The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu has promised to eliminate kidnappers and other “troublemakers” terrorising Kaduna State in North-West Nigeria.
“All those troublemakers, violent kidnappers, killers; all troublemakers who are (disturbing the) security of Kaduna, I assure you, we will eliminate them,” he said at the APC North-West Presidential Campaign Rally in Kaduna on Tuesday.
Kaduna, one of the seven states in the North-West geopolitical zone, has recorded increasing bandit and terrorist attacks in the last two years including the infamous infiltration of the Nigerian Defence Academy on August 24, 2021, and the dastard attack on a moving train on March 28, 2022.
The Kaduna State Government said 1,192 persons were killed by bandits and other violent groups in 2021 while over 3,000 residents, students, and travellers were kidnapped. So far, over 800 people have been killed by bandits, and more than 1,200 persons kidnapped in Kaduna between January and September 2022, according to official data.
However, Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State, told a crowd of APC supporters decked up in party paraphernalia on Tuesday that he can bring an end to the security challenges in the state.
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I am honored and humbled by the emphatic and welcoming reception of the good people of Kaduna State led by Gov. Nasir El-Rufai and other APC PCC officials and stakeholders at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna for the North West APC Campaign Flag-Off.#Renwedhope23 pic.twitter.com/lAfdoNnKwL
— Bola Ahmed Tinubu (@officialABAT) December 13, 2022
He also said the incumbent governor of Kaduna, Nasir El-Rufai has done creditably well since he assumed office in 2015. He, therefore, urged the party faithful to vote for him and the APC Governorship Candidate in Kaduna, Uba Sani in the 2023 general elections.
“El-Rufai has done a good job, go around Kaduna, and you will see how organised, how clean (the state is). He has more internally generated revenue,” Tinubu said, promising to create jobs, harness agriculture potential, and empower youths if elected on February 25, 2023.
Quest For Northern Votes
Tinubu was at the rally alongside his running mate, Kashim Shettima; APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu; and a retinue of governors from the North-West and other parts of the northern region.
They include Aminu Masari (Katsina), Bello Matawalle (Zamfara), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Abubakar Bagudu (Kebbi), Abubakar Bello (Niger), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Babagana Zulum (Borno) amongst others.
Last month, Tinubu boasted that his alliance with northern governors would deliver for him the bulk of the votes needed to outsmart his main opponents including Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP).
About 10 northern governors had backed Tinubu’s candidacy at a keenly contested primary in June.
Historically, since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999, the northern region of the country had the highest voter turnout at presidential elections and the top contenders for Aso Rock’s top job in 2023 have since pitched their tents to win over most of the 19 states in the region.
For instance, Kano had over 1.8 million cumulative votes – the highest by any state in the 2019 presidential election. The state has witnessed some of the highest defections amongst PDP, NNPP, and APC of late. Kano is home to Ganduje, a Tinubu ally; Ibrahim Shekarau, an Atiku supporter; as well as Kwankwaso, who relies on his base and socio-political movement, Kwankwasiyya to get votes in the north.
Also during the 2019 presidential election, Kastina and Kaduna polled 1.5 million separate votes, Plateau with over 1 million votes, Kebbi with a total of 650,000 votes, and Kwara with a paltry over 400,000 total votes – all mainly shared between the APC’s Muhammadu Buhari and PDP’s Atiku Abubakar. Other states with heavy numerical voter strength based on past elections include Jigawa, and Bauchi, amongst others.
Although at least three polls have put Obi ahead of other candidates, only time will unveil the winner of the February 25, 2023, presidential election.