Constant clashes between supporters of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State and his predecessor, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, are disturbing trends that must be effectively contained by the security agencies before the next general election. Ibrahim Shuaibu reports
Kano State’s political atmosphere ahead of the 2019 elections is getting really cloudy with the various gladiators now designing ways to market themselves to the electorate. But this is not so with people in the camps of former Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso and incumbent Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, who have been clashing at every given opportunity, thus showing their brute strengths ahead of next year’s elections.
The on-going political face-off between Ganduje, and his former boss, Kwankwaso, is becoming a threat to a peaceful conduct of next year’s general election as they are bent on undoing each other at the polls.
Kwankwaso is the leader of the most populous camp in today’s Kano politics known as Kwankwasiyya, and their signature is the famous red cap for men, while women wear red wrapper and head tie to showcase their loyalty to the former governor, who is now senator representing Kano Central district in the senate.
On the other hand, Ganduje, too still wears redcap along with his Deputy Governor, Professor Hafiz Abubakar, having been a member of Kwankwasiyya and as a mark of loyalty to Kwankwaso.
Abubakar had recently raised the alarm over alleged marginalisation by the party that fixed some of the executive members in his Gwale ward without his knowing, a situation, which indicates that that deputy governor might likely leave the Ganduje camp soon to join Kwankwaso.
But Ganduje too had since named his group Gandujiyya and his people are currently struggling for his second term. Unfortunately, his ambition appears questionable among the people of the state due to his seeming unpopularity. There is a swirling belief that he is being controlled by his family members and has therefore failed in sticking to his mandate.
This implies that the political misunderstanding between the two leaders may have gone beyond reconciliation and as it is, it appears they have made up their minds to work against each other in future elections in the state. They are poised to deploy every means, including violence in an attempt to have upper hand in the state’s political equation.
It is a matter of public knowledge that Ganduje has indicated interest in re-election, and obviously as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC). On the other hand, Kwankwaso, who is believed to interested in the presidential ticket,, has vowed not to allow Ganduje win re-election.
Although Ganduje seems not to be very popular in Kano even as a sitting governor and for what some people in the state attributed chiefly to his alleged betrayal of Kwankwaso, there are indications that he is now trying to leverage on the strong political support which President Buhari seems to still enjoy in the state to actualise his re-election bid.
Political tension between supporters of the two leaders has continued to escalate in the state and one of the dominant issues fueling the escalation is the decision by Ganduje to organise local government elections in the 44 council areas of the state in February. But the governor’s decision to organise the elections is being viewed by most of Kwankwaso’s supporters as a strategic move by Ganduje to put his men in power and by implication, consolidate his hold on the power levers of the state.
It was also learnt that the purported home-coming of Kwankwaso by the end of this month has continued to generate serious concern among the politically inclined people in the state, who are loyalists of Ganduje. This is because of the fear that when Kwankwaso comes to town, the chances of Ganduje’s reelection might be affected as there is the possibility that some of Ganduje’s cabinet members might resign from office to join him.
Such fears were further accentuated last week, when there was a clash between the supporters of the two leaders at a wedding fatiha in Kano, after the state Commissioner for Special Duties, Alhaji Abdullahi Abbas, in a video that went viral, called on residents to stone and attack the Kwankwasiyya group.
It was later learnt that Abbas’ two children, Sani Abdullahi and Abbas Abdulahi (Jnr), were among the attackers at the wedding, led by one of the commissioner’s boys popularly called Shawuya. The incident which occurred close to the late Galadima Kano House, left six people injured including one of Abbas’ step brothers, Walid Abbas Sunusi, who is one of Kwankwaso’s staunch supporters.
Reacting to the development, a supporter of the Kwankwasiyya group and former Organising Secretary of APC in Kano, Sunusi Surajo Kwankwaso attributed the situation to negligence on the part of security agents, considering the fact that Abbas, in a video released online, had confirmed that they orchestrated the attack in Minjibir and Hawan Daushe.
“It’s surprising that Alhaji Abdullahi Abbas has not been arrested or invited by the security agents over his comments calling for violence that was even reported in the media,” he said, adding that the situation might be calling on Kano residents to protect themselves if the law enforcement agents could not do that.
Meanwhile, the spokesman for Kano State Police Command, DSP Magaji Musa Majia, said the command had commenced investigation into the issue to ensure that perpetrators of the crisis were brought to book and that the police had invited Abbas over a petition written by M.K. Umar & Co.
He said the petition alleged that Abbas had made inciting statements against members of the Kwankwassiyya Movement, and that both parties had been invited and asked to go and provide the alleged video, in which Abbas had urged his supporters to attack members of the Kwankwasiyya group. He further promised that the police would make sure that anybody found wanting would face the full wrath of the law.
Already, he hinted that the police had arrested Abbas’ two sons and his house boy over the attacks, but added that they had been released on bail, while investigations into the matter continued.
As it is, most of the APC chieftains loyal to Kwankwaso have started to boast that nothing would stop the former governor from the planned home-coming by this month end.
A former speaker of the state House of Assembly, Honorable Isyaku Ali Danja told a large crowd on Wednesday that, “Nobody and nothing will stop our leader from coming to Kano by end of this month. We have made all necessary arrangements to ensure the success of his visit”.
THISDAY also observed that Kwankwasiyya loyalists had organised an appeal fund last Thursday to ensure that they have enough funds to cater to their needs during the Kwankwaso visit.
There is no doubting the fact that these two leaders would stop at nothing to undo each other from now till the time of the elections next year, with clear signs of increasing violence. It is no doubt a battle of ego and supremacy, which is very dangerous in politics. Whilst the Kano leaders cannot give up now on the possibility of a reconciliation, the security agencies must not pretend not to be seeing the signs now and swing into action early enough with a view to containing the menace.