2019: PDP Panics as SDP launches Campaign for S’Kaduna Senate SeatBy: Our Correspondent.
KAFANCHAN – An air of unease has enveloped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the Senatorial candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Rijo Shekari launched his campaign for the Senate Seat of Kaduna South Senatorial Zone.
The PDP, which does not see any viable rivalry between it and the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) in Southern Kaduna, was jolted by the huge crowd that had voluntarily thronged Kafanchan old Stadium to excitedly partake in the rally of the SDP amidst riots of drumming, songs and dance.
Supporters climbed towers and fences to watch proceedings as the overcrowded stadium could not contain the sea of humans who were all drawn to the youthful SDP candidate and leaders of the SDP, both local and national.
“I think for the first time, the PDP is truly seeing a rival in the 2019 elections,” a member of the PDP who had come to see the campaign out of curiosity told our reporter at the venue.
On the raised platform in the middle of the stadium, flanked by National and State officials of the SDP and other candidates vying for different offices, Rijo waved and at the merry crowd most which were youths and women.
“I am here to speak to you about your destiny and the future of Southern Kaduna in the years ahead,” he began to speak to the exultant throng who erupted in, “sai Rijo; sai Rijo,” (Rijo only; Rijo only).
“I am contesting for the Senate seat so I can bring to you the true dividends of Democracy from the federal government in a manner that you never thought possible,” he said.
Rijo, a financial consultant with a vast array of experience in the sector, told his supporters that when elected, he would ensure that he establishes at least 10 cooperative societies in each of the eight Local Government Areas (LGAs) that make up Southern Kaduna Senatorial zone to scale up farming and engage more youths in mechanized farming.
Rijo, a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, United Kingdom, and a Commonwealth Scholar told the crowd that “God has endowed Southern Kaduna with more than enough of natural and human resources. Southern Kaduna is just looking for a leader that has the creativity, the determination, resources and connection to create an economic revolution that will shock the country,” he said. “For the love of my fatherland, and for the fact that I have these qualities, I have heed to the call to assume that leadership and God with us, we shall build a new Southern Kaduna of our dream when you vote me into the Senate,” he said.
“But that dream cannot be achieved if first and foremost we don’t tackle the issue of our safety and security arising from the terrorism that has been unleashed on our communities by our enemies. On this, I have laid down a clear roadmap towards achieving that when I get to the Senate. My resolve is to tackle the issue from the roots, and it will include legislation for effective border control. With over a thousand illegal entry points into Nigeria, there is no control over those who sneak into the country and unleash mayhem on innocent citizens.
“I will also ensure that we resettle and compensate all victims of such violence. I will lobby and fight for all forms of assistance to return our traumatised and displaced communities to normalcy, because we cannot claim to share same destiny when we are carefree about the unfortunate condition of others which caused by no fault of theirs,” he added.
He lamented dilapidated federal roads in Southern Kaduna and also decried the small budgetary allocation to the zone each year, vowing to correct the imbalance when elected.
He spoke on maternal and child mortality rate and regretted that Kaduna state has one of the highest. He promised to make available an experienced midwife nurse in each of the 87 wards to ensure adequate attention is given to women, during pregnancy and child birth.
He spoke on a range of issues and assured the people of Southern Kaduna that he would be a Senator they can easily access and rely on
“I will never let you down, if you give me your votes,” he said to the ululation and approving cheers of the crowd.
Speaking earlier, the Deputy National Chairman of the SDP, Dr. Abdul Ishaq said explained why the SDP has the white stallion as its symbol.
“We stand for strength, loyalty, efficiency, sincerity and beauty. We shall trample over all brooms and umbrellas,” he assured the happy crowd.
“Rijo Shekari, is already a distinguished young man. He is one of the finest, articulate, honest, very intelligent and hardworking young men I have ever met.
“He is not only self-made, he has so much passion for developing other young men, especially from among his people, the great people of Southern Kaduna.
“And these are the qualities of persons that SDP parades across the country. As I speak to you, there is no political party that is not jittery about the SPD. We are sure of whom we are parading. But we must show that Southern Kaduna has the best of its Senatorial candidates in SDP,” he assured the crowd.
Many watchers of politics in Kaduna state want to agree that Rijo Shekari may likely pull a stunt on the dominant political party – PDP – in the area for a number of reasons:
They feel that the current Senator, Sen. Danjuma Laah, has been so self-assured that he hardly thinks of campaigning for his re-election after securing candidature in a bitter rivalry between himself and Hon. Adams Jagaba.
“He is now over confident, whereas Rijo is adroitly working to swing public confidence to him,” an observer told our correspondent.
“Again, the SDP is new in Southern Kaduna and does not have intra-party animosity with aggrieved members silently working to undermine their candidates in the coming general elections. There are a lot of aggrieved PDP members who would rather work for the emergence of Rijo than see the return Sen of Laah to the Senate,” the source added.
And, indeed, the PDP has foisted a lot of unpopular candidates on the voters of Southern Kaduna through subtle imposition of aspirants by local elites and outright buying of delegates by rich but lacklustre aspirants.
“A lot of PDP members who worked for Laah felt that though he might have done relatively well, he had nonetheless dumped them after getting the seat.
They are still unhappy. Many of them are the real foots soldiers of local politics in Southern Kaduna. And they are in a silent alliance with the SDP. We know this,” another source added.
But it is easy to see that the youths who drive the voting process remain the engine room of Rijo. While acknowledging what Laah may have done relatively well for Southern Kaduna, they insist that Rijo would do much more if given the opportunity.
They deride Laah’s poor English and uncoordinated speech, saying Southern Kaduna is too enlightened and advanced for such a one to represent them.
In a zone where belonging to the APC makes one more of a pariah, the SDP has become the viable alternative to the PDP and the SDP is working strongly to convince the zone that the “PDP is not a religion” to the people of Southern Kaduna.