By Shuaibu Gimi:
It is most simple to explain that the All Progressives Congress [APC] won the governorship election in Kaduna State because it got the number and percentage of votes required by law.
Equally most simple is the explanation that the party’s candidate, Senator Uba Sani, emerged the winner of the election because he was not only the candidate of the ruling APC but also a serving senator for whom incumbency factor and some other advantages arguably worked.
These explanations, which are easily available on the public domain, are simply impressionistic. They are the kind of conclusions that are usually informed or, at least, enriched by assumptions and speculations; therefore too inadequate to show a complete picture of the process that led to the victory.
Yes, Senator Sani, as a prominent member of the APC and federal lawmaker legitimately enjoyed all the visibility readily guaranteed to him by his position. He went into the race with a considerable strength that enabled him to overcome the obstacles that would have, otherwise, made it a lot tougher for him.
However, there are other factors, though consistently ignored by a lot of analysts of the gubernatorial and other elections in Kaduna State, that were responsible for the emergence Senator Sani as the governor-elect. It is only a much broader search for all the real issues that formed the basis of the decision of the majority of the voters in the state to go for him that can lead to the identification of all those other factors.
Right from the time the campaigns started, keen and fair-minded observers appeared to have recognized the fact that the APC could not have fielded a better candidate for the contest. His attitudes towards the primary elections of the party, at the end of which he became the flag bearer, portrayed him as a politician whose tact and determination were unrivalled.
The APC candidate, unlike those of the other parties, inspired confidence in the voters to the extent that he was rightly considered as the only one whose records of past performance, understanding of the real issues about the governance of Kaduna State and the required energy were most encouraging. Most informed minds in the state quickly identified the elements of reliability and likeability in his personality and consequently began to associate him with a genuine intention to serve.
On his own part, the governor-elect never took the public confidence for granted as he adopted necessary measures to prove that he was, in terms of vision and courage, the candidate to be trusted. In a typical manner of a very serious and highly focused power-seeker, he re-enforced old relationships and created new ones as a result of which he became effectively connected with numerous groups of friends and associates, all of which turned into a formidable force that faithfully worked for his eventual victory.
Similarly, the ruling APC, by showing a lot of sensitivity to the challenges it particularly faced during the campaigns and making fundamental adjustments to overcome them, facilitated his emergence as the winner of the election.
It never left anything to chances as it practically sustained reasonable internal stability, which is always the most critical factor that enhances the performance of any party during elections.
It also proudly catalogued the achievements of the state government and took them to towns as a way of reminding the people that the party has made noticeable difference in terms of execution of projects and programmes.
The entire campaign period provided the APC with an opportunity to advertise the development projects executed in each of the 23 Local Government Areas in the last eight years of the Nasir el-Rufa’i administration.
The wide and intensive circulation of the performance records of the state government as one of the key components of the party’s campaign strategy simultaneously further strengthened its supporters and disarmed the opponents. It was, in fact, a method that re-generated confidence in the minds of even those who seemed to have misunderstood the policies of the out-going government.
In summary, there were a lot more factors that put APC’s Senator Uba Sani ahead of all the others in the race for the governorship of Kaduna State than the so-called incumbency or any other perceived advantage. All those genuinely seeking to know how APC won Kaduna State should endeavor to extend their interrogation beyond certain unscientific and therefore unconvincing conclusions.
Gimi writes from Kaduna and be reached via 08037030413