(67): The Sen. Kwankwaso and Gov. Ganduje Face-off: A Non-Romantic View

Muhsin Ibrahim

Kano politics is often amusing, another time bemusing and sometimes upsetting. While following the politics, I learn a lot about human character, particularly our fickleness when it comes to loyalty and love. It's a famous saying in politics that there is no permanent friend or permanent enemy. It is also said that betrayal is its hallmark. Hence many people see politics as murky water that can very quickly leave one stained once one moves into it. Kano politics typifies all this and more. I believe that Kano politics can be used as a microcosm of the world’s politics. Political scientists know better.

Historically, no governor in Nigeria truly wants his deputy to succeed him for what eventually goes and comes. We are all witness to what happened in Zamfara state between Sen. Ahmed Yarima and his deputy, Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi (MAS). In Kano, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau's two deputies, Engr. Magaji Abdullahi and Engr. Tijjani Muhammad Gwarzo tried to succeed him, but he refused to approve of their candidatures and what followed up is now history. When Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje tried his luck, then Governor Engr. Rabiu Kwankwaso supported him, though against his volition, as some accounts reveal. And that's it. Dr Ganduje is now the executive governor of Kano State.


I don't know, or should I say I am not sure, but I think it's common knowledge for all that Kwankwaso, a senator now, is, by nature, bossy and possesses an extreme go-getter attitude. He's also blessed with oratory skill, although that often lands him in controversy, which appeals to the youths. I can recall in 2011, I asked a friend why he so much wanted to vote Kwankwaso. His response put me off, for he didn’t have any substantial reason. He said that liking Kwankwaso was simply the vogue, and he would not want to miss the trend.

A few days back I sided with Kwankwaso on the tussle under question that originated from his supposed condolence visit to his former deputy over the death of his mother. That was his maiden, known visit to Kano since he left office on May 29, 2015. What happened, in brief, was that: According to a press release by the state APC chairman, Umar Doguwa, though he later in a dramatic way retracted it, that some hired youths and thugs that welcomed Kwankwaso at Aminu Kano International Airport vandalised some of the airport property. They also wielded weapons en route to, and in, Ganduje village in an anti-peace, anti-culture and insensitive manner for someone who came for a condolence visit. They, again, chanted anti-President Buhari slogans, calling on Kwankwaso to replace him come 2019. Kwankwaso denied hiring them and condoning what they did. It could be right, but he is still wrong considering the following reasons:

 1) According to the APC constitution, the governor of a state is the party leader. That's why Malam Shekarau was stripped of this rank when Kwankwaso joined the party in 2014. As Ganduje is now the governor, Kwankwaso should know better, and quit claiming and posing as the leader of the party. 

2) It is rightly said that there can't be “two kings in a town”. No matter how many supporters Kwankwaso still has – and yes, he has them in multitude – he should know that he's a “former”; Ganduje is the “present”. Realization of this indisputable fact will settle a lot of dust in the feud.

3) Kwankwaso could have come to condole the Governor without any fanfare had he wanted. He's not the famous, mysterious flautist, “Sarkin Busa” of Magana Jari Ce of Abubakar Imam. Many other dignitaries, though none is like him, have come and left in peace and silence. He could also control the publicity, at least to the minimum.  

And the APC leaders and the government:

1) Should not have seized this avenue to further politicise the whole drama and threaten to sanction the Madugu (Kwankwaso). Allāh made them who they are, but Kwankwaso, their prey, has some credits in that. His popularity, charisma, appeal and whatnot helped the success of APC in Kano and even other states of the Federation. Sen. Shehu Sani has recently duly acknowledged that.

2) Kwankwaso could be cautioned in a more civil manner, not via this disgraceful manner. His followers are now agitated; some of them feel they are at war with the state government. This is not helpful, not at all.

“Faɗa da aljani ba riba”

That is a famous saying uttered by the staunch Kwankwaso followers. It loosely means “fighting with a jinni, the invincible one, is unrewarding”, personifying him as the jinni. I simply smile (it actually used to be laughter) at that. Look at this continuum in Kano politics, popularity-wise: there was the late Malam Aminu Kano, then late Muhammad Abubakar Rimi, then Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, then Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, then Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (again) and it's now Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. This is to remind you, stalwarts, that there were other ‘aljanu’ before yours and are now either dead or defeated in the contest. It is said in Hausa, “Sarki goma, zamani goma”, meaning “ten kings, ten eras”. Nobody rules beyond his era. Hence Kwankwaso’s period has ended. It is now Ganduje’s.

If indeed Kwankwaso was ‘aljani’, as you (plural) put it, why was he defeated at the polls in 2003 by Shekarau, and his anointed candidate, Garba Bichi too lost to the same man in 2007? Even the legendary Greek figure, Achilles was not unconquerable. That is why he was killed by an ordinary arrow. Kwankwaso too is after all beatable. Ganduje may and can also defeat him.

I am not disparaging Madugu, far from it. But I am just realistic as I usually am. Kwankwaso is not that indomitable, please understand that. Ganduje holds the power of incumbency, and that's already at work as we have started seeing that 34 out of the 40 members of Kano House of Assembly dropped their symbolic red caps to register their allegiance to him. Thus, the best thing for the duo and, of course, for the state, is reconciliation. They should act gentlemanly and shame their meddlers who profit from the tussle.

To the diehard Kwankwasonians, please stop this hero worshipping thing. Your man is wrong for many things. To staunch Gandujiyyans, don't be so ungrateful. You ought not to forget that should Ganduje unearth the wrongdoings of the past government, he cannot be exonerated for he was part and parcel of it. Why didn't he expose that earlier? Hypocrisy? Answer it yourself.

Is President Buhari involved?

No, not in anyway. He has however been so brazenly criticised and made a scapegoat by the fanatical Kwankwaso followings. My immediate younger brother is one of them. That is very wrong, heedless and uncalled for. PMB has no hands in Kano politics; he just cannot have, for he would not profit from anything. He also did not stop Kwankwaso from becoming the president. It is not his time now, and perhaps forever. Who knows? Buhari too tried thrice before he finally succeeded.

All in all, the whole scenario doesn't look promising for APC, and, by and large, for Kano State. Conflict takes away whatever peace grants people. I thus wish to see this face-off settled, and settled forever without any vendettas in later days. I would really love to see everyone calmed. Kwankwaso should know who he really is and outline his boundaries. Ganduje and co. should never look down upon Kwankwaso, for he is still a power to reckon with.

God bless my state, Kano and my country, Nigeria – amin.

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