Former aides to President Muhammadu Buhari, who contested the All Progressives Congress (APC) tickets for governorship, senatorial and House of Representatives seats in Kano State, all lost out in the primaries.
They are Sha’aban Sharada, a former personal assistant to President Buhari on Broadcast Media, who is currently the chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence; Bashir Ahmad, a former personal assistant to the President on New Media; and Ismaeel Ahmed, a senior special assistant to the President on National Social Investment Programme.
- FACT CHECK: Enugu State PDP gov’ship candidate not assassinated
- 2023: When APC treads the path to doom with Northern agenda
They were defeated by the aspirants endorsed by the state governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.
Sha’aban contested for the governorship ticket of the party while Bashir sought the ticket for Albasu/Gaya/Ajingi federal constituency and Ismaeel, Kano Central senatorial district’s ticket.
Ismaeel, however, announced his withdrawal from the race a few minutes before the commencement of the election. But Sha’aban and Bashir went ahead but both were declared losers in the primaries.
It was gathered that Ismaeel withdrew from the race after the governor informed him that, Abdulsalam Abdulkarim Zaura, who clinched the ticket, was his preferred aspirant.
Sha’aban polled 30 votes against 2,289 votes garnered by his opponent, Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, the incumbent deputy governor of the state.
Bashir’s 16 votes against 109 polled by Abdullahi Mahmoud Gaya, his opponent, turned out to be a subject of jibes on social media.
For observers of Kano politics, the outcome of the governorship primary was no surprise because Sha’aban had been at loggerheads with the governor and leadership of the APC in the state since 2021.
He teamed up with former governor of the state, Ibrahim Shekarau, Senator Barau Jibrin and three other federal lawmakers from the state to form G-7, a political group that almost wrested the party leadership from Ganduje.
His decision to stay put in the party after the Supreme Court verdict resolved the crisis in favour of Ganduje and the subsequent exodus of some G-7 members to the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), was seen as political suicide.
During the 2019 election, Sha’aban and Governor Ganduje had a cordial relationship.
The governor reportedly handed over the ticket of Kano Municipal federal constituency to Sha’aban, which he won.
Another loyalist of the governor, Muntari Ishaq, was believed to have been ‘sacrificed’ for Sha’aban to get the ticket.
For Bashir, his planned transformation from a ‘presidency boy’ to a lawmaker like his former colleague (Sha’aban) did not work out.
Sources said since the death of a former Chief of Staff to the president, Abba Kyari, Bashir had been struggling to remain in the circle of influential persons in the presidency as he no longer has unfettered access to the president that he used to when Kyari held sway.
One of the sources said Bashir had notified the president of his ambition and was told to go ahead like others. But there was no one to pull the strings for him from the presidency.
Bashir accused party leaders in the state of rigging him out of the race, alleging that thugs were used to intimidate him and his supporters away from the venue of the primary election.
Observers, however, noted that apart from the intricacies of local politics, a major factor that led to the losses suffered by the ‘Buhari men’ was the president’s lack of interest in pulling strings for them.