For Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the presidential flag bearer of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), last Saturday’s presidential rally at Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano has proved to be the litmus test about his popularity and acceptability in Kano after the widely-held wrong notion that he and the party have eclipsed into oblivion in the state. BASHIR MOHAMMED writes.
It was to remain an indisputable fact because even the most gifted political analysts never predicted the possibility of the Peoples Democratic Party presidential rally being greeted with pomp and pageantry, given the fragmentation that permeated the top echelon of the party before now.
With notable figures committing what analysts call ideological sacrilege in the wake of the disaffection precipitated by the outcome of the party’s primary, believed to be conducted in line with the whims and caprices of Dr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, leader of the Kwankwassiyya movement, less was expected of the party in the state.
Knowing the unpredictable nature of Kano politics, many political observers had kept their fingers crossed to avoid committing analytical error of judgement due to the prevailing tide of events which could easily tilt the balance of power to the advantage of the opposition gunning for the presidency.
Many were also monitoring keenly the current campaign of mudslinging on both sides of the political divide in Kano with notable gladiators making a hell of noise in order to hurt the sensibility of each other just to score political points. This was the situation few days to the general election in which supporters of the incumbent Kano state governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and his arch rival, Sen Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso are locked in a titanic battle.
However, the unprecedented crowd that greeted the PDP rally, even though it was believed by political opponents to be rented, had undoubtedly gingered the confidence of tens of thousands of PDP supporters in Kano that their determination for political relevance in Kano politics is becoming obvious and that the party, according to its leading kingpins, is on the road to winning the general elections at all levels.
It was, however, the contention of notable political figures in Kano that the popularity of a candidate at whichever level, is always tested at polling booths, where the electorate are given the opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice, in view of the fact that crowd never determines the fate of a candidate as spectators could be hired to a venue slated for any rally.
However, it was also the submission of notable opposition figures within the top echelon of PDP that those who down-play the huge success believed to have been recorded during the PDP presidential rally were evidences of the fact that some APC chieftains were already rattled ahead of the elections.
Kano people confirmed my expectations – Atiku
According to Atiku who did not mince words during the rally, “It is high time for the people of Kano to vote for the Peoples Democratic Party for you to see wonders and reap the dividends of democracy under our leadership.”
Addressing the mammoth crowd of party supporters in Kano last Saturday, he said Kano had been known to have attained an enviable height in the field of commerce and agriculture, adding that his administration would focus attention on the two important sectors for Kano to regain her lost glory.
According to him, “The people of Kano have confirmed my expectation as regards this victory in the forthcoming election, considering the unprecedented crowd that attended this rally.” He posited that Kano had set the pace for actualising his journey to the Presidential Villa.
He pointed out that what democracy entails is service to humanity and the ability of a leader to live above board, positing that the overwhelming crowd of supporters had dispelled any doubt that PDP is on the road to wrestle power from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) at all levels.
He said he would also look into the issue of welfare for the down-trodden masses to get succour at the time in need affirming that he was spurred into conceiving such a welfarist policy for the economic predicament of the masses whose sufferings need to be cushioned.
Kwankwasiya dynasty is in charge of Kano- Kwankwaso
Speaking earlier, leader of the Kwankwasiyya movement, Dr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso said the stunning crowd that attended the rally had demonstrated the resolve of the party to clinch all the positions to be contested at all levels. He pointed out that his crusade on convincing voters to have a change of guard in the corridors of power was never an exercise in futility.
He said, “I am here today to join our teeming supporters in celebrating the revival of the Kwankwasiyya dynasty on the political landscape of Kano. We have undoubtedly actualised this mission and you can bear me witness without any contradiction. When we said we are the ones dictating the tide of political events, some people look at it as if we were joking.
“We are calling on each and every one of you to join our campaign train in order to reach the desired destination. One cannot under-estimate our strength without us showing him the way out. Where are the youths today? It is your day and we are here for you with our next president visiting you to confirm his acceptability in Kano.”
It’s the mother of all rallies – Secondus
In his remarks, the national chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, described the rally as the mother of all rallies considering the enthusiasm exhibited by tens of thousands of PDP supporters. He stressed that no victory could ever be attained without the support of voters.
The PDP presidential rally had undoubtedly elicited a flurry of discordant tunes in political circles, knowing the complex nature of Kano politics ahead of the general elections. “There is an unseen, inescapable tendency that thousands of so-called undecided votes would love to throw their weight behind a certain candidate at the eleventh hour,” says Husseini Abdul, a student of Bayero University Kano who spoke to Blueprint.
It was however, the contention of a renowned APC chieftain in Kano, Alhaji Auwalu Aliyu Zakari Fagge, that no amount of ideological sabre-rattling could ever cow millions of APC supporters into believing that PDP has the capacity to edge the ruling party out of the political landscape of the nation, adding that Nigerians have not forgotten the mess brought about by the PDP for the period it remained in power.
He said, “It is the PDP that is responsible for the current security mess plaguing the nation since the leading figures in the party woefully failed to nip the ongoing insurgency in the bud right from the onset, a result of which it only resorted to distributing slush funds for the purpose of perpetuating its ruling cabal in power.”
He continued further, “I can’t even imagine how Saturday’s rally could be held during the hey days of Boko Haram insurgency. It won’t be possible because of the Boko Haram scare. The PDP people are enjoying the fruit of our labour. They have failed to achieve what we have achieved now. Making noise or unguarded utterances is not the way out. Let us meet at the polls and they would be surprised,” he said.
Sounding a discordant tune, a renowned PDP Supporter in Kano, Alhaji Abdullahi Tanke said the huge crowd that greeted the presidential rally has proved to doubting Thomases that the party has bounced back to political lime-light preparing to wrest power without any obstacle. He affirmed that the time had come for everyone to sift the grain from the chaff with the general elections drawing nearer.
Blueprint investigation reveals that what is currently on the lips of pundits in Kano is how the titanic battle could be fought to a logical conclusion especially with the PDP claiming fresh acceptability nationwide on one hand and the APC claiming to sustain its invincibility on the other hand.