Posted by Kolade Adeyemi | 3 February 2019 | 1,178 times
With just a few weeks to the 2019 general elections, political gladiators in the ancient commercial city of Kano have intensified their leg-walks, strategies and permutations ahead of the 2019 general elections, according to The Nation report.
Clearly, Kano remains one of the melting points of Nigeria’s political struggle, with huge electoral values to every serious contender for the office of the presidency.
One lead player in the unfolding political battle is the incumbent governor and leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. Another is Ganduje’s erstwhile political leader and predecessor, Senator Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso. The imminent political contest is made more peculiar by the reality that the two lead gladiators at the centre of the storm, Kwankwaso and Ganduje, once governed Kano State on a joint ticket for eight years as governor and deputy governor respectively.
The duo, however, drew the battle line shortly after the former handed over to the later on May 29, 2015. Kwankwaso’s alleged quest to control Kano government house from Abuja and Ganduje’s reported firm resistance to godfatherism, snowballed into a deep-rooted political rivalry, which made Kwankwaso to dump the APC and return to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while vowing to ensure that Ganduje is voted out of Kano government house during the 2019 elections.
But some pundits are of the opinion that, owing to recent political development in the state, Kwankwaso’s desire to frustrate Ganduje’s second-term ambition might remain a mere dream. Aside from his tussle with Ganduje, Kwankwaso had dumped the APC for PDP to pursue his presidential ambition and ultimately to create a platform and recruit a lieutenant, with whom to dislodge Ganduje from Kano government house.
Confident of the strength of his Kwankwassiyya Movement, the maverick politician thought-out his strategies and considered it a task so easy to accomplish. However, recovering from the hurts occasioned by his failure at the PDP’s presidential primaries in Port-Harcourt, Kwankwaso rushed back to Kano where he insisted that his son-in-law, Engr. Abba Kabir Yusuf, would fly the PDP gubernatorial flag, an imposition that further split the limping Kwankwassiyya Movement.
Ganduje, conscious of the trouble his former boss can give him politically, made good use of the opportunity created by Kwankwaso’s fresh trouble with his associates. He moved ahead of his former boss, lobbying the heavyweights within the Kwankwassiyya camp who were apparently miffed by the unilateral decision of Kwankwaso to impose a gubernatorial candidate on the state chapter of the opposition PDP.
The first among the Kwankwassiyya chiefs to take his exit and align with Ganduje was Kwankwaso’s former Commissioner for Special Duties, Brigadier-General Idris Bello Dambazzau. A close political associate and confidant of the former governor, Dambazzau’s dramatic exit from the Kwankwassiyya Movement did not only rattle Kwankwaso, but also shook the very temple of his political family.
Dambazzau’s defection was followed by daily defection of thousands of members of the PDP and the Kwankwassiyya Movement into the APC. They would openly burn their red caps and signalled the sign of “four-plus-four.”
The major shocker came when the immediate-past deputy governor of the state, Prof. Hafiz Abubakar, walked back to his boss, Ganduje. Prof. Hafiz, a former Kwankwaso loyalist, had last October voluntarily resigned his position as deputy to Ganduje, in solidarity with Kwankwaso, who reportedly promised to handover the PDP gubernatorial ticket to him. But things fell apart, and the centre could not hold when Kwankwaso handed over the ticket to his son-in-law.
Apart from these associates leaving Kwankwaso to his fate in drops and in droves, some notable members of the Kwankwasiyya group have also decided to join Ganduje’s train ahead of the forthcoming elections.
Just recently, Kwankwaso and the PDP suffered yet another huge setback when a frontline gubernatorial aspirant of PDP in Kano, Engr. Bello Sani Gwarzo defected to the APC with thousands of his supporters across the 44 local government areas of the state. Speaking during a grand rally to welcome the defectors, the Director General of the Engineer Bello Sani Gwarzo Campaign Organisation, Alhaji Mika’ilu Koki, said their decision to defect to APC is in view of its good policies and developmental programmes.
Ganduje’s political prowess and popularity soared higher when the two-time governor of the state and former Minister of Education, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, dumped the PDP and joined forces with Ganduje. Shekarau did not come alone; he came with hundreds of thousands of his political followers and disciples. Interestingly, Shekarau, is contesting the Kano Central senatorial seat, currently being held by Kwankwaso at the red chambers of the national assembly. Since 2003 when he defeated Kwankwaso as an incumbent governor, Malam, as Shekarau is fondly called, has become a political nightmare to Kwankwaso.
Though Kwankwaso is not re-contesting the senatorial seat, he planted one of his political godsons, Madakin Gini, as the PDP candidate for Kano Central. However, pundits have described Madakin’s candidature as a ladder to victory for Shekarau, as the former House of Representatives member cannot, in any way, withstand Shekarau’s political weight.
•Excerpted from The Nation report
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