Kwankwaso’s return to PDP may push Shekarau to APC
Unless fairness, equity and care are taken into the bargain, indications have emerged that the immediate past minister of education, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, might be compelled by circumstances to dump the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for All Progressives Congress (APC).
Following the recent defection of the senator representing Kano Central, Dr. Rabiu Kwankwaso, from APC to PDP, politicians loyal to Shekarau also a former two-term governor of the state are said to be piling pressure on him not to accede to a grand plot to handover 51 percent of the party structure to the returnees.
Sources close to the former minister told The Guardian that his supporters do not want a repeat of the ugly treatment meted to Shekarau in APC in 2014 when he was asked to surrender the entire party structure to the then governor. Kwankwaso is a former defence minister.
Shekarau’s followers are enraged that Senator Kwankwaso decided to be hobnobbing with the national leadership of PDP instead of coming back home to meet with members in Kano regarding his return to the party.
“We heard that the National Working Committee (NWC) of PDP has entered into an agreement with Kwankwaso, including some conditions that did not take into consideration the interest of Mallam Shekarau,” the source stated.
He said part of the conditions given by the senator for his return to PDP include, nominating the party’s candidate for the 2019 gubernatorial election in Kano State, as well as dissolution of the existing party leadership and a new sharing formula of leadership for wards and local government.
Contest for PDP structure
In the sharing formula, Kwankwaso takes 60 per cent of all the elective positions; leaving 40 per cent for the three power blocks in the party, including former foreign affairs minister Ambassador Aminu Wali, former Senator Bello Hayyatu Gwarzo and Shekarau.
Frustrated by the level of humiliation at the hands of his erstwhile political associate, Governor Abdullah Umar Ganduje was said to have vowed to fight the incumbent with the last drop of his blood to teach him some useful lessons about loyalty and reciprocity of good deeds.
Consequently, having lost relevance in the political scheme of things both in Kano and at the national level, Kwankwaso formally announced his exit from APC along other senators last Tuesday to join PDP.
In the build-up to the 2015 election, Shekarau, who was one of the APC’s foundation members, engaged in the merger talks, lost its Kano APC leadership to Kwankwaso, who joined his colleagues in the nPDP to quit the then ruling party, which is now the main opposition political grouping.
But, beyond the present defection drama, both Kwankwaso and Shekarau have remained political rivals right from 2003, when Shekarau stopped Kwankwaso’s second term ambition by beating him in the gubernatorial poll of that year.
And amid all odds, Shekarau broke the jinx against second term in 2007 as he won his re-election, thus becoming the first governor of Kano State to run two consecutive terms.
With the interplay of ego and political supremacy, it is believed that the return of Kwankwaso to PDP might force the two leaders into separate political platforms.
A political associate of Shekarau, Illiasu Musa, disclosed that the former would remain the last person to dwell with the senator in PDP, stressing that the sharing formula would be the first calamity to befall the party in Kano.
Illiasu said: “I give them two months, PDP will collapse in Kano because of the new intruder. Mallam Shekarau will be the last person to dwell with Kwankwaso. You know the sharing formula was forced on the party leadership in Kano and you think they will be foolish enough to dissolve the existing structure and replace it with Kwankwaso boys? It is not possible.
“If you are the person, what will you be waiting for in PDP? Don’t forget, Shekarau is a founding father of APC, before Kwankwaso came and hijacked the party leadership. This time around, the same power given to Kwankwaso in APC is being restored to him again by the PDP. No right thinking person will accept such treatment.”
Although Illiasu did not categorically confirm the possibility of his return to APC, the former Commissioner for Rural Development under the Ganduje administration, hinted that his former boss (Shekarau) would rejoin his original party.
But, when contacted, the media adviser to Shekarau, Sule Yau, told journalists that Kwankwaso was welcome to PDP, noting that he must be ready to abide by the rules of the party.
On whether Shekarau will defect from PDP again because of Kwankwaso, Sule said: “Mallam Shekarau is a founding member of the APC, but had to leave the party for Kwankwaso in Kano when serving governors who dumped the PDP for the APC were asked to lead the party in their states.
“Now with the coming of Kwankwaso to PDP, we will only hope PDP has received a reformed Kwankwaso. I hope it is not the old Kwankwaso I knew. I hope he will this time around abide by the rules and regulations of the PDP and not repeat what he did after he joined APC in 2015. At that time, he took over everything leaving us with nothing.”
But going forward, it is not likely that Ganduje will leave any stone unturned to woo Shekarau back to APC, because the incumbent maintains constant touch with the former minister, especially having foreseen the new political game playing out in the polity.
Ganduje had made a smart move to incorporate some of the close associates of Shekarau in the state cabinet and granting the former governor unimpeded access to the present administration.
Ganduje was also said to have settled Shekarau’s entitlements, which were withheld throughout the four year-tenure of Kwankwaso as governor as well as moving away from the tradition of abandoning uncompleted projects of previous administrations.
To this joy also, the Ganduje administration completed the Zoo Road Pediatric Hospital and Giginyu General hospital, now Muhammadu Buhari Hospital, that were started by his (Shekarau’s) government, but abandoned by Kwankwaso.
Should the expected alternate defections take place, Kano would throw up interesting scenarios as both camps try to outwit the other preparatory to next year’s election.