There are indications that the return of Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is posing a serious threat to Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s re-election bid in 2019. This is notwithstanding that the now two political rivals had been very close political allies in the recent past.
Senator Hunkuyi represents Kaduna North Senatorial District in the Senate. He was elected to the apex legislative chamber on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). This is the same party upon which El-Rufai was elected the Governor of Kaduna State in 2015.
However, according to the axiom that in politics, there is no permanent friend and no permanent enemy but permanent interest, Hunkuyi and El-Rufai are no longer in the same political camp. They are now walking on two parallel political lanes as far as Kaduna State politics is concerned.
Hunkuyi was one of those who laboured to form the PDP in Kaduna State in 1998. But when it became obvious that people had lost confidence in the party, and sought alternative platform to vote out the PDP in the 2015 general elections, the lawmaker, who is one of the pillars in Kaduna State politics, quickly joined forces with others to form the APC and ensured its victory at the polls.
He was some time a Deputy National Organising Secretary of the APC and threw his full weight behind the present governor to ensure that he defeated his counterpart from the PDP. He was actually the Chairman, Nasir El- Rufai Campaign Organization, which worked tirelessly for his victory in 2015.
His efforts to establish APC and ensure its success in Kaduna notwithstanding, the politician has returned to the PDP having been disappointed by what he considers as the hypocrisy of the ruling party at all levels of governance. He was one of the 13 senators who tendered their defection letter on the floor of the Senate on July 24, 2018.
Hunkuyi has already declared his intention to run for the office of the governor of Kaduna State, and this in no small measure, has sent palpable apprehension into the camp of El-Rufai and his supporters, knowing the force the Senator is made of in Kaduna politics.
The reason for the jitters in the camp of Governor El-Rufai is because, according to those who are familiar with Kaduna State politics since 1999, Senator Hunkuyi has entrenched himself as a grassroots politician, who identifies with the problems of the downtrodden and galvanises for their prospects in the state.
Consequently, when he publicly declared his intention to contest the number one political seat in Kaduna come 2019, under the PDP, the news elicited a lot of jubilation not just from the Kaduna North Senatorial District where he represents but all over the state, reflecting his wide acceptability to the people.
He was officially received to the PDP with several of his supporters from across the state recently at the Trade Fair Complex, along the busy Zaria-Kano Express Way, Kaduna.
The event which attracted people from all parts of the state, also had in attendance, national leaders of the PDP, senators and members of the House of Representatives as well as labour and students union leaders among others, who came to demonstrate their solidarity and unflinching support for his governorship ambition.
Hunkuyi at the event told the intimidating crowd to use their power which is the voters card to chase out out the APC All in Kaduna State in particular and Nigeria in general in 2019, for unleashing untold hardship on them, contrary to the yearnings of the citizenry which voted them to power in 2015.
In his media chat with journalists on why he defection, in spite of his labour and huge financial investment in the ruling party, Hunkuyi regrettably observed that the APC had failed woefully to work in line with the promises it made to the people of Kaduna and Nigerians in general during the 2015 electioneering campaign.
Stressing that he believes in politics based on well defined political ideology targeted at uplifting the welfare of humanity, Hunkunyi said that he would never be part of a system that would destroy democracy and enthrone dictatorship, which would deny the people the dividends of good governance, for which Nigerians collectively fought and ousted the military from the country’s political leadership.
He said that the PDP had learnt its lesson from the mistakes of the past and had rebranded, appealing to Nigerians particularly the Kaduna people to see the need to work with the party to effect power change from the APC, which he said had unleashed untold hardship on the citizenry.
Hunkuyi also also affirmed that he would not be deterred by any effort of government to witch-hunt and intimidate him because of his decision to say the truth and stand by the people who were yearning for good governance in Kaduna State and the whole Nigeria.
Former Kaduna State Governor, Dr. Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, did not hide his feelings when he expressed joy over the return of Hunkuyi to the PDP, saying that the party was back and that the people were yearning for its return to power in 2019.
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