Tension mounts as Ganduje, Kwankwaso up the ante in row
• Security strengthened in strategic locations
• House orders erasing of Kwankwassiyya from public facilities
• Police to probe sealing of ex-governor’s house
Uneasy calm pervades the ancient city of Kano in North West Nigeria over the tussle for supremacy between Governor Abdulahi Ganduje and his predecessor and supposed godfather, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso.
This was sequel to the decision of the state House of Assembly that ordered the removal of all inscriptions of Kwankwasiyya, the political symbol of Kwankwaso, on public property.
Although the citizens have continued to go about their normal activities, heavy presence of policemen noticeable in strategic places in the metropolis has put some on edge.
Apparently, the policemen were deployed to forestall possible eruption of crisis that might trail the House resolve.
The battle for ascendency which has put asunder the peace and unity of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kano came open last week when the police allegedly acting on the prompting of the state government put off the planned mass wedding organized by the Kwankwassiyya Development Foundation.
Kwankwassiyya Development Foundation, which more or less served as the political tool of Kwankwaso has gradually been undermined by the government since the end of Kwankwaso’s tenure as governor while at the same time, Gandujiyya has been propped up to take over the political space.
The matter however assumed a dangerous dimension when the State House of Assembly directed that all public property in the state be stripped of every Kwankwassiyya inscription.
This was after the security operatives had sealed off the private residence of the former governor on the grounds that there was a plot to hold a mass wedding at the place, which was likely to breach, the peace of the state.
The House of Assembly gave the directive in a resolution passed to effect the removal of Kwankwasiyya inscriptions from all government and public buildings.
Besides, the House instructed the State government to substitute the name Kwankwasiyya from three housing estates constructed by the former government.
Security Operatives had taken over Kwankawso’s campaign office on Lugard road in the metropolis to prevent the proposed mass wedding ceremony by Kwankwasiyya Development Foundation.
Moving the motion under matter of ‘urgent public importance’, the member representing Kano Municipal council Baffa Babba Dan Agundi told the House that inscription on public facility were special mark of respect and honour mostly used to immortalize persons for their contributions to societal growth during their lifetime, and faulted the former governor for immortalizing himself while still alive.
Accordingly, he urged the House of Assembly to pass the motion that would prevent any public officer from arrogating such powers on their personality while in office.
In a unanimous decision taken by members present, the legislators ordered the replacement of Kwankwasiyya city with Sheikh Ja’afar Mahmud Adam, Amana city with Sheikh Nasiru Kabara as well as rename Bandirawo city with Sheikh Khalifa Isyaka Rabiu. It must be noted that Sheikh Khalifa Isyaka Rabiu is still alive.
The House at the plenary presided over by the Speaker, Kabiru Alhassan Rurum directed all signposts and symbols carrying the name, acronym or color representing any group to be removed henceforth.
The state legislators also directed the state government to prevail on local government councils’ chairmen in the state to remove the Kwankwasiyya inscriptions from all public buildings in their domains within one month.
Seven members (out of the 40 members of the House) from Madobi, Gwarzo, Rogo, Dala, Gabazawa, Gwale and Bichi constituencies who are loyal to the immediate past governor were allegedly absent from the sitting.
Reacting to the development, leader of Kwankwasiyya development foundation and former commissioner for Water resources under Kwankwaso administration, Dr. Yunusa Adamu Dangoni described the move by the State Assembly as “shocking and unfortunate.”
He maintained that no amount of hatred and instigation of the legislators could erase the love and sympathy Kano people have for the former governor, arguing that Kano people yearned for more developmental projects and physical growth in the state as against the removal of names and inscriptions.
He challenged the government not to stop there but go further to demolish all buildings constructed by the Kwankwaso administration to satisfy their political ego.
The former commissioner said instead of building and consolidating on monumental projects put in place by his predecessor, Governor Ganduje has allowed the political power to overwhelm him and becloud the critical societal and economic needs of the people of Kano.
His words: “We are very surprised with the level at which the governor is driving the whole politics especially when someone is challenging the power that made him. The same Kwankwaso brought the governor to power now the power is intoxicating him. I want to believe this is not what the good people of Kano deserve or rather want from the governor. Instead of the governor to focus entirely on how to fix the dwindling state of our economy; our extreme poverty, unemployment of teeming youths and other social welfare issues as promised by our great party, he is busy drawing battle lines with his politically godfather.
“Now that he has succeeded to instigate the House to remove Kwankwasiyya from all the infrastructures put in place by Kwankwaso we want him to go extra miles to order the demolition of the projects, perhaps he would be satisfied enough. It is important to let the governor know that no amount of hatred of our leader, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso would erase the love, loyalty and sympathy Kano people have for him”.
A Kano based human rights activist, Comrade Kabiru Saidu Dakata who kicked against engraving Kwankwaso’s political slogan on public property however considered the move by the members of Kano state House of Assembly as sycophancy.
Dakata who predicated his argument on political servility wondered why it took more than 12 months for the legislators to realize the supposed abnormality in the Kwankwasiyya inscription on public facilities.
“Fine it was not logical for a sitting governor to emblem his name or political slogan or colour on government property whether he constructed the property or not, after all he carried out the project with public funds tax payers money. However, I will consider the action a sycophant move because they were products of the same Kwankwasiyya,” he stated.
While querying the ingenuity of government action, Dakata lamented that the same public funds would soon be doled out for those that would erase the unwanted inscriptions despite the dwindling resources.
A public analyst, Dr. Abati Bako cautioned that the House decision would further deepen the needless impasse between the two political gladiators in the state.
Dr. Bako who argued that Kwankwaso’s decision to inscribe his political symbol on all government projects executed while in power, was wrongly conceived noted that such practice do not exist in an ideal political environment.
According to him, “the crisis between the two strong politicians in the state can be akin to the experience Kano had in the late 70’s and early 80’s between the then governor of Kano Alhaji Abubakar Rimi and the then political icon in Northern politics, Mallam Aminu Kano. He claimed that the result was bitter and it was the innocent citizens that actually suffered the pains.
“So I want to considered the government decision as unnecessary and the writing of names on government property because the development at the end of the day will widen the gap of crisis and who suffer for it, it is the poor masses,” he added.
And in a move to douse tension, the Police Service Commission (PSC) said it would institute an investigation into the cancellation of the mass wedding by the Kwankwasiyya group.
The inquiry was prompted by a petition brought before the PSC by a member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Ali Madaki on behalf of members of the Kwankwasiyya group.
In the petition, the Kwankwasiyya group accused the police authorities of infringing on the rights of Senator Kwankwaso to discharge his responsibility to his constituents in Kano state.
The chairman of the Commission and retired Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro, assured that the PSC would probe claims of violation of fundamental human rights by members of the Kwankwasiyya group.
Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose had condemned the invasion and sealing of Kwankwaso’s residence, cautioning that a dictatorial government was gradually emerging in Nigeria.