From Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi

Few days to the general elections, the Kebbi South and North Senatorial districts have become the beautiful bride as the All Progressives Congress (APC), and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have shifted their scramble for votes to the two districts.

While the odds favour the ruling APC in parts of the Kebbi South Senatorial district, and Kebbi Central Senatorial zones, the PDP seems to be strong in few parts of Kebbi South Senatorial district which lack dividends of democracy and are pervaded by insecurity.

 Indications are that the APC would rely on the 21 local government area chairmen, the 225 councillors, commissioners, and political appointees across the four Emirates to mobilise voters for them. However, the PDP are banking on the experiences of Senators Muhammadu Adamu Aliero and Abdullahi Yahaya who recently defected from the APC to the PDP to sway their loyalists to the PDP.

Political pundits have however, argued that fellers from recent APC campaigns in major cities in Kebbi North and Southern regions of the state, especially in Yauri, Argungu, Shanga, Ngaski, Augie, Kamba, suggest that the ruling APC could carry the votes from the areas.

Kebbi State Publicity Secretary of APC, Alhaji Issa Ashalafi, who spoke on the developments in parts of Kebbi South Senatorial district (Zuru and Yauri) where the PDP focus their campaign, noted that the ruling party will not have any problem from the zone.

He noted that the APC has delivered several dividends of democracy to the people of the areas, even as their sons and daughters were appointed into key positions in the government.

He noted that the Deputy Governor of the state, Col. Samaila Yombe Dabai (retd), General Muhammad Magoro(red) and the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Umar Babale Yauri and HYPPADEC MD, all hail from Kebbi South Senatorial district and have done well for the area.

He said, “Again, this administration has not left any part of the State untouched. Remember, the major roads from Sokoto to Yauri to Kontagora were abandoned by the PDP administration but the APC completed the road within few years.  This government has attracted many investors to the state, which led to the establishment of many companies including Tomato company in Ngaski LGA, Dangote company in Shangal LGA area, and Wacot rice mill in Argungu.

 “We are very confident that the electorate in Kebbi South Senatorial district and other parts of the state would cast their votes to all our candidates in the 2023 general elections.”

 Immediate past governor of the state, Alhaji Saidu Nasamu Dakingari who is also Director General of APC Governorship Campaign Council said there is a power rotation agreement between the North and the South and urged  the electorate of Kebbi to vote for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“The APC has the most qualified and credible candidate in Kebbi State. Our candidate is the most credible and qualified among all the candidates of other political parties in Kebbi State. He is an honest, open-minded and respectful gentleman, so vote for him, vote wisely.”

 Also speaking, Dakingari appealed to northerners to support Tinubu.

He said, “We had an agreement in 2015 with the Southerners, that is ‘amana(bond). We in the North are not people who betray or renege from our promises, therefore, all of us should vote for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He is capable, trustworthy, and reliable.

 “Also vote for Dr. Nasir Idris, the gubernatorial candidate of the party and all other candidates in the forthcoming general elections. APC victory will attract more infrastructure facilities to Kebbi State and Nigeria in general.”

He reminded the people that Lagos State and Kebbi State partnered in the past and gave birth to LAKE rice which increased the patronage of paddy rice from the rice farmers.

According to him, the partnership will continue especially if the APC forms the Federal Government with Tinubu as the President of Nigeria in 2023.

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 Governor of Kebbi State and Chairman of Progressives Governor’s Forum, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu stressed that a vote for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima and all the party’s candidates will be a vote for sustainable development.

He said the President Buhari-led Federal Government had in the last seven and half years done a lot for Nigerians, particularly the people of Kebbi State, and cited projects executed by the administration to include the Federal University, Birnin Kebbi and the Anchor Borrowers Programme, and the establishment of the modern Kebbi Medical Centre among others.

According to him, “these are among the myriad of developmental strides brought to the state and Kalgo LG. These giant strides will be sustained and surpassed if Tinubu, Shettima, Kauran Gwandu and all other APC candidates are elected. For this development to be actualised, the people of Kalgo and Kebbi State should massively cast their votes for APC.”

 The wife of the former governor, Dr. Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu, said, “I want to commend all of you for coming out to attend this rally. As you come out today, let us all go back home and collect our PVCs for those who have not collected their own and use it to vote for APC. Don’t be deceived by other political parties; APC is the only party that cares for women and children,” she said.

 Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation(AGF), Abubakar Malami, described the 16 years of PDP as wasted years, and added that in just seven years, the APC has recorded many infrastructure facilities across all the country.

He said, “During the 16 years of PDP, the PDP could not finish the Sokoto-Jega-koko-Yauri road. They were just digging holes and filling it. But within seven years of APC, these roads were completed. Therefore, I urge our people to collect their PVCs, come out and vote for all APC candidates in 2023 general elections.”

The Secretary to the State Government, (SSG), Alhaji Babale Umar Yauri, said the entire Yauri Emirate comprising Shanga, Yauri and Ngaski were solidly behind the APC governorship candidate, Dr. Nasir Idris, and all APC candidates.

He said: ‘Yauri Emirate would never forget the giant strides of the incumbent administration under the leadership of Senator Abubakar Atiku for bringing development to the Emirate. The establishment of a Tomato company in Gafara, Ngaski LGA, the artisanal gold mining initiative, women and youths empowerment are some of the glaring examples of Governor Bagudu efforts in the area. Without mincing words, Yauri has benefitted from the APC-led administration. We are always with the ruling party; we have done it in the past and we shall do it again and deliver our votes for APC.”

Meanwhile, the PDP Governorship candidate, retd Major General Aminu Bande has vowed that with his experience as a retired military officer, he would ensure adequate security if elected as the governor of the state.

  He said, “How can you compare a retired Major General with a grade two classroom teacher? I have the capacity going by my training to collaborate with the Federal Government in bringing security to Kebbi State if elected. How do you compare a retired military Major General with someone who does not have exposure from any other party? No candidate has the requisite experience than me. My people in Kebbi, I promise to be fair to all groups in Kebbi; I will provide the needed fertilizer before the rainy season at a subsidised price if elected as the governor in the forthcoming elections.

 “Our teeming youths are wandering without employment, why is this so? We must redesign our educational system to be functional, where people can acquire skills instead of theoretical degrees.

“We will revive our vocational training schools that were abandoned. Be peaceful, anyone who lured you with money, collect it, it’s yours, but don’t vote for that person.

 “I will be fair and safeguard the resources and money of the people of Kebbi State. I will do everything possible to ensure the security of lives and properties in Kebbi.  I will do my best in salvaging the people of Kebbi State, all the candidates that emerged under the PDP are committed people who are ready to serve the people.”

In his remarks, the former Governor of the state and incumbent Senator representing Kebbi Central, Muhammad Adamu Aliero said the PDP would win the governorship election.

He said the APC has failed resulting in the worsening security situations across the country and resulted in the clamour and agitation for the PDP and Atiku Abubakar to return to power.

 He said, “On election day, don’t just vote and leave, you must stay behind and ensure that our votes count. This is important because there are politicians who don’t have anything to campaign on; they are waiting for election day to steal your votes.

“Don’t give them the chance to steal your votes. In Kebbi State, we will not tolerate rigging. We will provide all the necessary assistance in Kebbi State to ensure free and fair elections.”