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2015: Challenges before Kano PDP

Kano State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) boasts of array of personalities angling to fly its flag in the February governorship elections. Those eyeing the party’s…

Kano State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) boasts of array of personalities angling to fly its flag in the February governorship elections. Those eyeing the party’s ticket include Alhaji Sagir Takai, Mohammed Sani Abacha and Risqua Murtala Mohammed who have already purchased the party’s nomination forms.
It is believed that none of the three aspirants is ready to step down for the other, hence there will be fierce battle among them.
Takai, a former commissioner for water resources and local government affairs as well as three-time chairman of Takai Local Government Area is believed to be a political son to minister of education and former governor of the state, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau.
He contested the governorship election in 2011 on the platform of the ANPP but was defeated by Kwankwaso. Takai remained with Shekarau and followed him to the PDP even when most of the minister’s loyalists abandoned him.
It is believed that with his avowed loyalty, Shekarau is likely to compensate Takai by backing him to pick the PDP ticket.
For Mohammed, his ambition has been the talk of the town, coupled with the fact that he is seen as a rich politician. Sources said that he is silently mobilising ahead of the election and that he is influential among the elite in the state.
Mohammed, it is believed, is loved my many in Kano State, including the youth and women.
In declaring his ambition, Mohammed reportedly said: “We will win Kano State. We are hopeful that we will win in Kano State.”
Mohammed had contested for the governorship seat in 2011 on the platform of the then Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) after a fierce battle with a former military governor of Kaduna State, Gen Ja’afaru Isa (rtd).
Risqua on the other hand, is believed to have electoral values as well as the wherewithal and influence that cut across the state and beyond, which could bring victory to the party during elections.
Many believe that the odds seem be in his favour going by the fact that he came into the race rather early and was first to indicate interest to contest for the party’s ticket, having yielded to pressure from within and outside the state to do so.
Our correspondent gathered that Risqua’s ambition started with a call by members of the Kano Good Governance Project (KGGP) months ago. The group had at a gathering attended by dozens of political groups in the state invited Risqua to join the governorship race, saying he possesses the wherewithal to turn around the state.
The group’s coordinator, Alhaji Shehu Usman Umaru, said then that they were wooing Risqua in view of his numerous leadership qualities bequeathed to him by his late father.
“As the only surviving son of General Murtala, we find it desirous and needful to approach him with a sincere proposal to come forward and serve the people of Kano State as we are confident of his capacity to turn around the state,” he had said.
Risqua, who was a special assistant on international relations to former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, for seven years, later indicated interest in the job during a reception in Kano. He had revealed then that he was considering harkening to the call of the people of the state to serve them.
“From all corners, people are mounting pressure on me to contest for the governorship race of our great state, Kano. I’m giving their calls serious consideration because we all want our state to be great,” he said.
However, analysts opine that the party needs more than just influence if it must make any appreciable impact, especially now that the electoral prospects of the ruling APC in the state are very high.
Pundits believe that what the party needs is a right candidate with impeccable character to be able to lead it to victory in 2015.
“Somebody in-between; a liberal minded figure with unsoiled background with acceptability standing that cuts across”, one of the PDP youth leaders in the state, Alhaji Suleiman Gwarzo noted.
Although many believe that the trio of Takai, Mohammed and Risqua fit the bill, it is left for the party’s stakeholders to decide on the aspirant of ‘impeccable’ standing that they can collectively support and perhaps agree on a consensus arrangement as it has now become the tradition in many states.
But others believe that the trio showed be allowed to test their individual strengths through open primaries.
Whatever the party’s decision in the end, many believe a popular candidate must emerge out of the arrangement for it to excel in the forthcoming elections.
In the case of a consensus arrangement, analysts opine that the party leaders must shelve personal ambitions of fielding individual aspirants that may spark intra-party rivalries, which will undermine it in future elections.
Analysts make reference to what happened in 2003 when intra-party crisis caused Kwankwaso, who was then in the PDP, his bid for a second term by losing to a then relatively unknown Shekarau of the then All Peoples Party (APP).
Incidentally, analysts say, Kwankwaso staged a comeback in 2011 after a similar intra-party crisis in the then ANPP over Shekarau’s insistence on Takai as his successor.
At present, the PDP in Kano State is believed to be under Shekarau, who they say must have learnt his lessons by now, going by the experience of 2011 and will not allow his personal ambition to make his new party, the PDP, lose Kano to the APC come 2015.
As the party’s governorship primaries draw nearer, it is believed that the best thing leaders and stakeholders could do is to allow a level playing ground for the three aspirants.

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