ABDULGAFAR OLADIMEJI and ABDULLAHI YAKUBU dissect the intrigues surrounding the eventual defection of former governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau, from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The defection of the immediate past governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, from the ruling All Progressive Congress, (APC) to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) kick started diverse versions of permutations about the political trajectory of the state, particularly with the 2019 general elections around the corner.
He had defected to join, his predecessor Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau in the PDP. He had in 2014 displaced Shekarau who had midwifed the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) into the APC merger. Kwankwaso was among other governors at the time who moved to the APC under the platform of the nPDP. He however fell out with his successor and estranged former deputy governor, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.
But following Kwankwaso’s return to PDP, some analysts posited that the new political marriage between Kwankwaso and his popular opposite, two term former Kano state Governor, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau is a marriage of convenience between strange political bed fellows.
Others held the view that, Kwankwaso’s sole mission is to dislodge his former political godson and incumbent Kano state Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.
Predicting the defection..
Our investigations revealed that in the PDP Kano chapter, there were party men and women, who were not impressed by the return of Kwankwaso to the PDP. They are aggrieved and disgruntled that the former Kano State governor piloted his Kwakwassiyya movement conspired with the nPDP playing a pivotal role in the impasse and tsunami that sent the then ruling PDP packing in 2015.
Those who celebrated the return of Kwankwaso to the PDP are of the conviction that the political forces that would be mobilised by Shekaruayiya and Kwankwasiyya posses the political potency to dislodge Ganduje from Kano Government House.
But Ganduje described Kwankwaso, his former political ally, as a “political lilliputian who can not win his ward”.
Ganduje in a statement signed by his chief press secretary Abba Anwar, said “their defection will not constitute any problem to our great party, the APC, at all levels. People should keep their eyes (open) to what will happen during election.”
Kano State commissioner for Rural Development, Dr Musa Iliyasu Kwankwaso, a fiery and feisty politician, also reacting to the defection of Kwankwaso said the former governor and presidential aspirant on the platform of the PDP, is not a political force to reckon with in Kano politics.
Prior to the ongoing crisis in Kano PDP, the commissioner in his prediction said “‘there is no cause for alarm ,with respect to my former good Governor Malam Ibrahim Shekarau , who I regarded as one of my mentor’s in politics, let me tell you very soon ,there would be crisis between them ,especially, on who would produce the governorship candidate for the PDP, take or leave it, I know my brother ,Senator Kwankwaso, he would be so desperate to produce the party gubernatorial candidate, this would automatically cause disaffection and big crisis between the rank and file of the PDP.
An APC chieftain in the state, Alhaji Aminu Mai Dawah Fagge, said “this is a man who is the senator representing Kano Central in the senate, please I appeal to you journalists to go round the local governments that constitute Kano Central senatorial zone, I assure you that you will not find a single constituency project worth N2 million that was initiated and executed by Kwankwaso. Is this the kind of man that will change the political calculations or the future of APC in Kano?
Aminu Muhammad A.K.A Shugaba is an educationalist cum politician. The Kano grass root politician who launched his entrant into Kano politics as a disciple of Mallam Aminu Kano in the 80’s, commented on the defection of Kwankwaso in July thus: “The APC Government in Kano is in danger, the only good news is that, Governor Ganduje can change the stormy situation, the PDP in Kano has three arms, the Aminu Wali camp, Shekarau camp, and Senator Hayatu Gwarzo group, Kwankwaso has now joined PDP in Kano. Kwankwaso I can tell you has no structure, in Kano PDP, Kwankwaso has nothing on the ground from ward structure level to the state level, and the Kwankwaso I know will never follow you, rather you have to follow him, that is his political pattern, he will not follow you, not Kwankwaso.
“Back to APC, Governor Ganduje needs to belt up, he needs to hasten up in deciding on issues and affirm his position as the “supremo” of the ruling APC in Kano, because from what we are seeing, there is need for change in tactics. Imagine the Speaker, Kano State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Yusuf Abdullahi Ata was impeached without the knowledge of the governor. So tell me, I wouldn’t have believed, but the former speaker himself confirmed to me, that his impeachment took place without the blessing of the governor, what does that tell you, if a speaker can be impeached without the consent of the governor, then something is amiss. Kano politics is different, under 48 hours permutations can be up turned, for or against an individual.”
To buttress his point he said “let me tell you a story in the third republic, during the SDP versus NRC era, between late Engineer Magaji Abdullahi of the SDP and Governor Kabiru Gaya of the NRC, who is now a serving senator, Kano before the governorship election was entirely an SDP enclave. SDP swept the local government and House of Assembly elections but 48 hours to the governorship election the permutation changed. Loud speakers and foot soldiers went round and swerved the governorship election in favor of NRC. Then, there were no GSM phones yet it was possible, so what do you think can happen now that we have mobile phones and various social media platforms? Similarly under short notice.
“I am afraid because Kwankwaso has his supporters and they defected along with him to PDP, this is a minus for us, I am not afraid because in Kano PDP, they have over 10 aspirants eyeing the governorship ticket of the party and all of them gunning for the PDP governorship ticket are from the camp of former Governor Ibrahim Shekarau and now Kwankwaso has joined PDP, he also has his candidates, what will now happen to those he met in the PDP, like Aminu Wali and Hayatu Gwarzo, I see some of them leaving for APC soon, who will leave what for who, soonest clash of interest will commence and some persons will feel cheated, after their forthcoming primaries, APC in Kano should expect new entrants, we are banking on this to sink PDP in Kano, and that is subject to the fact that Governor Ganduje needs to throw the right hat into the ring. Ganduje right away should begin to use all the things he knows about Kwankwaso, in the fight and proceed to use those secrets he has against Kwankwaso should be deployed to destabilise Kwankwaso and his Kwankwasiyya camp.”
The tides seemed to be working in favour of PDP, despite the no holds barred relationship between the political families of Kwankwaso and Shekarau, owing to a surprise visit by Kwankwaso to Shekarau, in his Abuja residence.
Shekarau who confirmed the visit to his residence by his predecessor disclosed that the duo deliberated on crucial issues relating to the PDP in Kano, alongside other matters of importance that would brighten the future of the party at the 2019 polls.
But the romance didn’t last long as the dissolution of Kano state Executive Committee of PDP by the National Working Committee served as the last straw that broke the camel’s back.
National publicity secretary of the party, Kola Ologbodiyan, announced the dissolution of the state executive committee of the party, stating that a caretaker committee has been enthroned to pilot the affairs of the party in the state.
Sooner as the news of the dissolution of the Senator Jubril El-Doguwa state filtered into town, the depth of the crisis became evident, reactions and counter reactions trailed the dissolution announcement.
Supporters of Shekarau, Ambassador Aminu Wali and Senator Hayattou Gwarzo staged a rally objecting to the dissolution of the state executive members, describing the move by the National Working Committee as an imposition.
Addressing a gathering of their supporters, Alhaji Gambo Salawu, who is the former speaker of Kano State Assembly led members of PDP in Kano expressed their displeasure over dissolution of the party exco.
Some of the placards bandied by the protesting party members said, “we say No to dissolution of PDP exco in Kano, We say No to Uche Secondus to choose leaders for us, we affirms support on our chairman, Senator El- Doguwa .”
News attributed to a popular media aide to Shekarau, Sule Yau Sule broke out stating that former Governor Shekarau has decamped to the ruling APC, though another aide, to the former minister of Education, Ghali Sadi hurriedly denied the defection by Mallam as Shekarau is fondly referred to by his followers.
Sources revealed that Mallam though had not formally dumped the PDP, he was aggrieved with the dissolution of the state exco without proper consultations. What’s more, the newly constituted caretaker Committee was dominated by members of the Kwankwasiyya movement led by former Secretary to the state Government, Alhaji Rabiu Bichi, who served that capacity under Kwankwaso, a situation Mallam Shekarau and his loyalists vowed not to condone.
Mallam, in the aftermath of lengthy consultations decided to dump the PDP for APC causing mixed reactions in the political atmosphere in the state.
Rumours were rife that, Shekarau has a mouth watering offer from the ruling APC, that he Shekarau will have an input in determining who is going to emerge as the next deputy governor of the state, adding that, he will be accorded the Kano Central senatorial seat.
However, national chairman of the APC, Mr. Adams Oshiomole, while welcoming Shekarau to the APC, said the former Kano governor was reuniting with his former party, where he is amongst founding fathers. He added that the new development would not only pave way for the party to win the state, but would also help the party to add value to its victory in 2019 general election.
Oshiomole who spoke at the residence of Shekarau, said it was an honour to welcome the former governor to the midst of progressive minded people.
The APC national chairman further stated “as I use to say to you, there would be a time ,when only the progressive minded would stay in the APC and also the conservative one would equally. Today therefore a progressive minded politician has joined the party ,while the conservative one has left.”
His words “ take it or leave it, in view of Malam Shekarau ‘s reputation in politics , I doubt no man can said to be progressive more than Malam.
“I therefore look forward to you to contribute an enormous talents and ideas ,God given to you to move the party forward both in the state in particular and in the country in general.”
Speaking earlier, Shekarau said, he was happy that Oshiomole emerged as national chairman, adding that it dared him back to his pragmatic leadership while he was Labour leader.
The former governor said he and his followers will contribute to the success of the party at the state and national levels.
Governor Ganduje, welcomed all the national officers of the party who were in “Kano to witness the occasion to solidify the relationship between Shekarau and our great party.”
Ganduje said “this relationship we were witnessing today has come to stay, Malam Shekarau belongs to same constituency even tnough we were not in the same political party.
“The reason why I said we belongs to same constituency, is that Malam Shekarau is a bureaucrat and I also bureaucrat, I was a Commissioner of works about 40 years ago ,Malam Shekarau was also a permanent Secretary.
“We therefore thank Allah that former Governor has realised the need to come back to a powerful house, he jointly built ,because the hyenna had gone back to his original house,” Ganduje ended.
An ally to president Muhammadu Buhari and coordinator Arewa media group, Alhaji Abdul Majid Dan Biliki Komanda, however welcomed Shekarau back to APC, with some reservations. He warned that any mouth watering offers that attracted Shekrau back to APC is not binding on the party, adding that, whatever the agreement reached between the duo is simply a gentleman agreement.
Nonetheless, Shekarau is said to have moved into the APC with 12 gubernatorial aspirants and all the State and Federal legislators contesting under PDP and 43 local government chairmanship contestants.
Speaking during his formal declaration into the APC yesterday at his Country home at Mundubawa Avenue, he said the decision to defect was reached after a wider consultation with his suporters accross all the 44 local government areas of the state.
“We have decided to leave the PDP after studying the fallacies involved in our relationship with the party leaders headed by Uche Secondus we have resolved that we will not find justice where he remains as the PDP head. Because of his open love for Kwankwassiyya, he conspired with them to do injustice to us despite our efforts to resolve things amicably.”
He accused Kwankwaso who have just joined the party of playing on the intelligence of all the PDP leaders because of his resolve to take the lion share in the composition of the party structure, leaving himself and Aminu Wali, Bello Hayatu Gwarzo with negligeable percentage.
He cited Chapter 2 part 1 of section A sub section 17 of the PDP constitution which said cetegorically clear that any body who defected from the party is not entitled to any position if he returns to the party. But despite that provision we decided to reconciled with Kwankwaso and give him some slots from the ward up to the state level but all to no avail.
He described his joining the APC as a home coming and a step to join hands with other progressive elements in the APC to move Kano State and Nigeria in general to greater heights.
Speakers at the event commended the efforts of Shekarau in trying to bring about a peaceful and amicable resolution of all the problems that surrounded the PDP but was not honoured by Kwankwaso and Uche Secondus.
“we are going to give PDP a good fight we will join hands to make sure that Ganduje and Buhari have an overhelming victory at the polls.”
Our correspondent reported that the rantings of Sai Buhari and Ganduje filled the air before and after Shekarau delivered his speech.
Kwankwaso who is yet to give a strong statement on the defection of Shekarau, has continued his campaign for the presidential ticket of the PDP. He has repeatedly boasted that he is still popular not just in Kano but in the entire North. He however is yet to visit his home state. The cross defections of Shekarau and Kwankwaso however brings to mind the clash of familiar political titans, who had squared off in 2003, with Shekarau emerging the winner at the governorship polls then. Evidently, the battle for the soul of Kano politics has just got tougher.
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