How Ganduje’s 2023 interest consumed former House Speaker Gafasa
Hon. Abdulaziz Garba Gafasa’s resignation from the plum seat of Speaker of Kano State House of Assembly has continued to elicit mixed reactions. Some believe that the path taken by the former speaker is somewhat alien and not typical of Nigerian politicians. They may not be entirely wrong if the events that led to the exit of Gafasa are anything to go by. Not even the political antecedents of Gafasa, who has served about 16 years in the Assembly, were enough for him to withstand the ruthless intrigues that played out towards the close of last year before he threw in the towel.
Gafasa tendered his resignation letter along with the Majority Leader, Hon. Kabiru Hassan Dashi, on December 15, 2020. No specific reason was given for their decision. Gafasa, who was elected into the House in 2004, served his first term as Speaker between 2007 to 2011 when Malam Ibrahim Shekarau was governor. As the longest serving member, Gafasa had a strong political romance with Senator Shekarau who endorsed him at his first aspiration to office of Speaker.
Speculations are that Gafasa was left with no other option than to take flight from the hot seat so as to ward off his imminent impeachment. It was gathered that the night preceding his sudden, but expected resignation, about 30 lawmakers had already signed his impeachment notice, a move that was planned to be presented at the next day’s plenary. It was gathered that Gafasa’s attempts to persuade the enraged members failed to yield result.
According to a source; “Upon sensing the signal of the impeachment notice, he was compelled to take the next available option, which was resignation to save his name from the list of impeached speakers. He would have denied himself the many benefits attached to that plum position.”
One unverified account revealed that Gafasa was being penalised for making moves to dump the APC for the strong opposition party in Kano towards changing the political calculation ahead of the 2023 election. Gafasa was accused of conniving with 13 other lawmakers to join the Kwankwasiyya movement ahead of the 2023 election. At the last count, the Assembly has 12 members of PDP out of the 40-member strong Assembly.
Although, the former speaker has denied the plan to decamp to PDP, a release signed by the Assembly’s Press Secretary, Nura Ajingi, denied the rumours, but the rumours have refused to die down regardless. Ajingi disclosed that Gafasa still remains a bona fide member of APC and that he has no intention whatever to leave the ruling APC.
Apart from the decamping rumour, another twist in the political tale of Gafasa’s resignation is his alleged unwholesome romance with Governor Abdullahai Umar Ganduje. Fellow lawmakers are suspicious of his closeness to the executive, and had accused him of unnecessarily shielding the executive from the Assembly’s scrutiny. It was learnt that lawmakers were accusing Gafasa of self-centeredness instead of representing interests of members before the executive.
The source continued; “It is believed that the former speaker was preventing the lawmakers from executing their statutory responsibility, especially by providing cover for the executive. For instance, the governor had executed several projects without the input of the Assembly.
“Look at the selling of public properties; the executive never informed the Assembly or anybody how much or why they were being sold. We don’t know what is happening with the funds and the implementation of COVID-19 response in Kano. So, they believe the former speaker was behind the deliberate plan of the executive to make the House a rubberstamp.”
Although the new speaker was voted by majority of members, analysts also believe that Hamisu Ibrahim Chidari, who hails from the same Kano North Constituency with Governor Ganduje, is deliberately positioned to achieve political calculation against Kano South. Analysts say that Gafasa might have suffered political prosecution on account of his closeness to Sen. Kabiru Gaya.
On the road to 2023 governorship in Kano, Gafasa was accused of plotting an alliance with the Senator representing Kano South, Gaya, to alter the political order and dislodge Ganduje’s succession plan and his 2023 senate ambition. Gaya, a ranking senator, is one of the aspirants eyeing the number one political seat in Kano. His ambition to occupy the seat has since pitted him against Governor Ganduje, a reliable source has said.
“Everyone knows Ganduje and Gaya are no longer in a cordial relationship because of 2023,” the source said. “Gaya is looking for the position at all cost and, incidentally, Ganduje is not disposed to that for obvious reasons. Gaya’s political clout is enough to consume Ganduje, and remember what happened between him and Kwankwaso. I am sure Ganduje will not like someone that would expose him after handing over power. Every clever politician will want to hand over to a successor that will be more than loyal to him.”
The Guardian learnt that Gafasa is more disposed to Gaya’s ambition with the intention of mobilizing a similar force to replace the current member, representing Albasu/Gaya/Ajingi Federal Constituency, Abdullahi Mahmud Gaya. Gafasa’s moves were, however, demystified at the incubation stage, hence his impeachment to further curtail his rising clout and underground moves to further entrench Sen. Gaya’s footprint at the detriment of Ganduje’s.
The source further stated; “The plan was for him to replace the member representing his constituency at the House of Representatives, Abdullahi Gaya, while mobilizing support for Sen. Gaya to realise his dream of clinching the governorship ticket. Incidentally, the plans leaked to Government House. That was why the impeachment process was quickly instituted against him. He was compelled to resign to save himself from embarrassment.
“The political game has thickened and the road to 2023 is getting tough. Several giants are readying themselves to succeed Governor Ganduje. Incidentally, when an aspirant is running faster than his shadows, about two years ahead, that overheats the polity. No responsible governor will allow that. The movement was noticed and those monitoring the calculation quickly launched a counter-attack against the former speaker and everything is history now.”
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