Battle For Soul of Kano Begins Ahead of 2027 Poll

The ongoing political battle between the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Dr. Abdulahi Ganduje and the Kano state Governor, Abba Yusuf goes beyond corruption allegations but a fight for the soul of the state ahead of the 2027 general elections. Adedayo Akinwale reports

This might not be the best of times for the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje who was recently suspended by the executives of his Ward in Dawakin Tofa Local Government of Kano State.

The decision of the ward executive to stir the hornet’s nest last Monday ensured that the seeming peace enjoyed in the governing party was brought to an abrupt end.

Ganduje’s ward executive had accused him of gross misconduct and misappropriation of public funds during his administration in the state.

For those who have followed the political development in Kano state for a while now, it won’t be too difficult to decipher that the political unrest in the state was a continuation of the political battle and animosity between two former political associates.

For the eight years that Ganduje piloted the affairs of the state, it was a battle royale between him and his erstwhile boss, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso. Even for some years, Kwankwaso could not come to Kano while Ganduje was governor. 

However, since the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) government in the state led by Abba Yusuf, who happens to be an in-law to Kwankwaso, took over power, things are no longer at ease politically in the ancient city. He had taken the baton and renewed the rivalry between Kwankwaso and Ganduje. 

It would be recalled that Yusuf had in his inaugural speech directed law enforcement agencies to immediately take over all land and property allegedly sold to “cronies and agents” of the Ganduje-led administration.

Within 72 hours of the directive, bulldozers were out in force, pulling down structures. Property demolished included a three-storey complex with 90 shops near the Nasarawa GRA, the three-star Daula Hotel reconstructed by the  Ganduje administration under a Public-Private Partnership arrangement, a building at the Hajj Camp, and a complex of shops at the Kantin Kwari textile market. An NGO estimated  the value of the destroyed property at over N200 billion. 

Against this background, it was clear from the onset that Yusuf was on a mission, which was to incapacitate Ganduje politically and also decimate the APC ahead of the 2027 general election. 

Surprisingly, Yusuf rolled out more arsenals last Monday when news filtered in that Ganduje was suspended by his Ward executive.

Although, both the ward and local government executives have dissociated themselves from the purported suspension of Ganduje when they paid him a courtesy visit last Wednesday at the national headquarters of APC in Abuja, the damage was already done. 

It was glaring that those used to send shock waves into the ruling party were sponsored by the Kano state government and they did the job perfectly if the recent events at the ruling party are anything to go by. 

While APC was still nursing the wound,  Kano State High court last Wednesday affirmed Ganduje’s suspension. The judge, Usman Na’Abba, granted an ex parte order restraining the party’s national chairman, Ganduje, from parading himself as a member of the party.

Subsequently, the court ordered Ganduje to desist from presiding over all affairs of the APC’s National Working Committee (NWC).

Ganduje in his reaction to the court order affirming his suspension accused NNPP-led Kano State Government of being jittery over the rising electoral profile of President Bola Tinubu in the state. 

He noted: “They are so concerned that we are battle ready to take over the government come 2027. They are so concerned that we got the second highest votes for Mr. President and that we will get even higher in order to ensure that 2027 is a walk over. 

“Their motive is to create confusion in our party so that we won’t have the courage and mind to take over the government of Kano and to also ensure that our president does not have intimidating votes from Kano State. Their intentions will fail.

“We want to assure Mr President that our party in Kano State is intact. It is solid. It is battle ready in order to give the highest votes to Mr President.”

The embattled party chairman described the development as a new destructive phenomenon, saying the APC leadership would ensure that the impersonators are punished.

According to him, this is a new destructive phenomenon in democracy which should not be allowed to thrive, if elements of another political party could sit down and claim that they are executive members of another political party I think this should be checked even by security agencies. 

Not resting on its oars, the ruling party in a counter move petitioned the National Judicial Council (NJC) demanding a review of the court order issued by Justice Usman Na’abba against Ganduje.

Similarly, the National Legal Adviser of the party, Prof. Abdulkarim Kana said: “We don’t know where all this is coming from, our preliminary investigation shows that there is fraud. A typical 419 situation here. 

“And unfortunately, they’ve also gone too far by taking the fraudulent documents circulated to all of you. We’re also hearing this afternoon that they use the same for the document to go to court to obtain an order of the court. We haven’t seen the order, but we have heard about it.

“Whatever order that will emanate from such a document, and all of us know, even a 100 level law student will tell you that an order obtained by fraud is an unlawful order. It will not be enforceable,and it will not be recognised and it will not be respected.”

In continuation of the legal fireworks, another High Court court in Kano has ordered that the suspension of Ganduje from APC be halted.  The judge, A.M Liman, said the purported suspension should not be implemented until the case is heard and determined.

“That all the parties are hereby mandated to maintain status quo before the purported emergency meeting of the alleged executive members of APC Ganduje Ward, and to stay action in respect of this matter pending the hearing and determination of the substantive application,” Justice Liman said.

The judge subsequently fixed April 30 to hear Ganduje’s appeal. 

Meanwhile, a former National Vice Chairman, North-west of the party, Dr. Salihu Lukman, has called on Tinubu and other party leaders to settle the feud between Kwankwaso and Ganduje.

He said: “If this means another round of negotiation for political alliance or merger with Senator Kwankwaso and NNPP, our leaders should proceed to act accordingly.”

Expectedly, some elements within the ruling party have seized the opportunity to call for the resignation of Ganduje.

While in the midst of the drama, a group of protesters under the umbrella of APC Youth Solidarity Network (APCYSN) stormed the National Secretariat of APC in Abuja to caution the party against the legal implication of  Ganduje conducting the forthcoming Ondo State governorship primary election.

The group in a petition jointly signed  by the Convener,  Danesi Momoh and and Co-Conveners,  Abdulkadir Shuaibu and Adeyeye Olugbenga, insisted that Ganduje lacks locus standi to conduct the primary as that could spell doom for the party in the long run.

Be that as it may, analysts believe that the political battle going on in Kano state between Kwankwaso, Yusuf on one hand  and Ganduje on the other hand was purely a fight for the soul of the state ahead of the 2027 polls. 

In Nigeria’s political permutation, both Kano and Rivers state are very strategic for any party that desires to win the presidential election. While APC can make an in-road into Rivers State with the help of the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, Ganduje is much more needed to balance the equation and to make sure the footing of APC is maintained in the state. 

In as much as Kwankwaso remains in NNPP and with the hope he doesn’t defect to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), just as it was witnessed during the 2023 polls, he would neutralise the PDP’s plan of reclaiming the state, while the ruling party focuses on winning other states in the North West.

It would therefore be counter productive for the ruling party to trade Kano for Rivers, which has the highest voting block in Nigeria.

If there is a time that Ganduje needs the support of Tinubu more, it is now and the President is more politically savvy and won’t be expected to throw his long-time ally under the bus at this time.

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