Actually, supporters and opponents are a tiny, vocal but influential minorities on both extremes of politics curve. Usually, contestants target swing voters and non partisans, without alienating their supporters, to win elections at the polls. Indeed, this balancing act, cold calculation and jockeying, require adroit skills to carry the day. Afterwards, some politicians scale down expectations, dump campaign rhetoric for the reality of governance upon assuming office.
However, Senator Uba Sani, the Kaduna State Governor, has been fulfilling promises, winning hearts and minds across the political aisle, ethno-religious divide and different demographics. Indeed, former opponents are embracing him and supporters, within and outside his party, are warming up to the Governor. Truly, the conversion started before the campaign and afterwards, the numbers grew at the hustings. Thereafter, the mass defection commenced after election and in leaps and bounds, politicians are now trooping to the All Progressives Congress(APC) almost daily.
Specifically, the opening act began on November 13, 2022, before the Kaduna State APC Campaign, led by Prof Muhammad Sani Bello, officially flagged off rallies and outreaches. In Giwa, over 12,000 defectors, including a former Commissioner, a Youth Leader and Woman Leader, left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for APC. Personally, Senator Uba Sani and other APC top hats, received the decampees, assuring them of equity and fairness.
Thereafter, the rate of defection spiked as PDP rank and file, in their numbers, trooped to hear Senator Uba Sani’s homilies on the campaign trail. Afterwards, it was always a conversion on the road to Damascus as ardent PDP supporters transform to APC die-hards. In April, Professor Matoh Dogara, former Deputy Speaker, dumped PDP for APC, along with numerous supporters, citing Senator Uba Sani’s suitability as Governor of Kaduna State.
After election, Senator Uba Sani reached out to the opposition, waved the olive branch, opened his arms and asked them to come on board. Politics, he had argued, is over but governance beckoned in the horizon. In fact, the SUSTAIN agenda requires all and sundry, he pointed out, irrespective of tribe and faith, to continue moving Kaduna State forward.
Indeed, spokesman of Kaduna PDP Campaign, Alhaji Yakubu Lere, harkened to the call and in July, he quit the party via a letter to his ward. Lere, in that letter, said that Senator Uba Sani has been his friend for over 40 years and for this reason, he can not be in the opposition. Likewise, the Chairman of Chikun Local Government, Mr Salasi Musa and his Councillors have left PDP, a party on whose platform they were voted into office. Similarly, Kajuru Local Government Chairman, Hon Ibrahim Gajere, has voted with his feet, leaving the PDP for APC, so has Hon Mathias Siman, his counterpart at Kaura Area Council.
Significantly, in seven months, the Governor has taken deliberate actions that encourage inclusion. In October, he hosted elders and senior citizens, comprising retired generals and civil servants, accomplished businessmen, seasoned politicians from all parties as well as elders statesmen across Kaduna State. In fact, Alhaji Abubakar Mustapha, former Head of Service, and retired General Zamani Lekwot, are Co-chairmen of the Kaduna Elders/Senior Citizens Forum, a peace-building advisory body. Similarly, in his strategic engagement, Senator Uba Sani chaired the quarterly Inter-Religious Harmony Committee, where he solicited the support of religious leaders.
Specifically, Rev Joseph Hayab, the Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria(CAN), commended the Governor for working to restore peace, trust and stability in Kaduna State. Thereafter, he pledged to partner with the government, especially to make the state ‘’an oasis of peace.’’ Similarly, Prof Shafiu Abdullahi, the Chairman of Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), said he is proud of Senator Uba Sani’s people-centred and pro-poor administration, particularly its rural transformation.
Indeed, Governor Uba Sani has erected, in the last seven months, a big tent in Kaduna State; large enough to accommodate disparate political actors, personalities from all parts of the state, clerics of the two dominant religions, ideologues of opposing creeds and just about anyone that has anything to offer, in his efforts to achieve inclusion and fulfil promises in his SUSTAIN manifesto.