2019: Kwankwaso in supremacy battle with Buhari, Ganduje

OrderPaperToday -As the nation moves closer to the 2019 general election, Kano State remains a strong determinant as to who would occupy the Aso Villa due to its large voting population.

In 2014, the Kwankwasiyya movement led by Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso that delivered the close to 2million votes for President Muhammadu Buhari has been fractionalized into two groups, with the Gandujiyya movement led by the Governor, Umar Ganduje, vowing to take the former into political extinction.

A lot has been written about the two movements. Yet,  we we take you to the beginning where the two leaders had a lot in common.

Ganduje made early attempts at elective office in 1979, when he contested for a seat in the House of Representatives but failed to win the election.

But Kwankwaso was able to make a successful bid for the Green Chamber in 1992, where he was subsequently elected as deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, before the military truncated that particular Republic following the annulment of June 12 election.

The two men remained friends, as Ganduje served as Commissioner for works during military regime. However, the two clashed following the return of democracy in 1998, when they contested for the PDP governorship ticket at the primary. Kwankwaso emerged victorious and tapped his opponent (Ganduje) as deputy governor.

In sudden twist of relationships, they sailed smoothly  till 2003 when they lost re-election bid to Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau.

Kwankwaso was then appointed as Minister of Defense in 2003 by President Olusegun Obasanjo and again chose Ganduje as his adviser.

Ganduje, in an interview with Daily Sun newspaper, further attested to the cordial relationship they both shared. He had said: “Even when he was a minister, I was with him. I was on my own when he invited me to come and be his adviser when he was Minister of Defence. I agreed because after all, we have been together, and he felt we could work together. “When we won the elections in 2011, he graciously invited me, it was not as a result of any contest between us, but out of his own volition. I have to thank him for that because he could have invited someone else.”

Due to  constitutional constraint, Kwankwaso could one more single term. Towards the tail end of his administration in 2014, he joined forces with the 7 governors that gave birth to the New PDP (nPDP) and proceeded with others to eventually coalesce into the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He went further to contest the APC Presidential primary, but came second in a closely contested election which saw the incumbent, Muhammadu Buhari, emerge candidate. Like others in the APC, Kwankwaso threw all he had including his Kwankwasiyya movement in support of Buhari and then candidate Ganduje who had emerged as the governorship candidate.

Political analysts already predicted an “unsustainable arrangement”, pointing to the fact that the former governor Kwankwaso already cultivated a cult like follower-ship.

At the onset, the newly elected governor, retained some of the officials that worked with Kwankwaso, such as the Secretary to the State Government, Accountant General of the State, and the Director General of Media.

An excerpt from the Sun interview gave hints of how the cracks in the relationship emerged. “Then it came to the appointment of commissioners and, of course, from his body language I had started seeing some elements of disagreements. So, I didn’t get his opinion on the appointment of the commissioners because I thought that was not even necessary because the commissioners are not as strong in government as SSG and the Accountant General.

“So, I thought it was something I could do. Even at that, my Commissioner for Agriculture now was also his Commissioner for Agriculture, we are still together; the Commissioner for Local Government is a younger brother to his wife, he was chairman of local government during his time; the Commissioner for Water Resources was an adviser in his government; the Commissioner for Finance was also Commissioner for Finance in his government.”

This development quickly metamorphosed to a full blown war, as all reconciliation efforts failed and led to the creation of Gandujiyya Aki­da to serve as a rival to the Kwankwasiyya movement.

To show support for Ganduje, several media reports has it that the members of the Kano State House of Assembly burnt the Red Cap, the symbol of the Kwankwasiyya movement and the governor became a vocal support of the President Buhari.

The enmity got to a crescendo, when during the local government election in 2017, the police advised Sen. Kwankwaso not to go to Kano for rally, an event that led to lots of public outcry, including moving motion of urgent public importance in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

By this time however, there had emerged a clear polarization among the Kano state caucus in the National Assembly. This also reflected in the state assembly as events soon led to the removal of the speaker.

It came as no surprise when defections stirred in the federal chambers as 10 members in the green chamber decamped from the APC, following Sen Kwankwaso who left to the PDP. Also, some members of Kano State House of Assembly also decamped, and on the 5th of August, the Deputy Governor of the State, Prof. Hafizu Abubakar submitted a letter of resignation to the Governor and subsequently decamped from the APC to the PDP. In the resignation letter, the former Deputy governor cited “current and persistent irreconcilable differences on matters relating to governance and government operations, personal opinions, and the concept of, and respect for, democratic ideals and values” as the reason for the resignation.

In 2015, Kano state decided the general election. But in 2019, it appears the general election might decide the fate of Kano state, as Kwankwaso battles his former friend turned foe for the control of the state and also challenge another cult hero in person of Muhammadu Buhari for the control of the country.


Contribution by Majeed Bakare


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