Kano 2015 and the political gladiators

By Bala Ahmed Fagge

Although Mohammed Abacha has not officially indicated interest in the 2015 gubernatorial contest, he is nevertheless the subject of public interest and political analyses among the people of Kano State.  It is usually difficult to discuss Kano politics without a reference to Mohammed Abacha. In fact, it may be naïve to analyse Kano politics without taking Mohammed Abacha into account. His political impact in the 2010 gubernatorial primaries under the former Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) was so remarkable that he forced many political analysts and negative predictors to eat their hats. He shocked many of those who underrated his political ambition or his political strengths.
He left the PDP in 2010 to join the CPC not because of opportunistic reasons, but because the party leadership was in the pocket of an individual politician. The party leaders were so compromised that a level playing field became impossible and Mohammed Abacha had no option left except to quit the PDP. His departure from the PDP was borne out of necessity. Nobody would readily sacrifice his ambition where a level playing ground was made impossible. If General Buhari could leave the former ANPP to form CPC because of injustice, no one should blame others for defecting from their original parties for the same reasons.

The Kano State PDP chapter at that time was bent on delivering the party to one aspirant by denying the supporters of other aspirants membership cards. When it became obvious that the party leadership in Kano State was not ready to allow a free and fair contest, Mohammed Abacha and his supporters decided to move to the CPC, which was perceived as a party of justice and fair play. Within a few months of joining CPC, Mohammed Abacha had made a tremendous impact beyond the imagination of many political observers. During the 2010 gubernatorial primaries, Mohammed Abacha resoundingly defeated the CPC’S officially anointed aspirant, Colonel LawalJa’afar Isa. He defeated Isa with 144,000 votes while the party favoured aspirant got only 78, 8000 votes.

Mohammed’s victory was too hot to handle for the CPC national leaders who had a hidden agenda to impose a candidate instead of respecting the wishes of the voters. The CPC national leaders withheld the results because Isa was defeated by Abacha. While the CPC leaders submitted Isa’s name who was defeated at the primaries, INEC published Abacha’s name as CPC gubernatorial candidate. The electoral body did so because it supervised the primaries and witnessed the election of Mohammed Abacha.

Despite the fact that the primaries were freely and fairly conducted  in the presence of INEC representatives, the CPC national leaders ignored  the wishes of the voters and imposed Isa who came a distant second at the primaries. The CPC leaders relied on the so-called party prerogative to overturn the will of the voters, a practice which has no place in democracy and imposed Ja’afar Isa as gubernatorial candidate.
The injustice done to Mohammed Abacha by the CPC National leaders was an eye opener to Nigerians. It became obvious that the CPC was paying lip service to free and fair elections. How can a party that didn’t respect the choice of the voters preach about free and fair elections? How can a party that undemocratically introduced the substitution and imposition of candidates preach about free and fair elections? The imposition of candidates was a big blow to the credibility of the former CPC.

The imposition of candidates revealed the moral underbelly of the CPC; its commitment to voter sovereignty as an empty rhetoric. The outcome of the 2011 gubernatorial election had confirmed that the imposition of candidates was unpopular and, as a result, the CPC was resoundingly defeated in the governorship election. It could not win a single seat in the northwest during the governorship elections.
It is not surprising, therefore, why Mohammed Abacha chose to go back to the PDP because CPC (now APC) has had no better credentials to conduct free and fair elections.  Why is Mohammed Abacha still a factor in the politics of Kano State? Why do the people still want him to seek election in 2015? The most obvious explanation for this stems from his sincerity and genuine compassion towards the ordinary people. His love for the people is the source of his political strength.  He has never abandoned the ordinary people. Unlike other politicians who come around only when they need your votes, Mohammed Abacha always welcomes the ordinary people, with open arms. He identifies with them consistently. Mohammed Abacha is driven by the humble conviction that nobody ever becomes poor by giving. In the words of the Dalai Lama, “love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.  Without them, humanity cannot survive.”

Fagge wrote from 136, Anguwar Rimi, Kaduna. Email: [email protected]