Kaduna state governorship candidate of New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), Sen. Suleiman Othman Hunkuyi, has admitted that he made a mistake by bringing All Progressive Congress (APC) to power in Kaduna state in 2015 election.
Hunkuyi said he played prominent role in installing the APC government of Malam Nasir el-Rufai and that of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. The former Commissioner for Finance said he made efforts to warn residents across the 23 local governments not to vote Governor Nasir el-Rufai in 2019 but the ensuing voters’ apathy ensured a default victory by the APC. He noted that he is ready to amend the mistake by flushing out the APC government come 2023 as his last legacy in politics.
Addressing an interactive session with leaders of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Kaduna state chapter on Monday, Hunkuyi said despite leaving the party, APC won the 2019 polls in Kaduna state by default because only 1.8 million out of the 4.2 million registered voters voted in the elections.
He warned that the 2023 election could also be won by default if the electorates refused to come out and vote for parties of their choice.
According to Hunkuyi, “I didn’t want to pursue politics beyond 2019 because personally I wanted to do something else. And also dedicate attention and time to my children and my family. But for so many reasons I have to extend my stay in politics.
“In 2013 – 2014, I felt that Nasir el-Rufai would make a very good governor for Kaduna state. That was my conviction. I felt that Muhammadu Buhari would make a very very good President in 2015. That was my conviction. Nobody foresaw that. It was a conviction. But it was an error because of human mind, the behaviour of man is unpredictable. So when I came back in 2019 and I went around the 23 local government areas, I told the people that if you elect Nasir el-Rufai and Buhari, you do so at your own peril.
“Another reason why I came back and remain in politics is because my little brother said he has retired me from politics and I am out of politics. But I came back also to remove all misfits in government by 2023 by the special grace of God because they were brought in by ill wind of the people. I will flush out all the misfits in government. Reason number two why I decided to remain in government is because I want to fix the wreckage inflicted on the financial status of Kaduna state.
“There is danger lurking ahead because this government is by default. I can tell you that 90 percent of the people in this hall did not want Nasir el-Rufai to come back in 2019 election. Did he not come back? That is government by default. Four million or 4.2 million voters were registered in 2019, but 1.8 million people came out to vote. There were two parties. Majority did not come out, the minority decided for the majority, the least minority decided to go for the majority because out of 1.8 million that came out to vote, 800,000 of them said no to el-Rufai, they said no to APC.
“If you take that 800,000 and add to 2.7 million that refused to come out, they have not only added to the votes, but helped to form a government for el-Rufai. That is government by default. We should allow matured democracy to happen. It can happen again in Kaduna. It was two parties, but now there are four candidates. There is a candidate for APC, PDP, NNPP and LP. Hunkuyi is at your beck and call no matter what happened, NNPP will garner more votes.
“But again we are polarised. Kaduna has never been polarised along religious line as it is today because APC is doing Muslim-Muslim ticket. When I go out for election I have upper and lower limits, but I go for lower limit. So don’t say that Hunkuyi did not raise the alarm that a government may emerge by default in Kaduna state in 2023.”
Hunkuyi, who decried the spate of debts incured by the outgoing government, a figure which he put at N500 billion, promised to immediately make a supplementary budget, if elected, to address issues that has to do with security.
He said he would engage relevant stakeholders like NLC on decision making about governance, vowing to reverse some policies of this present administration considered to be too harsh and unfriendly to the poor masses and review other policies for easier implementation.
The NLC State chairman, Comrade Ayuba Suleiman Magaji, described Hunkuyi as friend of civil servants, who intervened in restating workers sacked by the then military administration of Colonel Hameed Ali (Rtd), on the advent of civilian government in 1999.
He also recalled how Hunkuyi assisted workers to access loans from office of the Secretary to the State government (SSG).