Governor Nasir el-Rufai of state has dismissed ultimatum given by members of the new- Peoples Democratic Party, (nPDP) to pull out of the All Progressive Congress ( APC), if the party refuses to accept their demands for more privileges in the party
El-rufai who was reacting to the protest letter containing the threats submitted by the nPDP last Week, while briefing State House Correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, said the party ” can win its elections without them”
The nPDP had stormed the National Secretariat of APC in Abuja where they presented a protest letter signed by the Chairman, Abubakar Baraje and Secretary, Olagunsoye Oyinlola demanding an urgent meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari and APC leadership to address their grievances.
The nPDP in the letter decried marginalization, non inclusion and harassment of its members despite the huge contribution the group made to bring APC to power in 2015.
The nPDP said the group has not been given ” the significant patronage and appointments to executive positions in various government agencies such as Chief Executives and Executive Directors of government agencies and parastatals as members of our block of the party continue to helplessly watch as these positions are shared by the erstwhile CPC, ACN, ANPP and even APGA blocks of the party”
But El-Rufai in his reaction, disagreed saying that ” I don’t agree and I want to go back to 2003. What are we talking about? Who are these new PDP people that are threatening? This is Kwara, Kano, Sokoto, Adamawa, Rivers but I don’t think Amaechi is part of them. So let’s take these four states, go back to 2003 and check. Buhari then under ANPP won in all these four states.
” Go back to 2007, Buhari won in these four states. Even when Shakarau was running as a presidential candidate in 2011, Buhari defeated him in Kano.
He added that ” And, I have no doubt in my mind that even if the people threatening to leave, leave, it will have absolutely no impact on the presidential elections, the president will win Sokoto, Kwara and Adamawa easily. Kano is already in the bag, I mean if you saw the crowd that welcome the president without the former governor Kwanasho, Kano has always been the president’s base.
He however described their “grievances” as ” legitimate” which “should be looked into”
He said however that ” to threaten to leave the party is neither here nor there”
“If they are honest with themselves they know that President Buhari will win those states with or without them.
“But if you have a grievance, we are a party and politics is a game of addition not subtraction, so we don’t want to loose anyone.
” I think those the letters were addressed to ought to study it and look into what is reasonably possible to accommodate them because politics as I said is a game of addition.
Speaking on the just concluded local government election in his state, he commended the chairman of the state independent electoral commission, Saratu Dikko who had proposed the idea of electronic voting.
” She felt that since we used the card reader in the 2015 elections, the next logical step is to connect the card reader to an electronic voting system and we supported it.
He revealed that the team had gone to Brazil and India to study their own voting systems and but sourced the machines from a manufacturer in China.
” They are the same manufacturer that manufactured the card reader, designed and manufactured the electronic voting machines for us.
“The independent electoral commission of Kaduna State, brought in 300 of the machines and spent some months going round the state, market places, people’s homes to test the use of the machines to show that ordinary people can use it.
He also revealed that the entire election cost the state N4 billion, adding that ” mind you with the electronic voting, now we don’t need ballot paper, so we saved N1.7 billion in ballot papers alone. And, these machines can be used for three or four more elections because they can last for 10 years, all we need is to upgrade the software to add more parties and so on.”
“So, we believe that overall is good value for money and it has worked very well. What we are very happy about is that ordinary people could use it, the interface was friendly, simply and you can finish voting for the chairman and chancellor in less than 15 seconds.
Tony Ailemen, Abuja