Why Kwankwaso’s associates abandoned him — Ex-associate, Yusuf Dambatta

Posted by News Express | 2 April 2022 | 514 times

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•Yusuf Dambatta


Yusuf Dambatta, a one -time Commissioner for Land in Kano State and former associate of Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso is a renowned politician in Northern Nigeria. Alongside some stakeholders of the Kwankwassiya faction, he declined to defect from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He was of the opinion that Kwankwaso would fail in his new party, even as he gave insight into the reasons they parted ways with their former leader. He spoke in Kano.   

A few days ago, stakeholders of the PDP in Kano State, including Ambassador Aminu Wali and Sule Lamido sought the dissolution of the current state executive of the party. As their spokesman, may we hear the reasons for the position of the stakeholders?

I think this is a straightforward thing. It is sad. Nigerians and the people of Kano State recently witnessed a situation where Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso undertook to convene a National Movement which was his platform to anchor a third force political organization. And it is also on record that he thereafter, directed the National Movement to dissolve into a new political party, known as the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP). This situation, as is expected, had created a lot of concern within the party in the state, especially for us as card -carrying members of the party. I think that politically and morally, a single individual cannot have dual loyalties to two political parties. He alone cannot be a member of two political parties at the same time. The constitution of Nigeria is very clear. It allows for dual nationality, but it does not allow for dual card -carrying membership of two existing political parties at the same time. You cannot be in Party A and at the same time be in Party B. You have to choose either of them. This is the situation we in PDP have found ourselves and I must add that it created a lot of challenges for us in the party, especially given the position of the former governor as the leader of the movement and a leader in the party. Let me say that when his political conception was at its infancy, some of us made efforts to meet Senator Kwankwaso, to dialogue with him on the way forward and to advise him appropriately. But we were unsuccessful. It did not work because he has already decided on the direction of things and the direction to go. He has already made up his mind to champion the new movement. We met him a long time ago, even before he convened the meeting of the National Movement in Abuja. We met him again during the congress of the aborted North -West PDP, sometime last April, when there was this chaos between our faction and the mainstream PDP in the state. We had our candidate and they had theirs and we felt that there was a need to carry everybody along, that PDP does not belong to a single individual.

PDP belongs to all of us as far as Kano is concerned. So when we met him, we encouraged him to carry everybody, especially the mainstream PDP, along. We reasoned that we cannot be in the PDP and be losing elections left, right and centre while we are pulling crowd everywhere we went. We pull crowds, but we don’t win elections because of our internal division. But again we didn’t convince him. That was why when the issue of his National Movement came on board; a number of us felt that we have a moral and justifiable reason to remain in the PDP, rather than go along with him on this ill fated project. We have to work for PDP. That is why we decided to align ourselves with the mainstream PDP with a view to moving the party to greater heights and achievements.

You have been referring to a collective “we”. Who and who are on this mission with you

The list is long but I can quickly remember a few. My humble self is there, Dr Dangoni is there. Dr Danbarun is there. Bako is there, Alhaji Alwalu Mai Biscuit is there, Bala Mustapha is there. There are a lot of us who represented the key strength of the Kwankwassiya Movement, who are not with the former governor on his current defection. We formed a pressure group within the movement after we came to the realisation that the path Kwankwassiya Movement was driving was not the right path to winning elections and even if you look at it from the point of morality, we also felt that there has to be change in focus. We felt that there was a need for us to align with the reality of politics. You know that politics is a game of reality. It is also a game of number. And we believe that if we had to critically assess reality, something was wrong with the Kwankwassiya Movement. And that which was wrong with it, would certainly not lead us to political victory. There were certain elements or steps that it was taking that did not align with the constitution of the PDP nor with the constitution of party politics in Nigeria. That is why we felt it was really time for us to work for the PDP as a party and not to devout our energy and strength towards the promotion of one individual or the promotion of the Kwankwassiya Movement.

You asked the NWC of the PDP to immediately dissolve the state executive council which many believe is being run by people very loyal to the former governor. May we have you reasons for this request also?

The reason we asked for the dissolution of the present PDP state executives controlled by Kwankwaso is that given the recent antecedents of their mentor, it is doubtful that they would remain loyal and abiding to the cause of the PDP in the state. There is no way your benefactor would have dual loyalty and you will remain truly devoted to one of his loyalties. Secondly, we are of the opinion that at this particular moment, the executive of the PDP is not and has not been working toward the progress of the party. You are resident in Kano State and you can fault me on this if I lied. At the moment, go round the state and check if there is any presence of the party or if there are PDP activities anywhere in the state. We can see what other political parties are doing in the state, including their activities and we feel that PDP is a very strong platform and it ought to be actively present all over the state. But honestly speaking, that is not the case at the moment.

All the people of Kano State can bear me witness that there is no PDP single activity going on in any part of the state. This is really sad. We were challenged by all these and we felt that there is a need to open our doors to all, a need to accommodate all and that is what we are doing. It is important that you notice this factor also. The former governor, I mean Kwankwaso has directed all the PDP executive members from ward level up to the state levels to remain in PDP while he mandated the PDP ward caucuses, local government caucuses and even state caucuses to move to NNPP. That action is very suspicious and if you ask me I will insist that these people are up to some games which are yet to come to the public. There is foul play somewhere. Note that the chairman of the caucuses of the PDP, a very loyal associate of his (Kwankwaso), right from APC days, got recently elected as the substantive State Chairman of the NNPP in Kano State. And in most of the local governments and wards in the state, the respective chairmen of PDP caucuses have been converted to leaders of NNPP. His group, the Kwankwassiya Movement has been divided into two. While he consented that the executive at all levels should remain in the PDP, the same him directed the state caucuses at the ward, local government and state level to move to the NNPP, therefore,  some members would move to the NNPP whereas the other half would remain in the PDP, to control PDP.

All of these should tell you that something is not right somewhere. And that was why I said earlier, that you cannot run the affairs of two political platforms at the same time and in the same state. One last thing, if the former governor feels like and has decided to move to the NNPP, let him do so. It is not a crime. Let him allow PDP to flourish so that some people who are interested in joining PDP would feel comfortable to come in. That is why we are appealing to the National Working Committee to look into these issues and deal with them more decisively. Apart from these political manoeuvres, we strongly believe that there ought to be PDP activities in the state. PDP has commenced the sales of nomination forms, but in Kano the party members are worried, they don’t even know what to do. They don’t trust the current state executive and I tell you, they don’t want to throw their money into the custody of these executive because of the fear of the unknown.

Are you suspecting that someday, Kwankwaso’s men remaining in the PDP would dump PDP?

Someday, these two sub-groups that are loyal to Kwankwaso would merge together and become one. This fact is sure to happen. It is only a matter of time. And that is our fear. Take note of what the former governor had said in that interview he granted against the PDP. He said that if he decided to move away from the PDP any day or any time, PDP would become comatose. If somebody could say this and at the same, he is nurturing another political party, definitely he is hiding something in the cupboard, which would only place PDP in a tight corner in the nearest future.

So as a card carrying member of the party, we felt it is necessary for us to act quickly and we feel it is necessary for us to draw the attention of the National Working Committee of our party to act decisively.  We are not saying the state executive is doing this or that, we are saying that the National Working Committee should look holistically and critically into the activities of the party in the state, because there is no activity in the party so far. The sales of forms have already commenced across the country, but in Kano State, the party is locked inside a locker. This is unacceptable to us because we believe that this is the time for us to buy nomination forms, this is the time for us to start mobilising our people and as you know, there are lots of cross- carpeting taking place all over the country which could be of benefit to the PDP also, but sincerely speaking, we cannot woo politicians into our party because of all these uncertainties and absence of trust.

What has been the response of the National Working Committee to your demands?

Of course, our complaint has been acknowledged. We took our communiqué ourselves and presented it to the National Working Committee in Abuja and the normal procedures would be followed. We presented our communiqué at the end of the stakeholders meeting to the National Working Committee and at the end of the day, I believe that they would sit and look at our complaint. I am optimistic that their response would be favourable. We expect the National Working Committee to look at Kano beyond the limits of our proposal and see the state as a big platform for winning elections come 2022.

Let discuss your sub- group, I mean the rebel group within Kwankwassiya Movement.

We are not rebels, maybe you can just call the Integrity Group with the Kwankwassiya Movement. Don’t forget that we were the think tank of that Movement.

Just before now, members of your group were at the residence of a former Kano governor, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau in Abuja. Given your hitherto estranged relationship with him, what exactly informed the visit?

We met with Mallam Shekarau based on our understanding and respect to him as a former Governor of Kano State. He served for eight years and as Kano indigenes, we reserve nothing but respect to all our leaders.

And secondly, on the political landscape, we met with Shekarau with the intent to convince him to come back to PDP bearing in mind his present predicament within his party, APC, leading to the formation of G7. So we felt that it was necessary to extend our hands of friendship to people like Shekarau, people like Senator Barau Jilbrin, people like Tijanni Jope and all other members. We also extended our hands of friendship to people like Kawu Sumaila and a lot of politicians that we felt would add value to our party. That was how we met Shekarau and I assure you that it was a very fruitful meeting. Lots of words of encouragement were shared. We analysed the political situation in Kano and we believe that in the future, Shekarau is joining us. We have strong hopes that Shekarau is coming to the PDP

In the last few weeks, you are in the mainstream PDP in the state after leaving Kwankwassiyya. How do you compare the politics of the two factions of the PDP?

These are two scenarios and I thank God for exposing me to these experiences. It is always good to have multiple experiences in anything you do in life.  I had worked with Abubakar Rimi in the defunct AC, with Shekarau and when I was in the PDP. I worked with Kwankwassiya. I was in the PDP even before Kwankwassiya was created. But when it was created, we left the big river to swim in a small pond. That was what happened. We moved into the pond within a larger river. And we worked tirelessly up to the expiration of the tenure of Governor Kwankwaso in 2015. And we made Kano proud at that time. You see a political party is bigger than any individual. This is a statement of fact. When we were in the PDP, the party was bigger than Kwankwaso. PDP is bigger than anybody. What has happened is that we have found our way back to the mainstream of the river; we have found our back to the PDP. I will say that we are back to the sea and we’re no longer within the confine of that small pond where we were caged. We now can move freely and we are independent. We can associate with any anybody or any politician of like minds. We believe in the common good and our main objective is to see how to move Kano and Nigeria forward. How do we work together to ensure that PDP returns to power in the state and in the country come 2023? That is our main objective.

You have just admitted that PDP has not done much because of the obstacles brought about by its present executive at the state level among others. What are the chances of PDP in Kano State come 2023?

One thing that is very certain is that PDP is the party to reckon with in Kano State. I don’t want to sound immodest, but it is the strongest political party in the state, irrespective of the internal wrangling at the moment. PDP is several times stronger than APC in the state, despite the fact that APC controls the state resources. The average people of Kano State and Nigeria are truly in love with PDP. That is why because of its strength, because of its diversity and because of its character, it conquered almost everywhere in Nigeria. And that is why you see all these small frictions in the party. You cannot have frictions if the party is not strong. A weak party, nobody cares about it. But any party that you see all these struggles, such a party is strong on ground. I am certain that we can put our house in order and we would get it right and victorious in the next election.

Some people are saying Kwankwaso’s defection to NNPP would fail. Do you agree with that proposition?

Of course, taking history as my basis, I will say that I totally agree. If you could reflect well, right from the Second Republic up to date, nobody has tried this sort of adventure and survived politically. They end up undoing their political careers. We have precedents where past leaders in the state, unsatisfied with their relationship in their own party, sought and hoisted a new platform. But they crashed. Here in Kano, we had a situation in the Second Republic where Rimi pulled out from Aminu Kano and brought in another political platform. Eventually, he lost. In the 2003, there was PRP and Ibrahim Little and there was PSP for Umar Dan- Hassan. They were new platforms. They eventually crashlanded. In 2007, there was Rimi with AC and I was part of him then, we did not make it.

In 2011, there was Col. Jafaru Isa, Mohammed Abacha and General Muhammadu Buhari who came up with the CPC and Buhari was then the most popular candidate in Nigeria and yet they failed. Outside Kano State, there was Rochas Okorocha and there was Bafarawa. They all floated new structures. And they all did not make it. Let me tell you a fact. Kano does not support individuals who bring in or champion new political platforms. (Saturday Sun: Excludes headline)


Source: News Express

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