As Kano State gears towards a very heated gubernatorial election in 2019, ABDULLAHI YAKUBU analyses factors that will give incumbent governor Umar Ganduje an edge over his opponents.
Although the whistle for the marathon /campaigns for political offices is yet to be blown by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), the atmosphere is already charged across the federation with a beehive of political activities signalling our proximity to the electioneering period.
While some aspirants from different political parties have indicated interest in contesting for various positions, this is evidenced with the posting of posters at strategic locations and vehicles as well as mounting bill boards.
High branded politicians like former vice president, Atiku Abubakar and others hoping to retain their seats have since started consultation of stakeholders.
The recent visit to Kano State by president Muhammadu Buhari and other prominent Nigerians in honour of the governor’s daughter’s wedding has opened fresh insights into what may occur on the state’s political terrain regarding preparations, conduct and outcome of the 2019 governorship.
Eyes are already on incumbent governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje who is expected to seek re election on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The governorship contest promises to be an interesting one as Ganduje will have to contend with various candidates from many political parties and camps to be able to sustain his control of the state’s government machinery.
However, the governor is facing a very stiff opposition from the Kwankwassiyya wing of the APC headed by the national leader of the group, Dr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.
For the Kwankwasiyya loyalists, allowing Ganduje to present himself as the hero with the political strength to oust their master is not an option to consider as they would rather give their vote to candidates from other parties.
The feud between Dr Ganduje, and his predecessor, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, further deepened when the incumbent ruled out the possibility of reconciling with the ex-governor.
The Kwankwassiyya movement have repeatedly accused Ganduje and his loyalists of derailing from the laid down philosophy of the Kwankwasiyya movement, an association, through which he was catapulted to power.
They frowned that the incumbent discontinued the feeding the programme introduced to boost primary school education in the state. They also harped that Ganduje’s refusal to complete projects initiated by Senator Kwankwaso points clearly that he had backslided from keeping faith.
Kwankwaso’s loyalists who are bent on protecting their boss’s integrity have repeatedly said that Ganduje’s decision to neglect his predecessor’s school fees and allowances payment to students studying in various institutions of higher learning within and outside the country , to a large extent formed the basis of their hatred for him.
Dissecting all of these, one is forced to question the authenticity of their accusations, insinuations is that the true position of things considering what Dr Ganduje is doing in completing the work of Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau a former Governor of Kano State such as the General Hospital at Ginginyu quarters in Nassarawa local government area which was named after President Muhammad Buhari .
Interestingly, Ganduje’s men have countered Kwankwaso’s loyalists, explaining that contrary to their claims, their boss decided to complete the result yielding projects initiated by another former governor of the state and former Minister of Education, Shekarau , which was abandoned by Dr .Kwankwaso when he staged a comeback in 2O11.
According to Ganduje’s men, a hospital , billed to carter for ailing Children at zoo road, located in the heart of the city has since been completed by Dr Ganduje who is assiduously working to complete the longest over -head Bridge in West Africa, though still under construction along Triumph Publishing Company junction , through Murtala Muhammed way in Fagge local government, up to Airport Road junction.
LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered that the said project is viewed by the Ganduje’s administration as a top priority, hence his move to spend a large chunk of the state Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to ensure that the bridge is completed.
While the Ganduje administration is planning to stage a comeback sequel to the fact that aside completing inherited projects, he has initiated brand new projects that will better the lots of his people. He initiated and completed the Madobi – Panshekara round about, a project described as the best In terms of quality and size.
The State government under Ganduje is currently involved in the construction of under pass bridge from Kofar -ruwa in Dala local government area to Kurna Asabe up to ( mil Tara)Round About, leading to Bichi or Dambatta local government areas of the state.
This project is said to have attracted accolades from President Muhammadu Buhari who recently visited the state on a two- day official visit to the state.
In fact work has reached advanced stage and once completed, it will go a long way in ameliorating the sufferings of Kurna residence.
Interestingly, Kurna -Rijiyar lemo residents who often face very hectic traffic situation would be relieved once the under pass is completed, as commuters will pass with ease.
Another reason why governor Ganduje is ranked high above his opponents is his programme tagged “Lungu kal kal Karkara Assalamu Alaikum “ aimed at beautifying the city and improving the social condition of the people leaving in rural areas.
Through this initiative, the Ganduje administration has provided succour to the people and if one is to look at the construction of the Bunkure -Rano – Kibiya roads, it means a lot to the people of the area. Only recently, about N6bn was earmarked by the Ganduje administration to construct about thirty roads in selected local government areas and handled by the ministry of Community and rural development with a view to bringing the less privilege close to the government and thus, boost economic activities in the areas.
While he rehabilitated a reasonable number of drainages in the name of Lungu Kal Kal where street lights are provided to light the streets in the Urban Centres at night for the benefit of the people leaving in the city.
Secondly, the main reason why Dr Ganduje will excel is that if one is to critically look at the political structure it will interest you to know that with the just concluded local government election in the state Ganduje conveniently held the jugular veins of all the local governments in the state.
Therefore all the local government Chairmen are his boys that have emerged victorious during the local government election they were carefully selected based on their alloyed loyalty to the governor a development that failed to go down well with the Kwankwassiyya group.
Thirdly, the governor is in controlled of ninety nine percent of the State Assembly members only five or so belongs to the Kwankwasiyya likewise at the Federal House of Representatives ninety percent are Gandujiya if you look at the State Executive Council all the Commissioners, Special Advisers among others were all appointed by Dr. Ganduje.
He has succeeded in neutralising the opposition especially men and women of the legacy party headed by Alhaji Usman Alhaji who have since abadonned his governorship ambition and joined the governor in an effort to contribute toward making a greater Kano full of hope and developments.
Alhaji Usman Alhaji is a personality who before his recent appointment as SSG in the State contested with former Dr Kwankwaso but fail to make it, and he and his group where promised heaven and earth by Dr Kwankwaso only to be abandoned midway.
Today Ganduje has drawn Usman Alhaji closer to him and appointed him as the SSG in his government. Therefore in 2019 he will not be facing any opposition from that group because even SSG has said it times without number that he might not contest alongside Ganduje even if the time for the contest arrived because of what he has done for him.
Alhaji Ibrahim Kankarofi was a permanent Secretary and a onetime gubernatorial hopeful who was treated badly by Kwankwaso and later was elevated when Ganduje became governor. Kankarofi is currently the Principal Private Secretary at the Kano Government House and is flaring well courtesy of Dr Ganduje who gave him free hand to work for the overall development of the state.
In a nutshell, asides senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, all other serving senators can be said to be loyal to Ganduje. Most, political gladiators from the state’s political parties especially the PDP members like Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, Ambassador Aminu Bashir Wali, Alhaji Musa Gwadabe were Dr Kwankwaso’s political mentors whom he has betrayed but are in good terms with Dr Ganduje today.
His relationship with civil servants in the state because since he took over the mantle of leadership in 2015 has remained cordial as there has never been complain of lack of prompt payment of salaries.
Ganduje who has respect for traditional institution single handedly saved the seat of the current Emir of Kano Alhaji Muhammad Sanusi 11, when the State Assembly under the former, speaker, Hon. Alhassan Abubakar Rirum planned to dethrone him by setting up an investigative panel to look into the financial transactions of the Emirate council, Ganduje used his influence as a governor backed by the intervention of people like Alhaji Aliko Dangote and IBB to truncate the planned disgrace.
From indications, the governor has won the heart of Kano indigenes, as he is not bias in spreading developmental projects. This feat, according to analysts has already placed him above his opponents, come 2019.
Ganduje is working perfectly with religious organisations, especially, the renowned Christian Association of Nigeria. This was further demonstrated practically when the Ganduje administration brought heads of all notable religious groups to the Coronation Hall , in January 2018 and admonished on the need to leave in peace with one another.
Another giant stride recorded by the incumbent is his ability to win the hearts of student union in the state. His administration has so far invested more over N4bn on scholarship within and outside the state for a laudable academic performance. He is in good terms with traditional rulers, traders and a host of others.
Lending his weight to this submission, the commissioner of Information, Comrade Muhammadu Garba told LEADERSHIP SUNDAY that Dr Ganduje has concluded plans and strategies that will catapult him back to the hot seat, and that no amount of blackmail from any quarter will make him surrender.
He said ‘my boss will scale through due to his commitments and assistance to humanity. He is a renowned philanthropist who has touched virtually every home in Kano. The Ganduje fund is always on alert to bail the social and economic wellbeing of the people.’
The commissioner indeed confirmed that Ganduje’s achievement in less than three years is par excellence, hence, he awaits to be sworn in for his second term by 2019.