Kano state PDP Caretaker Committee chairman Engr. Suleiman Rabiu Bichi in this interview with Aliyu Askira says his will definitely re-claim its stolen governorship mandate. Excerpts.
You are so passionate about Engr. Abba Kabiru’s governorship ambition yet you were interested in the same office?
You know, some people are impatient. I was the Secretary to Government of Kano state under Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso’s second term. In fact, I was the one financing our political movement, the Kwankwasiyya Movement, the successful foreign sponsorship programme by the Kwankwaso administration was handled by me and the former deputy governor to Abdullahi Ganduje, professor Hafiz Abubakar.
I had indicated interest in 2015 to succeed Kwankwaso because I had very strong conviction that I was in good position to continue with his laudable programmes. But after several meetings, our leader then, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso endorsed Governor Ganduje and we all accepted that. Later, I retained my post as the secretary to the state government even though, most of those Kwankwaso wanted to serve in Ganduje’s government as commissioners were one way or the other rejected.
However, we continued with Ganduje until when I discovered that he has gradually formed his own new kitchen cabinet that comprised of people who are very selfish and have nothing to offer Kano state. This started when Haruna Doguwa was removed as APC chairman in Kano and Abdullahi Abbas replaced him. Subsequently, things became unbearable for some of us and I decided to resign though they may told the general public that I was sacked.
But you emerged as PDP caretaker chairman in Kano state when there was election of new executive committee members under the chairmanship of Senator Jibril Mas’ud Doguwa?
When Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso left the APC and re-joined the PDP and being loyalists some of us followed him, the PDP national headquarters in Abuja in its wisdom, decided to give Kwankwaso 51 percent PDP leadership structure in Kano and 49 percent to Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau/Aminu Wali Group. This did not go down well with Aminu Wali and Ibrahim Shekarau and Shekarau decided to run away and re-join the APC, but Aminu Wali remained in the PDP though with a hidden agenda to fight us, the Kwankwaso group, but because we were allocated 51 percent the PDP Abuja Headquarters dissolved the Kano EXCO and I was nominated to be the caretaker chairman of the party in Kano. Even though that caused series of crises within our fold, we moved on and successfully contested for the governorship election. That was how I emerged the chairman of the party in Kano state and I think we have made some modest achievements.
Some have argued the way Abba Kabir Yusuf emerged as PDP governorship candidate was undemocratic. In fact, one Alhaji Ibrahim Little approached the court praying that the candidacy of Alhaji Abba as the PDP candidate be nullified?
This has since been overtaken by event because the Court of Appeal in Kaduna has since ruled that Abba is the legitimate PDP candidate. And talking about how our governorship candidate emerged, I was initially interested in the governorship like I told you, Architect Aminu Dabo was interested, Ibrahim Al-amin Little was interested, Salisu Sagir Takai was interested and Engr. Abba Kabir Yusuf himself was equally in flying the flag of the party as its governorship candidate.
But after series of meeting in Kaduna, our leader Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso said I should remain as the PDP caretaker chairman, Salisu Sagir Takai should be Engr. Abba’s running mate, Aminu Dabo should decide to go to the House of Representatives or senate, and we all agreed that in the interest of our people in Kano, Abba Kabir Yusuf who was Kwankwaso’s former Commissioner for Works should contest for the governorship and continue with our programmes, which are aimed at developing Kano state.
What happened then?
Most of our prominent members namely Aminu Dabo, Professor Hafiz Abubakar, Ibrahim Al-amin Little, Yahaya Gogobiri, Gen. Bello Dambazau, Salisu Sagir Takai all left and team up with Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje largely to defeat our candidate. we went into the election with only Kwankwaso as our leader and major financer of Abba Gida Gida for governor.
Our candidate, I can tell you is a dynamic politician who very highly accepted in the history of Kano state by women, children and most of Kannywood members like Aminu Ladan Ala, and Naziru Ahmad that went out of their ways using their own resources to campaign and compose songs for us. Tijjani Gwandu of the Dan Maye Fame and Sadiq Zazzabi also assisted immensely and we won the governorship election.
But going by the result INEC announced, the APC won, how come you said you won?
You are one journalist that has been in Kano since 1999, you know the in and out of Kwankwasiyya Movement, your paper is one paper that was very closed to Senator Kwankwaso when he was governor. He made sure that his weekly council meeting reports and programmes were published by the Blueprint newspapers.
You know the voting pattern of Kano people so when we went out for the governorship election on 9th of March, 2019, Abba K Yusuf emerged victorious, he clearly beat Ganduje by 26 thousand votes excluding Nassarawa local government. That again you know because the result was public knowledge.
But even in Nassarawa, Abba got over 47 thousand votes, and Ganduje got over 17 thousand votes so all in all we won by over 56 thousand votes. You members of the press, security agencies, party agents, foreign observers were there when the deputy governor of Kano state, Nasiru Gawuna and Kano state commissioner for Local Government, Murtala Sule Garo, invaded the collation centre and tore the Nassarawa result. What we expected the electoral officials to do was to cancel the Nassarawa result and declare the PDP winner because we were leading with 26 thousand votes.
However, along the line, there were interventions from Abuja and the election was declared inconclusive. We went for re-run on March 23rd and say the least as all the media and foreign observers can attest there was no election that day.
You said there was no election on March 23rd but INEC released results that gave Ganduje victory. Where did they get those votes if there was no election?
I can tell you and can even swear that on the 23rd of March, 2019, we went out to all the wards that elections were to be re-conducted, but we met people that were not even Kano indigenes; strange faces from neighbouring states. In some wards, some political thugs carrying dangerous weapons were stationed at the polling units, if you are to vote for the PDP, they will destroy the ballot paper or beat you to a state of coma.
Further, in some wards, there were no ballot papers or electoral officials did not even turn up, and foreign observers, including local media were even attacked, some their cameras were destroyed, some were beaten and all these were captured and shown on social media.
At the end of the day, we heard that some results were collated and Ganduje was said to have been declared as winner. Before the election, Kano elders, Kano ulamas, friends of Kano and all those that wished Kano well had appealed to Kano people to go out and vote for candidates of their choice, including our respected Emir.
But what we saw on 23rd March, 2019 was nothing but open rape of democracy: total rejection of the will of Kano people. Funny enough, even the concocted result still indicated that Abba Gida Gida of the PDP won the election and so, Kano people should continue praying, because very soon we are going to re-claim our stolen mandate at the tribunal.No tags for this post.