Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has dismissed the fears that President Muhammadu Buhari’s electoral value would diminish if the aggrieved members of the New Peoples Democratic Party pull out of the ruling All Progressives Congress government.
In an interview with State House correspondents in Abuja on Tuesday, El-Rufai said President Buhari would be re-elected with or without the threatening former PDP members.
He said: “I don’t agree and I want to go back to 2003.
“What are we talking about?
“Who are these new PDP people that are threatening?
“This is Kwara, Kano, Sokoto, Adamawa, Rivers but I don’t think (Minister of Transportation, Rotimi) Amaechi is part of them.
“So let’s take these four states, go back to 2003 and check.
“Buhari then under ANPP (All Nigeria Peoples Party) won in all these four states.
“Go back to 2007, Buhari won in these four states.
“Even when (former Governor of Kano State, Ibrahim) Shakarau was running as a presidential candidate in 2011, Buhari defeated him in Kano.
“And, I have no doubt in my mind that even if the people threatening to leave, leave, it will have absolutely no impact on the presidential elections.
“The president will win Sokoto, Kwara and Adamawa easily.
“Kano is already in the bag.
“I mean if you saw the crowd that welcome the President without the former governor (Rabiu) Kwankwaso.
“Kano has always been the President’s base.
“To me that is not the issue.
“The issue is that they have written, they have expressed grievances, some of the grievances are legitimate and should be looked into.
“But to threaten to leave the party is neither here nor there.
“If they are honest with themselves, they know that President Buhari will win those states with or without them.”
El-Rufa’i visited the State House on Tuesday to update Buhari on the outcome of last Saturday’s Local Government election in his state and the use of electronic voting system during the exercise.
It was the first time a state adopted the use of electronic machines to conduct elections in Nigeria.
El-Rufa’i told journalists that he also used the opportunity to welcome the President from his recent trips to the United States of America and the United Kingdom.
The governor recommended the adoption of e-voting in future elections at both federal and state levels as a panacea to election frauds in the country.
He expressed the readiness of the Kaduna State Government to give out the machines on mutually acceptable terms to those state governments that were yet to conduct local government elections in their states.
El-Rufa’i said: “Absolutely, I recommend it highly to everyone.
“I have already offered to my colleagues state governors that are yet to conduct local government elections that they can come to Kaduna and we can give them the machines on mutually acceptable terms.
“All you will need is to change the software.
“It will have the logo of the state and the number of parties active in the state.
“They can use it.
“It is easy.
“At federal level, I will recommend it as well because with the card reader and the electronic voting machine, the era of rigging elections is almost over and I think that is when people will have confidence in the process and will come out enmass to vote for their leaders.
“Having said that, I know we have been working on this for about one year before we got to where we are.
“Although it is possible for INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission to do it, it will be logistically difficult.
“But nothing stops them from trying if the resources are available.
“Because the machines have already been manufactured, the designs are there, you only need to place the orders to the Chinese and I’m sure they will deliver them in no time.”
El-Rufa’i also dismissed the assertion that the use of e-voting was against the Electoral Act, saying: “I don’t agree with that.
“There is an amendment to the Electoral Act that President Goodluck Jonathan signed a few days before he left office, which legitimizes the use of the card reader and other electronic systems for voting.
“So, in my view the current Electoral Act has provision for the electronic voting.
“But that is not even what we used in Kaduna.
“In Kaduna, we enacted our own electoral law that made provision for the electronic voting machine and card reader.
“Everything was totally legitimized and passed by our State House of Assembly and I think every state can do the same.”
El-Rufa’i added that the current legal framework allowed the use of electronic voting machines.