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As political actors warm up for the 2019 elections, Correspondent KOLADE ADEYEMI writes on the activities of Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, former governor of Kano State, who is believed to be eyeing the presidency.
Former Kano State Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso has many followers across the country. He is an experienced politician. In 2015, he came second during the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential primary. He was the only governor who handed over to his deputy, Abdullahi Ganduje. But, later, both fell apart.
As the polity warms up for 2019 elections, eyes are on him. Kwankwaso has said that his body and soul remained in the APC. However, there are indications that his influence is being threatened in the party. Recently, there were speculations that Kwankwaso would defect to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
A thick cloud is hovering over his future ambition. Through his Kwankwassiyya Development Foundation and the Kwankwassiyya movement, the eminent politician has continued to wax stronger among the people. He is mobilising supporters, empowerment programmes and building bridges, ahead of 2019 polls.
Sources said that the former governor will contest for the highest office, if President Muhammadu Buhari will not re-contest. According to the source, if he is edged out of the APC, he may retrace his steps to the PDP.
Pundits are rasing some pizzles. What are his chances? If he returns to the PDP, can the party trust him? PDP leaders, including former President Goodluck Jonathan, his predecessor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau and former Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido may not be comfortable with him. But, a party source said the PDP really wanted him to return becaue he is an asset and not a liability.
The recent APC mini-congress held at Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano, was boycotted by Kwankwaso and his men. It was a fallout of the feud between him and Ganduje.
Kwankwaso and Ganduje are friends. But, they are also rivals. Both wanted to be governor in 1999. Ganduje was asked to step down for Kwanlwaso. He later served as deputy governor under Kwankwaso. Even after losing his re-election bid, Kwankwaso and Ganduje remained close political associates.
In 2011, the two leaders joined forces once again and returned to the Kano State Government House. Ahead of 2015 polls, both of them defected to the APC.
There was no succession battle in the Kano APC. Ganduje was the APC candidate. He won the poll through Kwankwaso’s support., crisis erupted, following Ganduje’s inauguration as governor.
Kwankwaso allegedly wanted juicy appointments for his followers. The distrust heightened when the transition committee headed by Ganduje’s deputy, Prof. Hafiz Abubakar, made startling revelations on the debt profile of the state, which the committee put to over N300 billion. Kwankwaso claimed that he left N21 billion debt behind. The outcry of some contractors who complained that the previous government owed them was infuriating to Ganduje. But, some critics have pointed out that it was a hypocritical cry because Ganduje was part of the Kwankwaso administration.
The management of the debts and the need to complete uncompleted projects further aggravated the animosity between the two leaders.
The climax of the crisis was when Kwankwaso paid condolence visit to Ganduje over the death of his mother. A month after the controversial condolence visit of Kwankwaso to Ganduje, the dust raised by the visit refused to settle. The battle for supremacy between the duo led to protracted party crisis and the indefinite suspension of the APC chairman, Alhaji Haruna Umar Doguwa.
Doguwa’s trouble started when he denied ever condemning Kwankwaso’s action. However, about a week later, Doguwa, a former Commissioner for Higher education under Kwankwaso, organized another media briefing where he claimed that he was under duress to condemn Kwankwaso. He was accompanied by the Organizing Secretary, Sanusi Suraju Kwankwaso. The two APC leaders were later suspended over allegations of anti-party activities.
The suspension did not go done well with Kwankwaso. The die was cast between him and the govrnor. The Kwankwassiyya was divided. Some went with Kwankwaso. Others went with Ganduje. Later, Ganduje dismantled the political structure of Kwankwaso known as Kwankwasiyya Amana within the government circle and replaced it with Gandujiyya Akida. The action was taken to enable the governor take full control as the leader of the APC in Kano, following what they described as undue interference on the affairs of the state by Kwankwaso.
However, loyalists of Kwankwaso have continued to complain they were marginalised in the government and shoved aside in a move to hurt the support base of the senator. Many of Kwankwaso’s former appointees and aides have been complaining of being shut out of the current administration, which they claimed they worked to install. Ganduje is enjoying the loyalty of 24 members of the House of Representatives and two senators representing Kano South and Kano North districts, Kabiru Ibrahim Gaya and Barau Jubril.
Kwankwaso have many hurdles to cross. He is losing his hold on Kano politics. His group has been decimated by Ganduje, who has the largesse. Owing to the goodwill which Ganduje enjoys at the presidency and the party’s national secretariat, coupled with the incumbency factor, there are strong indications that Kwankwaso’s loyalists at National Assembly and the Kano State House of Assembly may lose their return tickets, unless they shift their loyalty to the governor.
If the former governor defects to the PDP, some of his followers may stay back in the APC. The camp of the president may also continue to suspect him because he is a rival still nursing presidential ambition.
According to observers, Kwankwaso’s decision to defect to the PDP may be suicidal, unless the party decides to give its presidential ticket to him.
However, a source said that Kwankwaso cannot be underrated because he understands politics. He has fought many battles and survived.
Kwankwaso has served as a Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, governor and minister. He is now a senator. His target is the Presidency. Will he make it? Time will tell.
– The Nation. © August 31, 2017.

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