BY AMOS DUNIA, ABUJA – Two former governors of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso and Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau on Saturday’s night met in Abuja to harmonise their political positions within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) following the defection of the latter.
The meeting is coming seven years after the duo’s last chance meeting at Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport Abuja in 2011.
Kwankwaso was among members of the nPDP in the All Progressive Congress (APC) that recently defected to the PDP on the floor of the Senate last Tuesday, while Shekarau had defected from the APC in 2014 to PDP before the 2015 general elections.
This is in spite of the intensified efforts being put in by the Presidency and APC to get Shekarau back to the folds of the ruling party.
The meeting which held at Shekarau’s residence in Asokoro district of Abuja was a prelude to an extended meeting with other party leaders without any official statement issued from the ongoing political maneuvers.
Checks by Forefront revealed that the Presidency and the national leadership of the APC have embarked a rigorous lobby aimed at getting the former minister of Education and two-term governor of Kano, Mallam Shekarau defect to the APC with a view to check and reduce the towering political strength of Kwankwaso ahead of the 2019 general elections.
It was gathered that as part of the strategies to get Shekarau back to the APC, the Presidency is dangling the carrot of re-examining pending cases with anti-graft agencies with the promise of stepping them down and offer th former Kano governor safe landing.
The PDP on its part is believed to have put in measures whereby the two political giants in Kano work amicably together by sharing the party’s structures in a way that would be beneficial to both leaders and the party.
As part of the opposition strategies to get Kwankwaso and Shekarau to work together, it was gathered that Kwankwaso as a serving Senator, in addition to the incumbent Governor of the Kano State, Professor Hafizu Abubakar and some federal and state legislators who are amongst his loyalists would take control of 51% of the PDP’s structure while Shekarau and other groups would have control of 49% of the party’s structures.
Shekarau and former Governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa were among the founding fathers of APC who defected to the PDP in 2014 after accusing some elements of APC of giving the party’s structures in their states to governors who had decamped from the PDP.
Information pieced together indicate that the Presidency in a desperate move to maintain hold of Kano where President Muhammadu Buhari usually draw a chunk of his votes from, is ready to offer anything to Shekarau thus has enlisted top government officials in Abuja and Kano including Governor Ganduje, National officers of the APC to further negotiate with Shekarau to get him accept the terms of returning back to the APC in which he was a founding member.
It is not yet known if Shekarau who has been engaged in some activities in the South-west in recent times has met with the APC leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who has the mandate of the party to lead the pack in wooing other erstwhile APC chieftains back to the fold.
A close source to Shekarau confided in Forefront that it would be an uphill task to get him back to the APC owing to the treatment meted to him when Kwankwaso defected to the APC and was allocated the party structures in Kano without any reference to him that put the party together.
The source added; “The political scar was deep and difficult to heal. It was worse than robbery. A structure you spent your resources and time to build was just taken away from you as if you don’t matter? Shekarau is still carrying that scar and would not let go this time around. As if that was not enough, he was witch hunted and detained for no just cause.
In a recent interview, Shekarau said he looks forward to Kwankwaso and others to return to the PDP to remove APC from power in 2019.
Shekarau said; “I did not defect to PDP from APC because of Kwankwaso. It is not true that we discussed his intention to return to PDP. But I will wish and pray Kwankwaso and others will return to PDP. Their return will give the party the power to dislodge APC.”