After a palpating, energy-sapping and, unarguably, one of the most excruciating and expensive electioneering campaigns in the annals of democratic contests in the politically volatile Kano state, the election held on the March 9,, 2019, anti-climaxed in a verdict of “inconclusive” by the Independent National Electorate Commission, INEC. That was following the electoral umpire’s announcement of the scores for APC’s flag bearer, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, at 987,819 votes against that of Abba Yusuf of the PDP with 1,014,474votes. In the re-run election held two weeks later, March 23, 2019, the PDP candidate slipped to scoring below his APC rival with 1,024,713 to 1,033,695 votes. By that, Governor Ganduje was declared winner and, therefore, successful in his bid for the second term at Kano Government House.
Not unexpectedly, a few have gone to town assailing the victory of the governor as flawed on the ground of rigging through ballot box snatching and stuffing, vote allotment and violence by APC agents in cahoots with security personnel against supporters of the opposition PDP. Even before proving the legion of allegations on the basis of which the opposition are claiming that Ganduje’s ultimate victory failed the test of probity, they have also been playing up the card of morality as a reason majority of the electorate could not have given him a mandate for a second term.
As it turned out last Saturday however, not only did Ganduje level up by erasing the 26,000-vote deficit, he went on to trounce PDP’s Alhaji Abba Yusuf by polling 8,982 votes over as margin of victory. The outcome of the polls literally translates to mean that, in spite of all the campaign by his traducers, the greater majority of people in Kano have not been convinced to go against their incumbent governor. The message implicit in the people’s disposition would be something like: the benefits of having the man are far more than the benefits of losing him.
The fact is, unlike those before him, Governor Ganduje is a silent achiever, a workaholic, who would rather that his records should speak for him. He is not one that regales in the practice of thumbing his chest or in rolling out the drums in celebration of every bit of his achievements. Otherwise, in concrete terms, his administration has in less than four years recorded myriads of tangible, meaningful landmarks in the facets of the social, economic and infrastructure development of the state, arguably, surpass the records of any of his predecessors.
In the social aspects of governance and development, for example, it is to the credit of the Ganduje administration’s deft social engineering that the usually combustible state has been experiencing unprecedented peace and tranquility in the last three years. Kano state under him has been able to ward off the menace of banditry, cattle rustling and the Boko Haram insurgency pervading the neighbouring states.
This is by no means insignificant if cognisance is given to the very huge human population and cosmopolitan nature of the state. At a time of receding fund allocations from the federation account, compounded by general economic downturn which saw the country going into a recession, it is remarkable that the Ganduje government has been one of the few in the federation where workers and pensioners are being paid regularly. That is, just as the government has not only maintained the state’s scholarship schemes for its students in local and foreign tertiary institutions, it has sanitised the scheme by ridding it of waste and other forms of corruption as well as boosting it by expanding the number of beneficiaries.
Essentially, a state whose economy thrives on commerce and agriculture, a yardstick for measuring records of any administration in Kano, is logically one that takes stock of its tracks in those two sectors. In this regard, the creation of a conducive environment that makes for investment and related commercial activities, the robust rural transformation programmes that have given rise to a meshwork of rural road construction and electrification projects across the state are a few of the scorecard of Governor Ganduje since he mounted the saddle of leadership.
The people of Kano state, one must give it to them, come as simply the most politically conscious, discerning, articulate and radical in the country. Go down the lane of history, from the first Republic when majority of the electorate there went out for the NEPU, against the NPC which was the mainstream political vanguard of the then Northern Region through the Second Republic when again, they queued behind the PRP instead of the NPN, the reincarnated NPC. In 1983, Kano people showed their political stuff of the radicalism and independence by going for late Sani Bakinzuwo, an otherwise political underdog of Nupe extraction, against the choice of incumbent Abubakar Rimi, now also late. Similarly, benefiting from Kano people’s political sagacity and freewill was Senator-elect, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, when, against all permutations, he was voted against incumbent Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.
Against the backdrop of their historical antecedents on matters of the elections, Ganduje would have been preferred by majority of Kano voters due to some of the multiple reasons highlighted above. The intelligent electorate would have refused to be hoodwinked by the orchestrated cacophony of propaganda mounted by the opposition because of their perception of victimisation or political vendetta against him. The discerning Kanawa would also have pitched their tents with Ganduje because they are convinced that with him as their pilot, they are sure to soar to the Next Level.
By the way, some pundits have retorted to opposition’s accusation of describing election as falling short of the standards of transparency as hypocritical because, in truth, the election in Kano state as in most other places in the country was, more or less, a rigging competition between all the political parties. In which case, the winners were those most capable to rigging and, therefore, if the APC is guilty of rigging the governorship election in Kano state, to that extent, it was simply because Ganduje was victorious in the rigging competition in which the PDP’s candidate was a participant. On a final note, even if the Kano people had shown signs of disaffection against Ganduje, the opposition parties were just not in good stead to build on the sentiments to advantage. Fraught with infighting and resultant weakening of ranks, they were not properly articulated for what was a titanic battle. Thus, the inevitability of the epochal victory of Ganduje in his second term bid.
Aminu from Kura, Kano state.