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Kaduna: Political Rivalries May Threaten Guber Polls Despite Peace Accord

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DESPITE the Peace Accord entered into by the political contestants to uphold peace and tranquility of the political environment ahead of the 2015 governorship election in Kaduna State, the truce has been violated going by the violent clashes between supporters of the foremost Gubernatorial Candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero and his All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai.

  The unabated trend of the pre-governorship violence recorded in the state so far is currently threatening the conduct of the governorship polls as the political gladiators involved in the tussle for control of power in Sir Kashim Ibrahim/Government House have been shifting blames of the clashes among their die-hard supporters on each other.

  Besides, the situation of the problems associated to violent attacks by party supporters have also been established in some of the northern states, especially in Katsina State, where the leading opposition APC

Governorship Candidate and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari alleged of the invasion and attack of his Party Campaign office in the state and where property worth millions of naira were vandalized by political thugs.

   The situation in Kaduna State has been more chaotic where Governor Yero and Mallam El-Rufai who was the former Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) during the Olusegun Obasanjo’s democratic government have been at each other’s throat in an attempt to galvanise support from the voters in Kaduna State in readiness for the rescheduled governorship polls, which comes up on April 11, 2015.

  However, the two political contenders not been able to address the pre-election violence, which continued to escalate in the State, just as their supporters, have engaged in attacks and destruction of campaign posters, bill boards, vandalisation of vehicles at campaign rallies despite the assurance given by Governor Yero and E-Rufai when they signed a Peace Accord under the supervision of the Police and other high ranking stakeholders in the state that they would uphold peace before, during and after the general elections.

  The recent incident of unwholesome political game and threat to security in the state occurred in Zaria City a forthnight ago, where supporters of both the PDP and APC engaged in a free-for-all clash as they vandalized each other’s campaign properties and subject the residents of the people of the ancient city in fears. The unfortunate incident happened when Governor Yero was rounding up his campaign exercise of the 23 local government areas. 

  However, both the APC and PDP leaders have continued to trade blames on the latest clash, just as it occurred in previous incidences of political violence before the postponement of the February dates of the general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

  Mallam El-Rufai who was the first to react to the unfortunate attackin Zaria last week, accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the State of allegedly engaging the use of political thugs in destroying APC bill boards and other campaign materials in Zaria, ahead of the gubernatorial election in the State.

  A statement issued by El-Rufai Media aide, Mr. Samuel Aruwan also alleged that “security agents in Zaria and Sabon Gari local government areas of Kaduna State supervised and protected PDP hoodlums as they destroyed billboards and posters of Mallam Nasir El-Rufai”.

Besides, El-Rufai further expressed worries over the growing trend in the campaign strategy of the incumbent governor Yero whom he accused to be using the APC Presidential Candidate, retired General Muhammadu

Buhari’s portray as a campaign material for his bid for the 2015 Governorship in the State.

   According to the APC Gubernatorial candidate in the state, “they destroyed all visible campaign materials and replaced them with Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, the incumbent governor. This act of arson comes ahead of the governor’s rally on Saturday in the ancient city”.

  “Zaria axis is an APC stronghold, as demonstrated by the massive rallies the party held in Sabon-Gari and Zaria local governments.

  Conscious of their unpopularity, the PDP is now displaying posters of Yero that feature pictures of the APC presidential candidate, General

Muhammadu Buhari”.

  “It is seen as an admission that the PDP’s own presidential candidate is not sellable to the electorate, but also a demonstration of the PDP’s affinity for deception.   In the said posters being paraded in the said axis, Yero is paired with Buhari while Malam El-Rufai is axed with a red ink”.

   The APC statement further explained that, “in the course of Yero’s rally that brought hired thugs from all parts of the state and beyond; dangerous weapons were freely flaunted and showcase with impunity in presence of security agents”.

  “Since the campaign for the 2015 elections started, Yero has been preaching intolerance and indulging in violence. At the launch of his campaign on 12 January, 2015, he announced that he had powers to stop El-Rufai from entering Kaduna or leaving his house, which he also threatened to demolish. The audio recording of that statement has gone viral”.

   Part of the statement also read: “again, the PDP government in Kaduna State and their commissioned campaigners are presently inciting citizens of Kaduna State on religious and ethnic lines against the candidature of both Buhari and El-Rufai. They are also engaging in series of mudslinging aimed at branding APC and its candidates as violent oriented personalities. They are presently circulating leaflets branding Buhari as hater of Christians along with El-Rufai in manipulating citizenry”.



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