The Gandujes And Their Detractors

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“In the Ganduje crisis, some people have even fingered forces from the presidency catalysing the groundswell of opposition against the chairman. This may seem unfathomable, but because everything is game in politics, I dare not disagree. The presidency should prove their innocence”.

BY ZAINAB SULEIMAN OKINO

This is not the best of time for the embattled APC chairman, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. It is also not the right time to be in opposition in a place like Kano state. We know politics is an endless cut-throat battle, but the intrigues and volatility of Kano politics is something else. However ever since the two former governors of the state, Rabiu Kwankwaso and Ganduje parted way and started their political roforofo, Kano has never been the same. Everything around and about them are politicised and twisted to fit certain narratives.

Ganduje was recently suspended from his ward, and it was affirmed by a Kano High Court. When the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP)’s Abba Yusuf came in newly, he started by demolishing Ganduje’s legacies literally, despite millions of Naira of taxpayers’ funds sunk into those public projects. As if this was not bad enough, the Ganduje family was also embroiled in litigations with the Kano state government, after the latter dragged the family to court over corruption related issues. For the first time in this republic which began in 1999, a state governor took his predecessor, his wife and son to court over misappropriation of funds. Good enough that we should fight corruption to a standstill, but the Kano case is perceived a vendetta and a fall-out of the Ganduje-Kwankwaso feud.

While the Kano battle front is still raging, an FCT High Court of Justice has joined the fray in dragging the APC National chairman to court for “illegal stay in office” as party chair. Some disgruntled members of the party who initiated the legal action based their grouse on a zonal arrangement “agreed” to at their 2022 national convention that ceded the national chairmanship position to the North-Central. Ganduje is from the North-West.

Although the rivalry between Dr Ganduje and his erstwhile political benefactor, Dr Rabiu Kwankwaso spilled over to the last election won by Kwankwaso’s NNPP, the witch-hunt by Governor Abba Yusuf targeting Ganduje and anything and everybody around him has continued unabated. Now there are allegations that their government is not just undermining Ganduje but sponsoring some of these legal cases against him. Despite the potshots thrown at him, Ganduje has remained unfazed, and his wife has ignored threats from the state government to drag her to the mud or court of public opinion despite the embarrassment caused her. Not withstanding their stoic determination to fight back, all these do not augur well for opposition politics which is the livewire of civilian-democratic government. Kano state is a good example of how not to lose election and transition into opposition, because of its volatility and uncertainty. Opposition is not a death sentence, but in Kano it is an offence. With their political rivalry taken to a malicious height, the Kwankwaso-Ganduje political differences are setting the stage for bigger conflicts in the struggle for power in the entire country.

These court cases should not be taken lightly no matter how flimsy. When the legal fireworks begin proper, Ganduje’s survival chance may be affected, if you take into cognisance the genesis of Adams Oshiomhole’s removal as former chairman of the APC. There must be a political solution as a way out of the logjam. The APC leadership needs to work hard to avoid an impending implosion which can affect their stability. If they continue to allow their aggrieved members to join external forces in their self-annihilating efforts to cut short Ganduje’s tenure without recourse to internal resolution mechanisms, they will all be done in.

In the Ganduje crisis, some people have even fingered forces from the presidency catalysing the groundswell of opposition against the chairman. This may seem unfathomable, but because everything is game in politics, I dare not disagree. The presidency should prove their innocence; they should shield, protect, defend and above all ensure Ganduje stays. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, known as a master of the art of politics should know what to do at this material time. This is a clarion call on the president to reward loyalty, and not use and dump as it is being perceived in some quarters.

Since the PDP days, when President Obasanjo was declared as the leader of the party that brought him to power, and governors do same at the state level, no chairman has been removed without the president’s consent. As a matter of fact, once a party chairman falls out of favour with the president, that party chairman is a goner. If in doubt, ask Audu Ogbe, Barnabas Gemade and even John Odige of APC. This is contrary to the Second Republic when party supremacy was respected, and the president’s power was subsumed under the chairman’s at the party level. The bastardisation of the position of party leadership has, sadly now permeated all the political parties in the country. The president should therefore play his fatherly role and douse the tensions threatening his hand-picked chairman and his party, APC.

As if attacks on Ganduje are not enough, dragging his wife, Dr Hafsat Umar into party conflict is insensitive. Again, this ugly dimension to Kano politics is unprecedented and unnecessary except there is concrete evidence against her. Hafsat Umar Ganduje is an accomplished educationist, academic and administrator of many years standing. With or without her husband’s foray into politics, she is a woman you can classify as having shattered the glass ceiling and a model, who inspires young women out there. I think she should be treated with respect.

This, by no means, does not imply that corruption should be swept under the carpet. We all want corruption eliminated from public service, but when ant-corruption war is tainted with politics, it becomes questionable. Instead of intimidation and harassment, the rule of law should be reinforced in all ramifications and not applied selectively. The ongoing media trial against the APC chairman can detract from public trust and confidence in our polity. Media trial without due process is sensationalism without the force of law.

Already there are many conflicting cases in court. Judicial process should be allowed to take its course no matter how long it takes instead of resorting to self-help in form of sponsored protests and open and verbal assaults on a man in charge of a governing party at the centre and in 20 states of the federation.

Zainab Suleiman Okino chairs Blueprint Editorial Board. She is a syndicated columnist and can be reached through: zainabokino@gmail.com 

 

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