Kano APC: The War Within


To state that politics in Kano State is one of the most dynamic and complex in the country, would only be stating the obvious. In spite of its complex drive, it can also be frustrating as those who choose to swim in its murky waters usually face uphill challenges. Editor-At–Large SALISU IBRAHIM captures the ding-dong taking place within the Kano State chapter of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) that has been polarized by former Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.

The present governor of the state, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, who recorded the highest number of votes of over 1.6 million in the 2015 general elections to govern the most populous state, is believed to be facing tough times. Simply put, he has the challenge of meeting public expectations, and the need to ensure mature handling of the perceived strain relationship with his “former” boss, political ally and his predecessor, Senator Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso. Already, a political rift has set in between the two politicians and it is presumed to be predicated on who should control the governing party machinery as well as allegation of meddlesome by the former governor in the present administration of the state. Rather than abate, the situation is further confounding and eating deeper, as a result of some factors. Accordingly, political observers say, the rift recently reached a crescendo when Dr. Ganduje lost his mother and Kwankwaso paid him a condolence visit that turned sour. While the incumbent governor is said to listen to some people, particularly those that reinforced his instincts and are cashing on the rift to wax stronger politically, party members loyal to Kwankwaso portray Governor Ganduje as a “political betrayer” but believe that there are good ground for the present leadership in the state to make the needed impact and record huge success as well as manage the perceived difference. Ganduje is a person that many people conveniently qualify as a “leader” due to the top management positions he held in the past in addition to his charisma and strong influence in political circles, and his many years of experience as a politician, administrator, commissioner, and of recent deputy governor for eight years before emerging as governor which has given him tremendous advantage that can make him raise his shoulder high. But apparently, the governor may be working on a banana peel just as he being perceived as having refused to act proactively but instead taking wrong steps that may see his tenure ending up in a conundrum. In Kano, Kwankwaso’s political wit is not expected to fade away soon or quietly particularly when considered against the backdrop of his large followership specifically among the youth. That is why Governor Ganduje’s success or failure would largely depend on where the pendulum swings, considering the many intractable challenges before him that are political, social and economic in nature. Between Ganduje And Kwankwaso In view of the frosty relationship between the two politicians, analysts used their personalities to define the moments. Under the tenure of Kwankwaso, party members then sought for liberty, while under Ganduje they are seeking for tyranny. The duo had close political alliance since 1999 as they served the state under one platform as governor and deputy governor respectively. First, between 1999 and 2003 and later between 2011 and 2015. Ganduje was also a Special Adviser to the Kwankwaso, who was then minister of Defence. But they are now believed and seen to be at loggerhead. For now, loyal followers of Kwankwaso blame the perceived difference on Ganduje’s alleged deviation from the path of “Kwankwasiyya”, while those loyal to Ganduje insist that it was caused by the overbearing attitude of the former governor. However, information pieced together indicate that Kwankwaso even though exhausted his time, appears unwilling to let go his influence as APC leader in the state in spite of the change of batton. On the other hand, Governor Ganduje with his humble political roots, unlike Kwankwaso who remained a domineering figure in the state’s Chapter of the APC during his time, is seen as being aloof and demonstrating a “distant and cold” approach in managing the affairs of the party. Instead, he is said to have allowed some members of his “kitchen cabinet”, particularly the acting chairman of the party, Abdullahi Abbas to dictate the political pace. Struggle For The Soul Of APC The embattled elected chairman, Haruna Umar Doguwa, who is a member of Kwankwasiyya group but now ousted is gradually losing grip of the party’s control, in favour of the appointed chairman, Abdullai Abbas, who has been approved by the National Headquarters of the APC. Abbas’s series of political outbursts and invisible wall of rigidity and indifference about others perceived to be opposed to Ganduje is further making the state’s political terrain become a hotbed. To some members of the governing party, Abass represents know-nothing politics by promoting politics of isolation and resentment, rather than inclusiveness. Hard Path To Walk Observers are of the view that there should be a line between decency and recklessness, particularly as the new trend where “media politics” takes hold of the state and become like a scourge. However and ultimately, that may not work to the advantage of the state just as political pundits opined that the gradual increase of media politicians is rapidly eroding political tolerance in the state, and promoting intolerance in different guise. Accordingly, observers say, what Kano people are witnessing in effect, as media politicians take over the political stage, is the sudden rise of freedom to abuse others’ freedom. This group of politicians, fondly referred to as ‘Sojojin Baka’ feel they have the liberty to insult others and go scot free but it is a bitter pill the state cannot afford to swallow. The State Chapter Of APC Checks further indicate that there is a good chance for the Ganduje administration to evolve a new APC in the state and consolidate its strength as a party, but that can only happen when the warring factions bury the hatchets. With a combination of wit, charisma, wisdom and appropriate use of power, Governor Ganduje can effectively halt the power tussle, regain the party’s credibility and give it the respect it deserves to operate under his control. Working Together Part of the joy of Kano politics is that people can contribute to making things better for themselves and for youths and others that are feeling left and shut out, it all depends on where someone belongs. Certainly, everybody in the party has a role to play but the schism between the APC members is growing dangerously, while members are suffering from a hazardous lack of self-awareness and development. Undoubtedly, the deep political scar, which has not yet healed, remains the source of disenchantment among followers of the former and incumbent governors. The danger is that without their coming together and work as one family, either Kwankwaso or Ganduje – two of the most divisive figures in the party’s chapter can heal the divide in the party but their coming together even though may be painful but it is certainly and obviously necessary. In The Midst Of Political Crisis While Governor Ganduje is still receiving flaks for his lack of tangible engagement with the people and his resolve not to probe the immediate past administration of which he wWasW a key figure, the leadership is gradually losing grip at winning the peoples’ confidence. This is indicated in the people picking information about the government from irrational sources thereby heightening apathy, mistrust and bad feeling about the government. In his time, Kwankwaso did not try to impress Kano people with daily grind of governance or obsession with the past. For instance, from day one of his second coming, Kwankwaso played a legacy game just as he declared then without mincing words that; “I’m in a hurry and four years is too short a time for me to waste”. If that should be the path to follow, then, the Ganduje administration must have it at the back of its mind and take note of the fact that for quite some time now, at least, a mood of resignation has taken hold of the state as the youths are deeply frustrated over unbearable unemployment index that inches up. Yet, the political class is enmeshed in power struggle and dissipating energies in fruitless in-house fight, while the electorate feel the state’s growth is yet to bring the broader prosperity promised by the government in return for their political obedience and payment of various taxes. How quickly and dynamically Kano State under the leadership of Ganduje will be able to address this multitude of problems will to a large extent depend on how he swings the pendulum and his ability to realize that the situation is capable of leading to further frustration and of course with its disastrous consequences.

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