The dilemma of a deputy governor
It is not a secret that Kwankwaso anointed Prof. Hafizu Abubakar as running mate to Ganduje in 2015 elections; and as it is now, the deputy governor is the last man standing in the wilderness.
Contrary to the interest of Kwankwaso as well as stiff opposition, Ganduje successfully manoeuvred his ways and installed his favourite, Prince Abdullahi Abass as substantive chairman of APC in Kano. The smart displacement of Haruna Dogwa, a political ally of Kwankwaso, no doubt, was a fast move to take over the political structure inherited from his former boss.
After the sack of Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Rabiu Sulaiman Bichi and Accountant General, Danjuma Mahmud, the two beneficiaries of Kwankwaso benevolence, the body language of Ganduje became obvious that he was determined to jettison all potential enemies capable of frustrating his ambition.
The recent prosecution and subsequent replacement of Commissioner for Lands, Dr. Farouk Bibi Farouk over alleged land fraud was perceived as another calculated attempt to flush out the remnants of Kwankwaso in his government.
Nonetheless, the alleged ‘dirty deals’ now before the court against the accused remains a matter of time for the truth to be known. Dr. Farouk may have demonstrated an unfiltered loyalty to Ganduje since the face off between the two gladiators of Kano state; Farouk still remained Kwankwaso’s close associate.
For those who really understand the intimacy between the deputy governor and the former governor, it is not difficult to deduce that Hafizu’s position is precarious and obviously he is in a dilemma.
Though the deputy governor has continually displaced unflinching loyalty to Ganduje, he is always seen festooned with his red cap (the symbol of the Kwankwassiyya group) even during official function.
Besides, he enjoys the full benefits accruable to the office of the deputy governor; stand-in as acting governor in the absence of Ganduje, and was even empowered to oversee the Ministry of Education as commissioner.
Unlike Kwankwaso who never entrusted the mantle of leadership to Ganduje or allowed him to preside over the weekly State Council meetings when the latter was deputy governor, Hafizu on several occasions enjoyed the rare opportunity to lead Council in the absence of his boss.
Yet not a few still doubt the deputy governor’s allegiance to Ganduje. Those contesting his loyalty believe the former deputy Vice chancellor (Academics) at Bayero University, Kano who was nominated by Kwankwaso would not contemplate disregarding or jeopardising his affinity to his political mentor. Hafizu was Commissioner for Finance between 1999 and 2003 under Kwankwaso.
Keen observers of the development are quick to point out the enormity of the governor’s power, which could be wielded at any point in time when the need arises.Thus wherever the deputy governor’s pendulum swings, he is hazardously caught between the quandary of balancing his loyalty to a political godfather and allegiance to his boss. Should there be a tilt towards one side, there would be consequences.
That notwithstanding, observers argued that considering the avalanche of opportunities at his disposal as a deputy governor, it would be save to conclude that there is no amount of trust between him and Kwankwaso that cannot be broken. They recalled the antecedence and political history of Kwankwaso and late Alhaji. Abubakar Rimi, first civilian governor of Kano state.
They contended that if Kwankwaso could muster the courage to betray Rimi who supported and mobilised the masses to win his first term in office, Hafizu could equally repeat the same action against Kwankwaso.The two political giants might have reduce their fireworks lately but the passion of the tussle is not just snowballing on their political cronies, but has left no one in doubt that the schism is getting deeper among the followers.
The aftermath of the reconciliatory efforts between the two actors seems to have ensured some armistice at least, for now as evidenced in the withdrawal of Ganduje’s threat to probe his political good father over alleged reckless spending and outright mismanagement of state’s resources.
Kwankwaso was accused of bankrupting the state as well as plunging the state into billions of debts owed local contractors, who had since abandoned the site without completing their projects.Sources claimed that though Ganduje may have ceased fire, he remained resolute in the decision not to cede political space in Kano.
In what concerned minds consider as the emergence of ‘absolute control of power,’ Ganduje has continued to maintain sanity and conscious of loyalty among his political lieutenants.From the adoption of Gandujiyya movement, a new political acronym formed by staunch supporters of the governor; it became obvious that Ganduje is not resting on his oars. Charting a clear path for themselves, the loyalists of the governor in APC ensured that they pulled out of the Kwankwasiyya flagship in their thousands as well as flung off their red caps, that symbolises the political ideology of Kwankwaso.
Although Ganduje still wears his red cap, he attributes it to the red cap won by Mallam Aminu Kano and identification with the sage’s political ideology. He reportedly maintained that his red cap has no affiliation with Kwankwasiyya movement.
However, Dr. Jibirila Muhammad, a close associate of Ganduje argued that the deputy governor will never betray the confidence bestow on him because he is a man of principle. He posited that the relationship between the deputy governor and his principal is cordial and also debunked tales of possible conflict in Kano Government House.
According to Jibrila, “We can categorically assure you the deputy governor is 100 per cent loyal to our governor regardless of what many people may be thinking. I have the courage and confidence to say this because I know the deputy governor is a man of honor and principle. Don’t forget he is a university lecturer and not an ordinary politician who does not have regard for ideology.
“Of course everybody is aware Prof. Hafizu is one of the close associate of Kwankwaso. But it will interest you to note that the deputy governor has since distanced himself from the disagreement between the two gladiators and that should be the ideal principle. He has displayed high sense of maturity and understanding while serving under his principal. He has been loyal and never hide the loyalty wherever you see him,” he asserted.
Despite the perceived intimacy with Kwankwaso, Dr. Jibrila noted that Hafizu was also a victim of Kwankwaso’s failed promises on several occasion.
“Let me remind you in case you are not aware, the same Kwankwaso has frustrated Prof. Hafizu with failed promises. This is a man that promised to return Prof. Hafizu as Vice Chancellor of University of Science and Technology, Wudil but failed. Just before he left office the same pledge was made again this time as Vice-chancellor of Northwest University he failed. Is this the same man you expect a very principled and dignified fellow to stand with?” he queried.
On the contrary, the Secretary to Kwankwasiyya Foundation, Alhaji Baba Abubakar insisted that the deputy governor remains an ardent associate of Kwankwaso and very much loyal to his ideology.He contended that the deputy governor is Kwankwasiyya in ‘flesh and soul’ and still very much in touch with the movement. Also, he stressed that Hafizu couldn’t have considered relinquishing his exulted position because he was equally elected like the governor.
The Director of Press to the deputy governor, Mallam Usman Bello however declined to comment on whether Hafizu is still part of Kwankwasiyya movement as proclaimed by Secretary of the movement.
“As far as the deputy governor is concern, it is not time for politicking but time for governance which the primary assignment why we are here,” he told The Guardian.
“The deputy governor Prof. Hafizu Abubakar is part of this administration, committed to the government of Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje’ s policy trust and remains undoubtedly loyal to the project of continuity, consolidation and new innovation being propelled by his Excellency,” Bello explained.
Asked why the deputy governor refused to abandon his red cap the Director of Press said: “Don’t forget the governor Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje personally requested the House of Assembly to allow him and the deputy governor to remain with their red cap. It has nothing to do with loyalty or no loyalty. So the red cap issue was settled long before now”.