2015 forces regrouping for 2019 will be defeated again – Elrufai
Remarks by Malam Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, at the flag-off of the Kaduna State APC Campaign for the 2019 General Elections, held at the Kaduna Township Stadium, Kaduna, on Wednesday, 12th December 2018
- It is my pleasure to welcome you all to the flag-off of the Kaduna APC’s campaign for the 2019 elections. This is the next step in our carefully prepared plans to go back to the people and secure another democratic mandate to lead our people for progressive outcomes.
- Last week, we inaugurated our Campaign Council as the coordinating body that will pull together the energy, passion and enthusiasm of our members and supporters for victory in the coming elections.
- Today, we present flags to our candidates for various elective offices in 2019. Each APC candidate knows that getting the party flag is just the trigger for the hard work of engaging with and convincing citizens in every constituency to vote for our party. No election is won until the people have cast their votes. There is no room for complacency. We must work harder than we did in 2015 to campaign and get out the vote.
- In 2015, we campaigned as outsiders, making the case that we had the programmes, the people and the competence to govern Kaduna State better. The voters accepted our argument. In government, we have been guided by the manifesto of the APC, doing the things we promised. We have made tough choices and accomplished much for our people. A lot remains to be done to overcome the legacy of neglect and waste that held down the state. But we have a proud record to run on.
- We ran on our record of attainments in human capital development and governance innovations during the local government elections. In those elections, the people gave us their resounding backing. It was our first test of popular support, and it showed that ordinary people know who is standing for them. We do not take that for granted. Therefore, we will campaign even harder.
- It is clear that the political forces that were soundly defeated in 2015 have ganged up again. We must mobilise our people to again reject them at the ballot.
- The struggle to empower ordinary people and to make their lives better requires that the party of the people should continue in government. The APC has worked hard to begin fixing the rot left behind by 16 years of PDP misrule and neglect, but there is a lot more to do to clean up the mess and reset the country on the path to stability and prosperity.
- The APC government has anchored its agenda on Putting People First. The APC in Kaduna State has since May 2015 focused on running an equal opportunity government in Kaduna State. We have tried to empower our citizens. By anchoring our governance agenda on putting people first, we are making lives better and reordering the priorities of government to focus on human capital development.
- Our programme in the state has aligned with that of the Federal Government which has devoted considerable resources in its social intervention programmes, from school feeding to conditional cash transfers.
- At the centre of the APC’s human capital development programme are Education and Health. We have been resolute about expanding access to Education. We are driven by a firm conviction that we are obliged to provide decent public education to give the children of ordinary people a platform for social mobility. In pursuit of this goal, we have taken decisive action, faced down vested interests and devoted resources to improving public education. We have recruited 25,000 new primary school teachers to replace the 21,780 who did not meet the standards expected of those who teach our children. We have also ensured that the benefits of those disengaged are being settled by the local government councils from their share of proceeds of the latest Paris Club refunds.
- We have doubled primary school enrolment. We have spent money to fix schools, providing furniture, better classrooms, water and sanitation. We are rebuilding schools where necessary. It is an expensive exercise in terms of the resources required. It is even more costly in terms of the political threats we continue to receive that we will lose the elections because we dared to stand with the children of the poor. In fact, you are all aware that our opponents are promising the failed teachers that they will recall them. For us, some things are above politics. And we trust that ordinary people can distinguish between opportunism and responsible governance.
- The APC government has ensured that Basic Education is truly free in Kaduna State public schools. For girls, it is free all through the first twelve years of school, up till the completion of senior secondary school. By abolishing hidden fees and levies, we save parents in Kaduna State over N3bn every year. We have provided uniforms and raised the quality of meals in boarding secondary schools. In selected secondary schools, we are running a pilot programme that involves giving students computer tablets instead of printed textbooks. The performance of the 15,000 students, mostly girls, using the tablets, will be compared with those taught with more traditional methods going forward.
- We have begun the recruitment of 7600 more teachers for secondary schools. This is in addition to the 2200 teachers of English, Mathematics and the Sciences that we recruited in 2016.
- In the Health sector, we have taken decisive action to improve health outcomes for our people. We are reducing infant and maternal mortality, increasing life chances for mothers and their babies. This progress has been anchored on our project to renovate and equip 255 PHCs, to make them better able to offer antenatal care, and offer safer deliveries. Health care for under-5 infants and pregnant women is free in our hospitals. We have recruited 1,200 health professionals and are on the verge of recruiting 3000 more to strengthen the primary health care system.
- Since 2017, we have been providing cash cover for treatment of senior citizens for diabetes and hypertension in our public hospitals. We have also enacted the Contributory Health Insurance Scheme in our state, which will enable every citizen that subscribes to go to any hospital and be treated without having to pay out of pocket, effective early 2019.
- For our youths, programmes like KADSTEP, KADAT and KADEEEA offer alternative routes to skill acquisition and financial support for the enterprising. Our BATCs are being revamped and converted to Community Skills Development Centres (COSDECs) to provide skills and self-employment as alternatives to white-collar jobs.
- This is apart from our determined efforts to attract investments, create direct and indirect jobs and grow the economy of our state. Our efforts in the economic front were rightly recognised in the World Bank 2018 report on Subnational Ease of Doing Business which showed that Kaduna State is the most improved state in the Ease of Doing Business. Our reforms in land administration, construction permits, adjudication of disputes and business registration have moved Kaduna State from 24th position overall in 2014 to first in 2018, thus making Kaduna State the easiest place to do business in Nigeria! This government has attracted no less than USD 500m of investments into the state in the last three years.
- The Kaduna State Government is not leaving anyone behind. Our policy of putting people first is comprehensive and all-embracing. We will not let our citizens down.
- The task in 2019 is to continue to work for the upliftment of our people. We cannot allow the people whose ideology is looting to return to power. The PDP has nothing to offer the people of Kaduna State and the rest of Nigeria. Over 16 years, they left most of the 4250 primary schools in very bad conditions. Many did not have toilets, roofs, windows or doors. They left schools where more than half of the peoples have no desk or chairs. In some schools, the percentage of pupils sitting on floors is as high as 90%. The PDP left terribly bad health indices, with high maternal and infant mortality, and low investments in infrastructure. Many primary health centres were left as just buildings, with neither staff nor equipment.
- We are correcting all this mess. We are tackling fraud and waste. We have rescued of our local governments from bankruptcy. We inherited a system where many of them had to be rescued every month by the state government before they can pay salaries. We are reforming the public service. We have implemented TSA, brought discipline to public finances. We have been innovative and bold.
- In spite of all the threats and reckless boasts that we will suffer at the polls, the APC won the local government elections in Kaduna State convincingly. We successfully introduced the first electronic voting system in Nigeria and our people embraced it. We have run an open government, dedicated to delivering results and being accountable.
- Our people can see that we stand for them. The youths and the women have seen our programmes and they can recognise that we seek to empower not to create dependence. The people of Kaduna State know who has completed and commissioned the 150million litres per day Water Treatment Plant of the Zaria Water Project. They know that the APC has doubled internally-generated revenue without increasing tax rates. The youths see themselves in the number of young persons in the government. Our women know that five of our 14 commissioners are women, something never before seen in the state. They see other women heading our key agencies. They use our investments in hospitals. And they know that the APC is Putting People First and leaving no one behind!
- Let us spread the message and by our efforts persuade our the people of Kaduna State to once again vote for the party of the people. Kaduna State has always voted for our leader Muhammadu Buhari. Let us repeat the feat in 2019 and vote APC SAK!
Thank you for listening.
God bless the APC!
God bless Kaduna State!!
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!