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ANPP: Between Buhari and Shekarau

In a way, Buhari’s exit from a party he was not a part of from the beginning was belated. It was expected sooner because his…

In a way, Buhari’s exit from a party he was not a part of from the beginning was belated. It was expected sooner because his spirit had long departed from the party. As he himself put it, this was a separation based on irreconcilable differences. What would two people be doing together when they have become opposed to each other to the point of hostility?

Much has been said by many on the impact of his membership of the party, with specific reference to Kano State and the state governor Malam Ibrahim Shekarau.

As a witness to events as they concern the Malam/Buhari/ANPP mix, I am compelled to highlight certain truths that people ignore for self-serving purposes. Words and attitudes of members of the Buhari Organisation (TBO) are regularly manipulative and ironically rob the General of tremendous goodwill among his supporters. General Buhari is a straightforward man, which is why I support him but even he has never, and will never tell anyone that Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, Governor of Kano State, betrayed him. The betrayal concept is an expedient invention of TBO members and believed by people who do not know the truth. If anything, General Buhari should be wishing Malam were heading TBO, which is desperately in need of selfless patriots who can tell the General the truth without first calculating what is in it for them.

The betrayal theory where it is woven between Malam and General is ridiculous. It is a big lie that deserves condemnation. The truth, known to nearly everyone in Kano, is that General Buhari enjoyed massive patronage from a loyal Malam who has never uttered a single disrespectful statement against the General. Yet, General Buhari has done nothing to restrain the TBO hacks from abusing Malam using Freedom Radio in Kano and abusing the freedom of speech which Malam allows.

 I recall the events in early 2005 when the Shekarau Government wanted to launch 500 tricycles in its bid to modernize the transport system in the state and provide a decent alternative to achaba, especially in transporting female passengers. The radio waves were jammed with the announcement that Buhari was going to be the Special Guest of Honour at the commissioning. Those in the know confirmed that the General had personally called and confirmed his acceptance of the invitation to the Governor and the state was worked into a frenzy of anticipation. In the end, Buhari did not come. The thousands of party supporters who came to catch a glimpse of our hero walked away sulking, thoroughly disappointed.

Again, in the build-up to the 2007 elections, Buhari demonstrated why he should consider the advice to quit elective politics for politicians. Buhari as presidential flag bearer of ANPP toured all the states, especially in the North, to introduce the party’s governorship candidates and present himself to the electorate. But millions waited for him in vain in Kano where he enjoyed far more support than his home state of Katsina. He shunned Kano. He had given his word to the party leaders in Kano that he would come. He even chose the date and time of his arrival, but he did not show up. Thousands waited till late in the night for the General. Instead he sent a message through Freedom Radio, a message his fuming supporters were too bemused to even comprehend.

Malam was not expected to win the second term he won in 2007. The calculation of TBO members was that the General held the key to Malam’s re-election and refusing to come to Kano and raise his hand was a sure indication that Malam would lose his re-election bid. There is no denying the role General Buhari played in bringing Malam to power in 2003 but there were other variables. Malam himself was a credible candidate, or how come other ANPP candidates, especially in Katsina, whose hands the General also raised, lost their elections?

The political odyssey of Malam and the General has unfortunately been mired in opportunistic rehash by revisionists and journalistic foragers. Facts have been twisted to suit a pre-determined version of history, as if those of us who are not journalists cannot accurately observe and analyze history.

Much of the crisis that dissipated the energies of the party, leading to decampments, can be directly traced to the undue interference of TBO members in the running of the party in the states. Governors resented them as pretenders.

The General has left the ANPP, but I predict that he will encounter similar problems wherever he will be unless he dismantles the TBO liability he carries.

Ahmed Musa Bungudu contributed this rejoinder from Yan’Kaba Quarters, Kano

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