (PVC), in the last one year, we have never worked this hard in getting more people to register. We worked through the Churches, the traditional institutions, through the party machinery and at some point we were not bothered about political party, we want every eligible Southern Kaduna son and daughter to be registered. Because we believed at some point they may change their minds to votes for the PDP. We have made tremendous efforts towards people accessing their PVC,” he espoused.
He called on the Southern Kaduna Journalists Forum to help galvanize the region and mobilize voters to vote like they never done and especially, that the APC is still running its ambition on a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“If APC are honest and equitable in the way they do their things, then, there must be sense of involvement of everybody. Otherwise, they are alienating a certain section of the state based on their religious affiliation and if you do that it will bring about discontentment, unhappiness and they will not be prepared to contribute for the development of the state.
“Nobody is attacking any religion, what we are just saying is that the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria says there has to be Federal Character and by Federal Character it talks of religion, ethnicity and gender. So, we must reflect that and if that is what the constitution says, we must keep to it.
“APC should honnour the constitution we have all signed up to, equity and justice are what we are asking for. If you say you don’t care about somebody because of his religious affiliation, when state-owned resources are put on the table for you, you can’t be fair in the distribution. You can’t because you have shown right from the onset that you don’t care.
“So, you as journalists, you have a responsibility to galvanize our people. We have about 60 per cent of the population of kaduna state living in the rural areas and the government have used 90 per cent of the resources of the state in one local government and the repayment of loans are direct deduction from source. What that means is that, the money that will eventually go to Kauru LG would be the balance divided to each LG after those deductions have been made and yet, Kauru didn’t benefit from the loans that were taken or the money that came from the federal government or the revenue that was generated by the state.
“So, we have a responsibility to rise together to make people understand that this is a fight for equity, fight for justice and to ensure that we lived together. When people start sensing that there is injustice, then, it will be a breeding ground for people to resort to means that are not legal or extrajudicial.”