Ibrahim Mohammed Jalil
With just weeks to the primary election of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the political atmosphere in the country, particularly Kano, is fully charged as all presidential and gubernatorial hopefuls are busy picking the party’s nomination forms.
Kano State which is the most politically sophisticated in Nigeria is at a cross road as its governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso is in his final term and is also a frontline contender for the APC presidential ticket. He formally declared that intention yesterday in Abuja.
This is the first time both Kwankwaso and General Muhammadu Buhari, found themselves in the same political party, thanks to the formation of the APC and the former’s defection from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) early this year.
It is on record that General Buhari threw his weight behind Kwankwaso and helped him grab the APC structure from its former leader, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, frustrating the latter out of APC.
However, if recent events are anything to go by, it appears Governor Kwankwaso is on the verge of biting the same finger that fed him, as he challenges Buhari. It is a known fact that Buhari enjoys massive support and popularity among Kano citizens more than any politician in the country, reflecting in the whopping 1.6 million votes he garnered in 2011.
Traditionally, Kano is an opposition state as the people don’t always fail to make rational decisions at every elections going by their voting patterns which does not go in one direction. Kano people have at every election voted for candidates and not political parties which is why in same election; it is not strange to see candidates of different parties winning election for different posts in the same area. Unfortunately, in Kano today, Kwankwaso and his supporters seem to have quickly forgotten history for which he was also a great beneficiary.
Lest we forget, in 2011, Kwankwaso benefitted from the imposition of governorship candidate by his predecessor, Malam Shekarau, when he unilaterally hand-picked Alhaji Salisu Sagir Takai as candidate of the defunct ANPP.
This didn’t go down well with most of his associates and Kano people who turned their back against Shekarau and overwhelmingly voted for Kwankwaso in protest. As pointed out, history seems to be repeating itself now as Kwankwaso is treading the same path of his predecessor by trying to singlehandedly choose who will fly the APC ticket against the wishes of party loyalists and supporters.
That Kwankwaso is now with former Buhari’s top allies like Engineer Buba Galadima and Alhaji Ahmadu Zago who are busy de-campaigning the General’s aspirations.
In the APC now, four people have indicated their interest for the plum job in Kano, including deputy governor Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Hon. Kawu Sumaila, General Lawal Jafaru Isa and Senator Kabiru Gaya. Local government chairmen are always seen mobilizing hundreds of buses to attend any political function organized by the governor but they have been barred from associating with Buhari or any gubernatorial aspirant that identifies with him.
Our people in Kano are more enlightened and sophisticated politically today than in 2011, thanks to the advent of social media and other sources of information that are now at their finger tips. This is equipping them ahead of the elections in February and will play a big role in their ability to make further rational political decisions as they have always done in the past.
History and indeed experience are the best teachers here as just a decade ago, Kano again rejected Kwankwaso’s imposed candidates in State and National Assembly elections which also led to his massive lose to Shekarau even as an incumbent.
The Kano governor may be carried away by the assumption in northern Nigeria that with President Goodluck Jonathan as the PDP presidential candidate, the APC will naturally have an easy ride in all elections. Any political office holder, aspirant or candidate who trusts such illusion is deceiving himself. However, the governorship elections this time around are holding on different dates with that of the president which gives the people ample time of making their choices. I will advise to our governor that he has just few months more in office and his decisions and actions at the twilight of his administration have the capacity to make or mar him politically for life.
By these actions, Kwankwaso may have taken the path of his own undoing and may ultimately shoot himself in the foot as Shekarau did three years ago unless he retraces his steps by allowing for a free and fair primary election in the APC so that he people will choose who they want as governor.
Jalil wrote from Nasarawa GRA Kano