The positions of Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State and his Kano State counterpart, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, on what is next for them on the expiration of their tenures, come May 29, 2023, have set tongues wagging in the political arena in the two states and beyond.
With a total of 710 days left for the two governors, who are from the same political party, All Progressives Congress (APC), same geopolitical zone, North West and both 71 years old, the duo let the cat out of the bag on what they are likely to do when they leave the government house.
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The two septuagenarians made their positions known during events to mark this year’s Democracy Day in their respective states.
While addressing newsmen as part of activities to mark the event, Masari, a former speaker of the House of Representatives said he would quit active politics and return to the farm.
“My people from Katsina, like the late Umaru Musa Yar’adua, contested for president and won; Muhammadu Buhari the same thing, he even served as military Head of State. I think it is better we leave the stage for other people from other places.
“After I have satisfactorily succeeded in doing that, I will retire to my farm,” Masari said apparently re-echoing his 2019 position on retirement.
Masari, had in December 2019, while speaking to State House reporters, said he would quit active politics on the expiration of his second tenure.
In sharp contrast to Masari’s position, however, about 48 hours later, Ganduje said he was not ready to retire on the expiration of his second tenure. He was responding to questions during an interactive session with journalists in Kano.
Specifically, Ganduje said: “You want me to tell you whether I will retire as well. Well, I am not tired. Whether I will resign or not, time will tell. But you should know that I have been in politics since 1978. So, even if I resign or retire, I think my ears are on what is happening.”
Lone option for Masari
Since President Buhari hails from Katsina State same as Masari, the only option for Masari in the political scene is the Senate. But the governor, by his statement, is opting for retirement. Since 2007 when the first set of governors completed their second tenure, the Senate has become their ‘retirement’ home. But none of the former speakers of the House of Representatives has crossed over from the Green Chamber to the Red Chamber.
From 1999 to date, eight persons including Salisu Buhari, Ghali Umar Na’Abba, Aminu Bello Masari, Patricia Etteh, Dimeji Bankole, Aminu Waziri (present Sokoto State governor), Yakubu Dogara and Femi Gbajabiamila, have served as speaker of the House of Representatives.
Ganduje considers two options
Unlike Masari, Ganduje, according to pundits and others around the political scene in Kano State, has the Senate as one of his options. His two predecessors in Kano State government house, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (estranged political godfather of Ganduje) and Ibrahim Shekarau crossed over to the Senate on the expiration of their tenures.
Ganduje, who was deputy governor for eight years under Kwankwaso, and is completing his second term of eight years as governor in 2023, will have an easy ride if he decides to vie for Kano North Senatorial seat.
Absurd as it may look, pundits say the governor may pair with the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is being touted as one of the top shots in the ruling party eyeing the presidency.
Tinubu, the former Lagos State governor celebrated his birthday in Kano recently. His posters for the presidency were sighted on the streets of Kano on Saturday.
But as stated by Ganduje, whether he will retire or not, only time will tell.