by Umar Sa’ad Hassan,
If I were to write on the Power of Music, I would most likely make reference to how a hausa song urging Engr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso to return for a second stint as Governor of Kano state became a hit and endeared him to Kanonians.One can’t possibly trace the root of his popularity en route the Guber polls in 2011 to anything else. This was a man who was practically disgraced out of office by the same people in 2003, same people who sang the praises of his successor to high heavens for most of his 8 year reign only to turn on him and everything he stood for when the Kwankwasiyya movement started to gather momentum. This tells you 2 things- what a good song can do and how drastically things can change in Kano politics.
Thankfully, He hit the ground running when he assumed office and the Kwankwasiyya Movement went on to become the largest in Northern Nigeria in modern times. At least 1 out of every 5 people wearing the native attire had the Governor’s trademark red cap to go with it.Every aspirant to any public office in the APC fold had his picture alongside theirs on their poster rather than Muhammadu Buhari’s as was the case in virtually all Northern states.He strolled in from Abuja and had his son-in-law relinquish the APC ticket to contest the Kano Central Senatorial seat after losing the Presidential Primaries.It would be a taboo if he had been opposed, you wouldn’t be wrong to say he was the P in Kano Politics.It was so easy to forget he was the most hated person in the state at some point with no adducable reason for the transformation to the most loved other than a song.
Permutations as to his most likely successor kicked off as early as his 2nd year in office and they kept ending up with one verdict-his two term deputy; Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. He was perceived as a core loyalist to the leader of the movement who had never had cause to fall out with him in any of his stints as Governor. Kwankwaso had served Kano people exceptionally well and his deputy contesting on the ‘Continuity’ card would be an easy sell. He eventually clinched the ticket and put rumours of the Governor wanting someone else but being pulled back by the need to reward his loyalty to bed.
Concerns immediately arose as to the sustainability of their relationship judging from who both men really were.Kwankwaso is outspoken at all times, temperamental a lot of people say and one who has earned every right to wage into issues on the ground of wanting what is best for the people even from Abuja.You couldn’t possibly see him withdrawing from the forefront of Kano politics and on the other hand, Abdullahi Ganduje didn’t strike anyone as a greenhorn who would gladly assume the lucky beneficiary role and forfeit the chance to carve a niche for himself.
The public disclosure by the transition committee headed by the now Deputy Governor, Prof. Hafizu Abubakar that the Kwankwaso administration left behind a 300 billion naira debt was subsequently rationalized by Governor Ganduje himself who attributed it to the drop in oil prices and further emphasized that he was in a position to know being a part and parcel of the decisions of the government. It came as a rude shock when he blamed the same government days ago for neglecting to pay the tuition fees of students studying abroad for a whole year thereby accruing a 3 Billion naira debt. No one expected a war to kick off on that note with the Governor having seemingly shut down that medium. There was no excuse on the previous Government’s behalf this time,What caught the eye were the words-‘For whatever reason’.
This has heated up the political climate in the state in no small measure with both camps pondering their next move. If the Governor refuses to make another U-turn like he did after the transition committee report and proceeds to wage a full scale ‘Kill or be Killed’ war against Senator Kwankwaso, he will open a new chapter in Kano folklore if he emerges unscathed.
Unlike his former boss, he isn’t a great mobilizer of troops and will find it difficult to woo converts to his cause especially from where it matters most at the moment-the state house of assembly. As things stand, no one would expect even the Member representing his constituency to vote against any move to impeach him if it ever gets to that. But what the Governor has going for him is the fact that this is a new era where anyone would find it difficult to stage a ‘Hollywood’ impeachment under the gross misconduct ground.The most feasible means of exacting revenge if the Governor stays cautious would be denying him the party ticket in 2019 which seems too long a time for things to stay the same. I can’t possibly forsee any means of making the State ungovernable for the man right now other than criticisms and more criticisms with everyone grabbing the opportunity to impress the State Party Leader as is the case presently.
He has ample time to woo the core Kwankwasiyya elements,seize control of the party and change the status quo before then.Like Walter Annenberg rightly said- “The Greatest power is Political Power”.
There is a cold war between the two political gladiators in the state like a lot of observers rightly predicted.The most loved politician in the state since Aminu Kano revert back to being its worst villain overnight. This is Kano where anything is possible.
Umar Sa’ad Hassan is a lawyer based in Kano.