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Support For Saraki Divides Kano Electorate

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The recent defection of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki from the APC to the PDP has eaten into Kano Politics, creating divisions among the electorate. Abdulgafar Oladimeji in Kano reports

Kano “tumbin giwa” (Kano as big as the stomach of an elephant) best describes the sudden conversion of the political landscape, in the ancient city into a battle between those in support and those embittered with the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

The political warfare flagged off when hundreds of protesters marched to Kano State Government House located in between State road and Sabo Bakin Zuwo road, last Thursday to demand the immediate resignation of the senate President from office.

The anti Saraki protesters under the aegis of Arewa Solidarity Front (ASF), alleged that, Saraki in their judgment lacks the prerequisite to hold forth the exalted position of Senate President.

The aggrieved anti-Saraki campaigners who are also pro-Buhari group were led by Bashir Abdullahi to chant anti-Saraki and pro -Buahri slogans.

The pro-Buhari group insisted that the national leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) should endeavour to do the needful by ensuring that they unseat Saraki at all costs.

He said: “We call on the national leadership of the APC to pursue the immediate removal of the incompetent Senator Saraki, who emerged Senate President through a fraudulent exercise. We urge the national chairman to prevail on our distinguished senators to save the image and restore the glory of the Senate by replacing Saraki, who has so far built bad image of a leader.

“We make bold to say, it is unacceptable to allow the incumbent Senate President to continue to ridicule the president and the country’s image in the international community with avoidable controversies over budgets and clearance of federal government political appointees.”

Though, many keen political watchers in Kano were taken aback by the action of the anti Saraki protesters as the political dimension now takes a new turn on the political shores of the ancient city.

While the pro-Buhari protesters were at it, rumors became rife that sympathizers of the plight of the  embattled Senate President had concluded arrangements to stage a counter protest at same Government House.

But as expected, a coalition of Civil Society Groups (CCSG) requested security agencies to bar the pro Saraki group from staging their planned protest which they believed would be a solidarity for the Kwara born politician.

The CSOs, in a press statement signed by the convener, Comrade Rabiu Shamma, alleged that the pro-Saraki protest is a guaranteed route to causing chaos in Kano.

The CSO’s in a letter sent to the state police command said:  “The planned political protest by pro-Saraki group should not be allowed to hold and recent protest by Arewa Solidarity Group should not be allowed to re-occur in order to maintain the peaceful atmosphere in Kano State.

“The state Commissioner of Police should look into the planned protest with the aim of averting violence that may occur as a result of the counter protest which some unscrupulous elements may hijack to cause havoc in the state.

“The Directorate of State Service (DSS) should also look into purported protest with the aim of stopping the violence that may arise as a result of the protest.

The group in the letter also called on religious leaders to include in their sermons a bold message condemning any attempt by any group to cause havoc in the state in the name of politics.

“The political leaders should also include in their campaign a clear message condemning any attempt by any group to cause disunity in the state in the name of politics,” the group said.

“The youths who are mostly the segment used in promoting violence by the political interests should distance themselves from being manipulated to cause havoc and in general desist from tarnishing the good image of our dear state.”

The group concluded by re-assuring the people of Kano State of its resolve to continue working to strengthen the tenets of democracy as well as ensure peace and unity in the state.

Kano state police command responded and at this point became a party in the matter, the command issued a ban on protests in connection with the Saraki crisis.

In a message aired on public and private owned media outfits, the command’s Public Relations Officer, Superintendent Magaji Musa Majia, cautioned the alleged organizers of pro Saraki demonstration to shelve their plans.

He stated that, the police will apprehend any individual or group of individuals who may embark on open or disguised protest march in any part of the state. Adding that the protest is legal, citing that the planners did not obtain the needed police permit that would enable them to stage their planned protest.

He said: “Kano State Police Command is warning the general public against the planned solidarity protest in support of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.

“The Kano State Police Command did not receive any letter seeking for the permission to engage in any protest. This protest is therefore illegal.”

Barely 48 hours after the police branded the planned protest as illegal, a group with the nomenclature, Coalition of Northern Youths under the aegis of  Arewa Youths for Peace and Security (AYPS),  in a press statement issued in Kano, declared their support for the Senate President, noting that, the call for change of leadership, in the  Senate chamber is unnecessary.

The coalition, which is a conglomerate of 19 Northern groups cautioned that actions that are undemocratic should be shunned by political stakeholders.

The group urged the APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to invest energy towards addressing other pressing national issues confronting the ruling party.

The National President of the Northern Youth coalition, Alhaji Salisu Magaji, while addressing a press conference  in Kano,  averred that, the senate leadership mandate given to Saraki by fellow senators should not be subjected to rebuke and harassment, he said rather the Senate leadership should  be clothed in glory and not  harassment.

The concerned youths argued that, the Senate leadership under Saraki had performed modestly. Adding that, the provisions of the 1999 constitution as amended and procedural rules of the Senate had both clearly indicated how the leadership of the Senate should emerge or office should be vacated.

Magaji said: “The rule of the Senate is clear. It states how to elect and how to impeach a Senate President. None of its processes or articles of association includes the kind of subtle force and desperation implied in the remarks by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.

“Senate President, Dr Saraki, is not the problem of APC. He has exited to another party. APC has several problems to confront that have nothing to do with Saraki. Comrade Adams Oshiomhole should please leave Saraki alone.”

He faulted the siege on the National Assembly by operatives of DSS saying it was a clear breach of the norms of democracy which should not have been allowed to happen.

Magaji counselled senators from the North against aligning themselves with any plot designed to undermine or truncate Saraki’s leadership in the Senate, appealing to the senators to focus on pursuit of issues that are significant to national development.

According to him, the senators must and should resist external interference, urging the lawmakers to invoke internal resolution mechanism to address their crisis so as to sustain the peace and stability that hitherto existed among them.

Magaji accused security operatives of bias in stopping pro-Saraki protesters from marching on the streets of Kano to show their support to the Senate President,  but the security agencies feigned ignorance when anti- Saraki groups took to the streets of Kano to express their views on same topic.

LEADERSHIP Weekend checks reveal that, the voice is that of Jacob with the Saraki versus Adams Oshiomole political tug of war and the body is that of Esau, the Kwankwassiyya versus Gandujiyya and the Buhariyya camps in Kano perching on the Saraki versus Oshiomole dispute to launch political onslaught in the quest to capture or retain power come 2019 general elections.



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