ACCEPTANCE SPEECH BY Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai OFR, GOVERNOR-ELECT, Kaduna State FOLLOWING THE APRIL 11, 2015 GOVERNORSHIP ELECTIONS
Dear people of Kaduna state, I want to begin this address by thanking the Almighty God, who made it possible for us to carry out our civic responsibility across Kaduna state in a peaceful manner for the most part. My utmost gratitude also goes to God for giving me the mandate to steer the affairs of our state through your votes. I thank you very much.
Dear compatriots, you have spoken. You have spoken with a loud voice and voted for change. You have voted for unity. You have voted for genuine development and growth. The outstanding victory we achieved at the polls on April 11 happened only because you came out in numbers to cast your votes and waited patiently to protect your votes until the results were announced.
I thank you all. We also thank all the institutions and agencies that made it possible for us to have peaceful, transparent and credible elections. Those fundamentals form the basis of democracy, transparent governance and accountability with which we undertake to govern our state henceforth.
On behalf of the APC, we express our profound gratitude to you for investing in us your hopes for the future. You voted massively to elect General Muhammadu Buhari as president of Nigeria, and you saw fit to send two APC senators and 11 representatives to the National Assembly. On Saturday, you completed the job by electing an APC governor and a more than two-thirds majority of state House of Assembly members. We thank you for this vote of confidence, and we promise to be responsible custodians of your mandate.
It has been hard work building the APC as a formidable party, and mobilizing the people to understand and embrace our message of change. In undertaking this campaign, we stuck to the issues doggedly, exposing what is wrong and outlining our plans to change them. We engaged in competitive campaigning and banter but never insulted or abused any person or official. For us, it was a grueling campaign as we engaged with ordinary people across the vast swathes and divides of our state.
The campaign period is now over. We have no time to exult in our victory. There is so much to do to make Kaduna great again. We need to begin the hard work of change. As leader of the APC Kaduna Change Team, I assure you that we shall do our best to restore Kaduna State to a state that works for you. We shall be doing so under serious constraints. Our state is heavily indebted at a time when oil prices are low. Our state has not seen significant development in the last eight years. We must work twice as hard with half the resources of the last eight years just to catch up with our neighbors. We must be disciplined, focused and prudent to do so.
In accepting my election as governor of Kaduna state, I pledge to do all that is humanly possible to move our dear state forward, beginning from today. As soon I am sworn into office and constitute a state executive council, we shall begin work to meet your expectations of positive change.
We are aware of your justifiably high expectations of our government. We will do our utmost to meet them. But we shall need your patience, sacrifice and support as we reform Kaduna state institutions to instill a culture of probity that insists on value for money, that ensures that government procurement occurs at the most cost effective level and encourages personal responsibility. We will do whatever is humanly possible to fulfill the promises in our manifesto, the Kaduna Restoration Programme that we have published, circulated and discussed with diverse constituencies of the state. Our commitment to transparency will be manifest as we reform the public sector to be an efficient deliverer of services.
The APC takes seriously its responsibility to build a harmonious society in Kaduna State. We are committed to fostering a secure, peaceful environment that gives the confidence to all the residents of the state to make the most of their talents. We will uphold the rule of law and the equality of concern for all citizens. We intend to work with all communities in Kaduna state without fear or favor. We are all equal partners and stakeholders in this state. There will be no discrimination in Kaduna State on the basis of gender, ethnicity or religion. Appointments and nominations into the incoming cabinet and government will be primarily on the basis of integrity and determined strictly by competence, capacity and capability.
We shall be a listening government, and we shall be decisive in implementing our agreed agenda for change. We shall lose no time in reforming education and healthcare, local government, the public service and leading the processes that will create jobs and economic opportunities for our people.
I thank all those who made it possible for this day to happen, and commend the leaders and supporters of both the APC and PDP who ensured that the peace accord we signed before the elections was observed in most of the state. That is a reflection of the new Kaduna we want to build – a place where whatever differences of opinion that we may have are resolved peacefully, with mutual respect and dignity. It also reinforces my conviction that human life is too valuable to waste simply because of political differences or ideological affiliations.
I want to seize this opportunity to pay tribute to all the citizens of Kaduna State who gave their time, money and even their lives to make this change possible. May the souls of the nine APC supporters that lost their lives to thuggery rest in perfect peace. We pray that those wounded and are still in hospital have very quick recovery. We pledge to prosecute without exemption any one, no matter how high or low, involved in electoral violence to serve as deterrent to others and reinforce our commitment to the rule of law.
At exactly 3pm on Sunday, I received a phone call from Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero congratulating the APC for its victory in the elections, and pledging to work with us to make Kaduna great again. This was followed by a congratulatory letter later during the day. Vice President Namadi Sambo also called in the evening to convey his best wishes. I thank them for these acts which have put the interest of the state above partisan politics.
I hope to meet with Governor Yero as soon as possible to begin consultations on the transition process to ensure that the machinery of government does not suffer between now and when the new government takes office. As I promised you, we will hit the ground running. The work of rebuilding Kaduna State begins immediately and every one of you has a role to play.
Change has come, but we must work together to make it real and lasting. Together, let’s make Kaduna great again!
Thank you. God bless you all. God bless Kaduna State.