Ganduje, Kwankwaso rift unsettles Kano APC
• ‘Kwankwasiyya group should accept state’s new leadership’
The crisis rocking the Kano State chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC) is yet to abate. Instead of reducing, the problem is worsening as the rapport between Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and his predecessor; Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso is degenerating by the day.The development has been compounded by the alleged decision of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe the source of the campaign funds Kwankwaso used to prosecute his presidential ambition, in the build-up to the 2015 poll.
Kwankwaso who is presently serving as Senator representing the Kano central senatorial district emerged runners- up to President Muhammadu Buhari in the APC presidential primaries held in Lagos in December 2014 against the expectations of political pundits.
It would be recalled that it took the timely and deft intervention of national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, among others to mobilise to rescue the ticket for President Buhari given the serious challenge from Kwankwaso.
The Guardian gathered that the EFCC has quizzed scores out of the Kano State’s 44 local council chairmen who were said to have pooled together over N2 billion to fund the Kwankwaso presidential bid. In particular, EFCC operatives were probing into how the council chairmen allegedly generated N70 million each to fund Kwankwaso, who was a two-term governor in Kano.
“As we speak, the chairman of Fagge local government area is billed to appear before the EFCC to clear the air on the issue and that Doguwa local government chairman was making arrangement with representatives in the National Assembly for freedom from the EFCC. It is all about how Kwankwaso got monies to fund his campaign. You know he almost embarrassed President Buhari at the primaries. I am not a politician so I can’t tell you the motive behind all this issues,” a source stressed.
Kwankwaso who is considered not to be in the good books of President Buhari had been at loggerheads with his successor, Governor Ganduje in spite of the recent intervention of Chief John Odigie-Oyegun-led national executive of the APC.
Besides, Kwankwaso’s stranglehold on the party machinery has been significantly reduced in recent times. His loyalists like the Secretary to the Kano State government, Alhaji Rabiu Sulaiman Bichi; the chairman of the state chapter of the party, Alhaji Umar Doguwa; the Accountant General of the state, Alhaji Danjuma Mahmoud; and the Chief Whip of the Kano House of Assembly, Alhaji Zubairu Mamuda Madobi, have been eased out of office and the mainstream of affairs in the state.
Madobi’s case was intriguing as he was summarily impeached by 36 of the 40 members of the House of Assembly when he asserted that Senator Kwankwaso be regarded as leader of the APC in the state, ahead of Governor Ganduje.The aforementioned-sacked officials have since been replaced by Usman Alhaji Usman (SSG), Alhaji Abdullahi Abbas (chairman, APC Kano), Hajia Aisha Bello (Accountant General) all of whom were widely seen as trusted allies of Governor Ganduje.
Political analysts claim that the crisis within the party peaked when the Gandujiyya group triumphed over their Kwankwasiyya counterpart in the recently held Minjibir local council bye-election. Alhaji Tasiu Ibrahim of the APC scored 21, 970 votes to defeat Alhaji Auwalu Ubale of the PDP who polled 1, 283 votes. It was alleged that the Kwankwasiyya group backed Ubale in the election.
What appeared to be subdued, festered when Kwankwaso resolved to sponsor a mass wedding for 2000 indigent Kano citizens. The Police promptly canceled the event billed for Kano polo ground penultimate week, while Kwankwaso accused the state government of frustrating his social welfare program.
“This development has further widened the divide among supporters of the APC in Kano. The Gandujiyya group appears to have the edge for now after the police succeeded in forcing Kwankwaso to call off his event on the pretext that it would constitute a security threat to the people of the state,” an analyst stated.
Reacting to the cancelation, leader of the Kwankwassiyya Development Foundation and former Water Resources Commissioner during Kwankwaso’s administration, Dr. Yunusa Adamu Dangoni, in an interview with The Guardian accused the government of instigating the security apparatus against activities of his foundation.
Dangoni lamented that the suspension came after several months of preparation of the mass wedding including written notification to the Police, alleging: “The state government felt uncomfortable with the independent mass wedding after they suspended the state-own activity due to financial crunch.”
He insisted that no justification could have warranted the Police claim.The state Police Public Relations Office, DSP Magaji Musa Majiya, had explained that the events were cancelled based on security reports of plans by some element to scuttle the occasion. He stressed that it became necessary to discontinue the programs to forestall a breakdown of law and order.
Incidentally, investigations revealed that the Ganduje-led administration was putting finishing touches to conduct a mass wedding for 1000 couples at a yet to be announced date while it was doubtful whether Kwankwaso would have the opportunity to conduct his. Supporters of Kwankwaso believed that Ganduje was deliberately taking actions that would curb the political influence of Kwankwaso ahead of the 2019 elections and perhaps pressurise him to leave the APC.
But Bichi, another leader in the Kwankwasiyya group said no amount of frustration would force Senator Kwankwaso out of the APC, he maintained that the Kwankwasiyya group which constituted the nucleus of the Kano APC, was still intact and waxing stronger.His words: “This is because many people have benefitted from the programmes of Kwankwasiyya. People are now crying, they are now seeing the difference and they are hoping that the rays of the sun would soon shine on them. On the quest to dismantle Kwankwaso’s structure, I will say only the governor can answer that. We don’t know why, we don’t know what is happening. I am still at a loss why it is happening.”
He denied the speculations that the presidency was behind the crisis, saying: “No, no, why? You may recall that the President constituted a delegation of North West governors to go and mediate on the issue. It was led by the chairman Governor’s Forum, the Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari. All the seven governors were there and then what happened thereafter? The President made everything possible to ensure that the problem was resolved. I don’t want to call it crisis. You see every right thinking person has intervened, not only the party. The Emir of Kano, the business community in Kano, the Ulamas, everybody intervened over what is happening.”
Bichi said notwithstanding the fact that infighting was unavoidable in politics, the Kwankwasiyya group did not expect that they would be badly treated by Governor Ganduje and his close associates.He also claimed ignorance of any EFCC probe insisting “I am just hearing this from you. I have not heard of anything like that yet.”
In response to to Kwankwaso’s accusation, Commissioner for Information, Muhammed Garba blamed Kwankwaso of fuelling needless crisis aimed at making the state ungovernable.Garba who absolved the state government of any complicity with the police, said: “The Police commissioner invited both parties and told us about the intelligent report on possible unrest before cancelling the events and so we cannot challenge that”.
According to him, Governor Ganduje-led administration was being misunderstood by members of the Kwankwasiyya group, noting that it behooved on members of the Kwankwasiyya group to come to terms with the stark financial situation of the state before reaching the conclusion that they had been betrayed.
“The only problem there is that the Kwankwasiyya group has refused to realise that there is a new leadership in Kano. They refused deliberately to come to terms with the realities on ground and be part of this leadership,” he stated.“It is not only Kwankwasiyya people that were removed or sacked or redeployed. Even some of Ganduje’s loyalists have been redeployed.