The 2023 general elections may be almost two years away, but several intrigues are already tearing at the heart of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) in Kano State.
Issues in Kano, Nigeria’s commercial centre, have always had a nationwide impact, not least political issues, based on the sheer population of the state. The current ones brewing will surely have an impact on the ruling party beyond the state, analysts have observed.
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The brewing crises came to the limelight on Wednesday following the confusion that trailed the announced suspension of the member representing Kano Municipal in the House of Representatives, Sha’aban Ibrahim Sharada.
Sharada, a former media aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, had been at loggerhead with Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and the APC leadership in Kano. Abdullahi Umar, the chairman of his ward executive in Sharada ward of Kano Municipal LGA did not mince words in the letter conveying the suspension when he stated that the suspension was based on alleged anti-party activities and character assassination of the state governor.
In February, the lawmaker accused Ganduje and the leadership of the party in the state of denying him the right to revalidate his membership of the party at his ward level, an allegation the governor denied.
Just last week, some youths stormed the APC national secretariat in Abuja, protesting what they described as Ganduje’s plan to destroy the party in the State comsidered as President Buhari’s stronghold.
Many, however, believed Sharada’s real problem is not with Ganduje but with people around the governor who are bigwigs of the party in Kano Municipal LGA including Mukhtar Ishaq Yakasai, the Commissioner for Special Duties and Mohammed Garba, the Commissioner for Information.
Yakasai contested the party primaries with Sharada for the House of Representatives and was believed to have won but eventually lost the ticket to Sharada after alleged intervention from Abuja; while Garba was believed to have been influential in the emergence of Fa’izu Alfindiki as the chairman of Kano Municipal LGA as against the preferred candidate of Sharada.
But the issues attempting to tear apart the APC in Kano go beyond Sharada’s suspension, observers of Kano politics noted, stressing that several other issues have been left to fester for long.
Battle for party chairmanship
Among the issues identified are struggle for the chairmanship of the party between the current interim chairman, Abdullahi Abbas and a former chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Ahmadu Haruna Danzago. Both of them are considered close to Ganduje but are seldom seen together with the governor at any occasion because of the perceived animosity between them.
Bara’u Jibrin vs Sule-Garo/Gawuna
Another issue is between Senator Bara’u Jibrin (Kano North) and the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Murtala Sule-Garo. While both are from the same senatorial district, personal ambition and struggle to control the local politics in the zone is said to be tearing them apart with thugs believed to be loyal to both clashing at several events.
Senator Jibrin is believed to be hoping to replace Ganduje as the governor in 2023 while Sule-Garo is being touted as a deputy governorship candidate in 2023 to run on a joint ticket with the current deputy governor, Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna.
Shekarau vs Ganduje
Although Gawuna has worked with the three governors of Kano State since the return to democratic rule in 1999, the two-time former Chairman of Nasarawa LGA came to political limelight during the administration of former governor and current senator for Kano Central, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, who has been observed to be very distant from the Kano government house.
Sources from Shekarau’s camp had indicated that all is not well between the Ganduje-led leadership of the APC and the former governor, stressing that they believe the governor has not been fair to them after their role in helping him retain power in 2019.
APC Buhari Support Organisations
An open letter addressed to the APC Registration Appeal Committee which was signed by Shehu Dalhatu, Kano state chapter chairman of APC Buhari Support Organisation had complained against “injustice in the conduct of APC membership registration and revalidation exercise” in the state, saying those from the legacy parties (ANPP, ACN and CPC) have been side-lined.
But in a rejoinder, key members of the legacy parties now holding key positions in the government said they believe the complaining group is working with the opposition to undermine the party. The signatories to the rejoinder include Alhaji Usman Alhaji, Secretary to the state government (from defunct CPC); Senators Kabiru Gaya and Barau Jibirn (from defunct ANPP).
Kwamanda’s APC Akida
Recently, a staunch supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari in Kano State, Abdulmajid Danbiliki Kwamanda, created a faction of the APC and named it APC Akida, but he was promptly expelled by the party. He is from Kano Municipal LGA, the same as Sharada.
New entrants complicate race for 2023 governorship
Following last Saturday’s mega rally of the party in Kano which saw three former gubernatorial candidates from different political parties dump their parties for the APC, the battle for who emerges the flagbearer of the party for the governorship election in 2023 have only been made more complicated.
Aside from the trio of Salihu Sagir Takai, A.A. Zaura and Umar Yakubu Danhassan who recently joined the party and are being touted as a potential successor to the governor, other bigwigs of the party in the state, including the Deputy Governor, Nasiru Gawuna and Senator Bara’u Jibrin are also being promoted as a likely successor.
Muhuyi Magaji Rimingado, the Chairman of Kano Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission; Inuwa Waya, a senior staff of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), are also among those being promoted as the flagbearer of the APC in the state.
Daily Trust reports that the governor himself has been clever with words of recent on how his successor will emerge.
“It will be the delegates that will do that. Looking at the antecedents of the governor (referring to himself), his political dexterity, he too is a complicated complex in politics. So, time will tell; but it will be resolved democratically,” he had said when asked on how his successor will emerge.
Pressed further on what qualities he will be looking out for in his potential successor, the governor said, “if I tell you the qualities I want from my successor, you will be able to make computation, matching the qualities on the aspirants, then you will say that is the anointed one. Delegates will do that.”
But with his covert confirmation that he does not have a plan to retire from politics after his two-term as governor ends in 2023, the governor’s ambition is believed to also be fuelling unrest in the party in the state.
While many believe the governor is nursing the ambition of being the running mate for APC leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu when the former Lagos governor eventually declare for 2023 presidency, others believe the governor may have struck an agreement with Senator Jibrin to take over the senate seat for Kano North while Jibrin gets the ticket for the governorship.
The governor son, Abba Ganduje, on his part is already being prepared to take over the House of Representative seat from Tijjani Abdulkadir Jobe to represent Dawakin Tofa/Tofa/Rimingado federal constituency. This had ignited a cold war between the lawmaker and the governor in recent time.
This plethora of issues, if not quickly resolved amicably, political pundits and analysts of Kano politics opined might turn out as an advantage for the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to wrestle power away from the APC come 2023.