A Letter to the Youth
Dear Southern Kaduna Youth,
The 2023 governorship election is too important an election to take uncalculated risks, embark on costly experiments, or even waste your vote. Your protest vote in the presidential election against both the PDP and APC was very loud and clear, but your preferred party and candidate still came third.
The past eight (8) years may have been bloody, oppressive, disgusting, sad, and hopeless, especially for the people of our zone, but changing this status quo would require more than anger or protest votes.
I feel your pain, because I’m also pained by the killing and maiming of our people, by the mass sack of workers, and joblessness of the youths; the lopsidededness in appointments and projects, and most worrisome, the open insult to our faith under the guise of an evil Muslim-Muslim ticket.
I understand your frustrations over the years and also sing those everyday songs of lamentation against some of our elites who have had glorious opportunities under the PDP “without commensurate results.” You may be asking, why is there no federal presence in SK beyond the highways, in spite of about 6 or 7 Federal Ministers of SK extraction in 16 years? Why is there no mentorship of the younger generation? Or why have some old faces continued to dominate the affairs of the PDP in our zone? Whatever our worries are, we need to slow down, put our emotions in check, and approach the issues with tact.
The truth is, southern Kaduna made tremendous progress under the PDP, and you’ll need to refresh your memory or find out from our elders how backwards and marginalised we were before 1999 and how transformed/involved we became by 2015 before the progress was halted by the emergence of the contraption called the APC.
I have also heard and read you and others complain about southern Kaduna not always given the governorship ticket or why we have to always deputise for the north despite being the hen that has always laid the golden egg for the PDP, and thus, resolved to “work for our own, even if he will not win,” in 2023.
My dear youth, we have always gotten what we deserve. The governorship ticket of any political party is usually not given but taken. If none of us moved to take the ticket of any of the more lucrative and structured parties in the state during the primaries, we couldn’t have gotten the same merely by blackmailing the other zones. For instance, the LP ticket GIVEN to Asake was merely because, as at the time he got it, the party didn’t look as lucrative as it performed in the last presidential election, otherwise, he would have had to slug it out with strong contenders from the other zones. Watch out for 2027 and see how competitive the struggle for the LP ticket would become, and the issue of which zone gave the party the highest votes in previous elections would be relegated to the background. It is what it is.
You have been wondering, too, why any of us, in their right senses, would ask Asake and not Ashiru to step down in our call for the PDP and LP to merge ahead of the governorship election, if we must fancy any chance of winning. It doesn’t make sense, right? Unfortunately, that is exactly the kind of sentiment the APC requires you to uphold, and propagate in order to jettison any hope of coming together, and ultimately pave the way for the victory of the APC in the state.
You’ll need to rise up, think straight, and take responsibility ahead of the governorship election. We need to educate one another that while there’s nothing wrong with supporters of the PDP from the northern zone supporting a southern candidate in LP, such support can not come without a very strong basis. For example, after about 9 months since the emergence of the LP as a new political reality in the state or Datti and Asake as Vice Presidential and Gubernatorial Candidates respectively, what gains have LP made in the northern LGAs (which were traditionally APC strongholds) compared to the PDP?
To be fair, every campaign the PDP has done is premised on track records (either of the party or its candidate) in the areas of community development, uniting the people, equity and fairness, and possessing the right political structures that can easily dismantle the APC, if given the necessary push. Should the PDP agree to step down and work for Asake up north, therefore, what track records of either the LP or Asake in that zone would they use to campaign? What structure(s) do they have on the ground to convince the people that they only need a little push like the PDP to dismantle the APC? Even if one were to consider the outcome of the presidential election in the state, the North gave PDP more votes than the South did give Obi. Our near sure bet, therefore, would be to collapse every structure for the PDP and trust God to do the rest.
Please do well to see the next round of elections as NOT merely a competition between zones or even religions, but a struggle between life and death; between freedom and oppression, unity and division, equity and marginalisation, and above all the PDP’s track records of inclusion and the possible continuation of the APC’s policies of deprivation and lopsidededness against the people of southern Kaduna.
The choice before you is simply between satisfying your conscience or fanning your ego and promoting the chances of the APC to win. God forbid! We must never promote, by any means, the victory of the APC and the institutionalisation of a divisive system that will hurt future generations of Christians in the state, rather, I enjoin us to vote for the candidate of the PDP who only needs a push to guarantee his victory going by the results of the last presidential election.
I urge you to slow down and listen to the voices of reason. The outcome of the presidential election has taught us to be tactful, more strategic, and less emotional. Winning an election such as the one before us requires time, planning, perseverance, and the unity of our votes. Anything to the contrary would mean deliberately working hard to fail as we did in the presidential election.
Let’s act now and save the future. Let’s stop the muscle-flexing and ego war, forgive one another, unite, and work together in the best interest of our zone and future generations. Yes, We Can!
Let’s all work and vote for the PDP to ensure the final burial of the APC in Kaduna State, come March 11, 2023.
It is Now or Never!
~Edward John Auta is a member of the PDP Campaign Management Committee and writes from Narom Village of Zonkwa Ward in Zango Kataf LGA of Kaduna State