Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje is fighting his benefactor, Rabiu Kwankwaso to frustrate the latter’s presidential ambition, writes Comfort Woye Yakubu
Ahead of the 2019 general election, the frosty relationship between the political camps of the former Governor of Kano State now Senator, representing Kano Central Senatorial District in the Senate, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and the Governor of the State, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje is already giving many peace loving residents of the ancient city a sleepless night.
Many fear that sooner than later, the dispute will turn to violence as supporters of both men prepare to do battle on behalf of their leaders.
The latest of such happenings was the one that occurred when Kwankwanso apparently at the instruction of Ganduje was prevented from visiting the state by the police on a somewhat flimsy excuse that the governor and other All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftains in the state were carrying out political rallies ahead of the state’s local government elections.
Addressing newsmen in Kano, the State Commissioner of Police, Rabiu Yusuf, cautioned Kwankwaso that he could face the wrath of the law if violence erupted during his visit and this act further escalated the crisis.
It would be recalled that the issue was raised on the floor of the Senate for debate recently through a point of order raised by Senator Hamman Isa Misau (APC Bauchi Central), who urged the Senate to condemn in its entirety, the action of Ganduje-led Kano state government against Kwankwaso.
Though the two other senators from Kano state I.e, Kabiru Gaya ( APC Kano Central) and Jibrin Barau (APC Kano North) tried to dissuade the Senate from condemning the action but the mature submission made by Kwankwaso himself that as a leader, he would not want to say anything on the matter, made the Senate to eventually condemn the unfair treatment meted to him and his supporters and even went ahead to order the Inspector General of Police to provide required security for Kwankwaso any other time he wants to visit Kano.
The Senate President , Bukola Saraki in his remarks said: “What was done to Senator Kwankwanso few days back either by the Kano state government or the State Police Command from visiting his constituents is unacceptable and dangerous to our democracy.
“The Senate Committee on Police Affairs should as a matter of urgency summon the Inspector General of Police and impress it on him that all political players in the state and by extension, in the polity generally, should be protected against undue harassment from anybody to avoid resort to self-help through full scale thuggery which will not be in the interest of anybody “.
It is instructive at this juncture, to trace the genesis of the crisis between Kwankwaso and Ganduje but before that, it is relevant to remind us that the relationship between the duo started as that of a benefactor and a political son with Kwankwaso being the benefactor and Ganduje the political son.
Both Men worked together politically for over two decades, precisely when Kwankwaso was governor of Kano state between 1999 and 2003,
Ganduje was his deputy. Even when Kwankwaso couldn’t make it straight away for a second term as governor of the state in 2003 general elections and was appointed Minister of Defence by the then president, Olusegun Obasanjo he took Ganduje along as his special adviser political matters and to cap it all, when he got elected as governor of Kano state in 2011, he made Ganduje his deputy again and above all, when leaving office in 2015, he ensured that Ganduje succeeded him as governor.
But barely five months after the 2015 general election, things began to fall apart, and their relationship turned sour, making people to start accusing Ganduje of betraying his ‘god father’, and biting the fingers that fed him particularly the kwankwasiyya movement, a pressure group established by kwankwaso.
In the words of Alhaji Sharu Garba Gwammaja, chairman of Hannun Karba, a sub-group within the Kwankwasiyya movement, Ganduje has deviated from the ideology of Kwanwasiyya and should stop wearing its red cap symbol.
On the other side of the divide, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, speaking to news men, gave reasons for the cold ‘war’ with his predecessor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso alleging that the immediate past governor of the state left N300 billion liabilities before he vacated office in May 2015 a debt the current governor said affected him in the area of carrying out projects.
He added that another reason the former governor was at war with him was because “he removed the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress in the state, Doguwa, for anti-party activity and the national headquarters accepted our position that it has followed due process, but Kwankwaso was adamant, insisting on Doguwa while the chairman recognized by the APC was Abbas.”
Though efforts are being made within the APC family in Kano and Nigeria generally to broker peace between the duo so as not to affect the party’s performance in the general election that is just about a year to come but pundits doubt the success of such effort.
According to them, the fight is all about power. While Kwankwaso is aiming for the presidency in the general election, Ganduje is blackmailing him by showing his support for President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term every minute of the day, a position he believes, will easily earn him a second term in office as governor without Kwankwaso’ s support.
Little wonder that the governor was among the seven governors led by Governor Nasir El Rufai of Kaduna State who endorsed Buhari for a second term last month in the heat of the Benue Killings.
Whatever dimension the cold war assumes as elections approach, what can surely not be taken from Kwankwaso is his grassroots appeal in the state and beyond.
He is known to be a political gladiator with so much supporters. It is because of the followership he commanded that the APC was able to get the huge votes it got during the last presidential elections in the state.
It is on record that when Senator Rabiu kwankwaso was governor, he left an indelible mark behind in Kano state, because of the massive infrastructural development he embarked on and the manner with which he handled the welfare of the people. This earned him the followership of many, making him a trailblazer as far as Kano politics is concerned.
Even the incumbent governor testified to this fact, so much so that during the 50th anniversary of the state last year, Ganduje, despite differences could not but admit that Kwankwaso left an indelible mark in Kano. According to him, Kwankwaso was the second best governor after Abubakar Rimi because in his first coming he introduced various projects and linkage road networks.
He described Kwankwaso as being dogged in his beliefs and always stood his ground on issues of strong conviction. He has no doubt, paid his dues in Nigeria politics going by his impressive and impactful participation over the years.
In 1992, he was elected member of the House of Representatives representing Madobi Federal Constituency and in 1995, he was one of the delegates from Kano state that attended the constitutional conference.
The fight is all about power. While Kwankwaso is aiming for the presidency in the general election, Ganduje is blackmailing him by showing his support for President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term every minute of the day, a position he believes, will easily earn him a second term in office as governor without Kwankwaso’ s support.