According to the March 14 edition of Blueprint newspaper, “no fewer than 2,000 members” of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Sumaila local government area of Kano state have defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).” The defectors were said to have been led by one Honorable Surajo Kanawa.
The defectors were received into the PDP’s fold by the trio of former two-term governor of Kano state and former Minister of Education, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, Ambassador Aminu Wali, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and one-time ambassador to the Peoples Republic of China as well as Right Honorable Gambo Salau, a former speaker of the Kano State House of Assembly.
One wonders why as many as 2000 members of the ruling APC in just one local government area of a state that is considered to be President Muhammadu Buhari’s major stronghold will defect to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party in one day. This is even as the same Sumaila local government is the home of Hon Kawu Sumaila, President Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly (House of Representatives) Matters.
The defectors who spoke through their leader, Surajo Kanawa, gave as justification for their defection from APC to the opposition PDP the fact that the APC in Kano state has left the affairs of the party in the area in the hands of Hon Kawu Sumaila, whom they alleged was steering over the affairs of the party like “an empire”.
The fact that such a huge number of party loyalists (75% of whom may be Kawu Sumaila’s loyalists) were allowed to leave the ruling APC in just one local government area of a state as strategic as Kano (which gave President Buhari almost 2 million votes in 2015) speaks about the negligence and I-don’t care attitude of some APC executives who ought to have done everything possible to avert the mass exodus at period when the 2019 election is barely months away.
Being President Buhari’s most important political appointee in Kano South, Hon Kawu Sumaila, whose actions and inactions culminated in last week’s mass defection, has failed woefully in their responsibility to ensure the APC family remains united and intact as the party prepares for the 2019 general elections, which is definitely not going to be a walkover for the party including for President Buhari himself.
So, whereas the APC was busy celebrating the defection of Senator Bashir Garbo Lado from PDP (who it is believed is going to contest the senatorial seat for Kano central in 2019) into its fold, a huge number of card-carrying members of the APC in Sumaila area were planning to defect from the party. And by so doing, preparing to snatch away the senatorial seat for Kano South from the APC, being currently occupied by Senator Kabiru Gaya, a staunch loyalist of President Buhari and Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.
This is also to say whereas the members and leaders of the APC in Kano state are concentrating all their efforts in Kano Central including fighting Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso (Senator representing Kano Central) the party has left the 2 other senatorial districts i.e Kano South (which is the biggest senatorial district in Nigeria with 16 local government areas) and Kano North at the mercy of members of the opposition PDP who are silently working hard day-and-night to deny APC victory come 2019.
If the Kano state chapter of the APC truly wants to deliver a “clean sheet” for the ruling party in Kano State – just like it did in 2015 when all the elective positions including the seats of governor, Senate and House of Representatives – were 100% won by the APC, the party must put its act together by stopping the mass exodus from APC to PDP.
Whereas people in Kano APC might think that Kano North (currently being represented by Senator Barau Jibrin in the Senate) is safely in the hands of the APC they should also be aware of the fact that Senator Kwankwaso still enjoys the support of leading politicians from the senatorial district including Engr Rabiu Sulaiman Bichi, his former Secretary to the State Government and a number of members of the House of Representatives from Kano North.
Thus, the earlier the APC wakes up from its slumber in Kano South and Kano North by realizing the combine threat being posed by both the opposition PDP and other faction of the party, the better for the APC as it approaches the all-important 2019 General Elections.
Muhammad writes from Kano