By Muhammad Auwal
Before Saturday, September 22, 2018, many observers and political watchers in Kano State and beyond were of the view that with the right choice of candidate for the 2019 governorship election, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP was seemingly coasting to victory as many indicators show that the people of the state are yearning for change. No thanks to the dwindling popularity of the current leadership in the state.
However, all that is fast changing now as the former governor of the state and one of the leaders of the PDP, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso on that fateful Saturday dealt a deadly blow on the hope for change in Kano state come 2019 when he announced the anointment of his son in-law Abba Kabir Yusuf to run against Governor Ganduje in the next year’s governorship election. Though the anointment of Mr Yusuf was for the Kwankwasiyya group within the PDP, but the development sent tongues wagging and raised the political barometer in Kano because of the seeming influence that Kwankwaso has in Kano politics and PDP in particular, even though it is incontrovertible that the Kwankwasiyya group alone cannot deliver the state to PDP.
Prior to the annointment of Abba Kabir Yusuf for governorship by Kwankwaso, many held the view that the Kano Central Senator was going to endorse and support Malam Salihu Sagir Takai, the foremost leading contender in the governorship race in the state. This expectation by many was borne out of the Kwankwaso’s admiration and respect for Takai’s leadership and principles having served as local government Chairman when Kwankwaso was governor in 1999-2003 and later Commissioner for Water resources and later for Local government at different times during the administration of Malam Ibrahim Shekarau between 2003 and 2011. Both Kwankwaso and Shekarau have tremendous respect for Takai due to his incorruptibility, prudency, honesty, industry and fear of God in public and private life to the extent that Shekarau supported him for governorship in 2011 and 2015 general elections respectively.
On the other hand, some were of the belief that Kwankwaso could endorse immediate past Deputy Governor of Kano State, Professor Hafiz Abubakar, a foremost Kwankwasiyya adherent who resigned his position because of his loyalty to the group. This is a rare sacrifice that many thought would earn Kwankwaso’s endorsement for Prof. Abubakar.
Alas, at a meeting convened by Senator Kwankwaso in his Kaduna residence, attendants and the general public were shocked when Senator Kwankwaso announced his son in-law as the governorship candidate of the Kwankwasiyya bloc. This development was indeed an upset on the part of the PDP that was largely seen as the next party in government.
Since the announcement was made an imminent crack rocked the ever cohesive kwankwasiyya group with leading members of the group spearheading revolt against the decision of the Madobi born iron fisted Senator also known as Mai Takalmin Karfe meaning the man with iron boot. While majority of Kano people not only condemned Kwankwaso’s choice but vowed not to support or even imagine casting their vote for the PDP in the upcoming governorship election.
In fact, Abba Yusuf’s anointment by Kwankwaso made the APC government in Kano to roll out drums in celebration for an impending victory against the PDP in the 2019 governorship election. Worse still, is the outburst of Senator Kwankwaso that his choice is not only for the Kwankwasiyya bloc but that of the PDP and is final, as such this outburst sent jitters into many PDP members because Kwankwaso with his loyalists at the helm of affairs in the Kano PDP, he might prevent the conduct of any primaries to choose governorship flag bearer for the party, or at least manipulate the process to his advantage.
This new twist in the Kano chapter of PDP has worsened an already tensed situation with the return of Senator Kwankwaso which forced his longtime rival and successor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau along with some members to defect to the AP. In the same vein, Kwankwaso’s return to the party he helped sent out of power in 2015 sparked multiple court actions against the dissolution of the state working committee and the imposition of his cronies as caretaker committee members.
Kwankwaso’s handling of the PDP in Kano is generating all manner of interpretations. While some people suspect that he was blackmailed by the APC to plot the failure of PDP in Kano, others suspect plans by Kawnkwaso to fail the party so that he remain its leader, the same scenario that played out in 2007 when he anointed Ahnmed Garba Bichi and lost to Shekarau’s ANPP.
Lest the PDP forget, the political history of Kano is hinged on the principles of resistance and liberty. Examples abound where sitting governments were defeated in Kano such as PRP led government of Muhammadu Abubakar Riimi (1983), Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso administration under PDP (2003) and ANPP led government of Ibrahim Shekarau (2011).
Therefore, all that is required for the PDP is to ensure that a level playing field is provided for all contestants as allowing only Kwankwaso’s choice will definitely spell doom for the party. There is a common desire and yearning for a proper primary election to be conducted so as to determine the real choice of the people. As such, anything short of sincere, all inclusive and transparent process of picking the PDP governorship standard bearer is a recipe for disastrous outing for the party. Except the PDP wants to remain in the opposition or is in cohort with the APC. A stitch in time saves nine!
Muhammad wrote from Horoto Quarters, Kano.