By Toby Prince
Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has claimed that the ruling All Progressive Progress Congress (APC) remains Nigeria’s only hope to chart a politically stable and economically prosperous future.
According to him, the previous administration had looted the country dry.
The governor made his position known in a prologue titled, ‘Defeating a Determined Incumbent – The Nigerian Experience’, which he contributed to a book –Power of Possibilities and Politics of Change in Nigeria – written by the Director-General of the Progressives Governors’ Forum, Salihu Lukman.
“There is no doubt that we have the popular support of Nigerians.
“I have seen this myself when I went around the 36 states and the FCT during the campaigns.
“The turnout of people and messages of goodwill across the country were what no individual, party or government could organise or buy.
“They were purely demonstrations of confidence in our administration and its political platform, the All Progressives Congress, the product of the merger.
“The multitude that trooped out to see me and hear me were reassuring that Nigeria, despite its cultural diversities, is united on the imperative of change.
“Our duty as leaders is to ensure that we keep this nation united, build a better future for the citizens and the coming generation.”
Reiterating how previous administrations of the Peoples Democratic Party allegedly squandered the nation’s resources and opportunities, Buhari said his administration had been able to reverse the downward slide in a short period of time under more challenging circumstances.
He added, “I feel that without coming together, we would not have been able to achieve this feat and Nigeria will be the worse for it.
“We remain the only hope of the country in terms of charting a politically stable and economically prosperous future for our people.
“I will, therefore, encourage us to continue leading this country effectively, now that Nigerians have entrusted us with a mandate once again to chart the course for the future of our beloved nation.”
He said, “Even with our success in the 2015 elections, there is room for improvement. Barriers to political equality, such as our seemingly entrenched through informal rule for zoning candidacies according to regions of origin, need to be de-emphasised and ultimately abandoned in favour of an emphasis on qualification, competence and character.
“The financing of parties, candidates and campaigns remains opaque.
“Many African countries are marked by savage inequalities, and a handful of individuals have the wherewithal to hold the process hostage.
“We must work towards funding parties via capped and fully disclosed donations and annual dues payable by every registered party member.”
The governor also made a case for improved judicial processes and promotion of the rule of law.
“A presidential candidate is widely seen as credible and reformist to provide a sharp contrast to incumbents usually fattened by years of lazy, incompetent and corrupt rule.
“Honest elections that guarantee that votes count, using a mixture of competent electoral commission leadership and, crucially, deploying technologies for voter verification that drastically reduces electoral fraud.
“Credible elections are enemies of voter apathy. They enhance democratic legitimacy and citizen participation.
“Continuous engagement of the international community, particularly in the leading stable democracies as well as in multilateral institutions, to supply a crucial external fillip to the electoral process.”