Weeks ago, Kwankwaso gave an inkling of his presidential ambition when he met with a group of clerics at the Kano state government house. Reportedly, at the closed door meeting led by the state’s Hisbah board boss, Sheikh Aminu Ibrahim Daurawa, Kwankwaso asked the clerics to pray for the actualisation of his presidential ambition.
Like a wildfire, the news filtered round the state and it dominated the social media that the governor had declared his intention to wrestle power from President Goodluck Jonathan come 2015.
From then, various groups within Kano and even beyond have continued to endorse the governor’s presidential ambition. It has been endorsement galore for the governor.
But the ambition of the governor, who defected to APC from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) last year, got the biggest boost last Thursday when elders of the party in the state threw their weight behind his ambition.
At a press conference attended by about 50 stalwarts of the party, the elders said the decision to endorse Kwankwaso was unanimously reached by their members in order to rescue the country from the misrule of the present administration.
The elders, in a communiqué signed by Amb Kabiru Rabiu and Comrade Saleh Jili, pointed out that the challenges facing the country were as a result of the abysmal performance of President Jonathan.
“We APC elders’ committee are inviting our governor, Engineer Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso to join the presidential race in order to rescue Nigerians from this present misrule,” the Kano APC elders said.
Beyond the communiqué, our correspondent reliably gathered that the idea for the endorsement of the governor was first advanced by the members of his Kwankwasiyya movement who were among the elders committee of the party in the state.
A source in the party told our correspondent that when the idea was initiated, they summoned a meeting of the elders’ forum. At the meeting five representatives of the three legacy parties that merged to form APC were invited.
“They told us that it will not be good for people outside the state to be endorsing the candidature of Kwankwaso who is one of us at the elders’ forum. They took their time to stress the need for us to do the same in view of his numerous outstanding projects in Kano,” he said.
After the meeting, our correspondent gathered that the elders departed and fixed another date for the endorsement proper. Thus, penultimate Thursday the elders committee endorsed the governor.
As Kwankwaso’s camp were basking in the euphoria of the endorsement, a group known as the committee of leaders of the legacy parties, issued a statement in Abuja dissociating themselves from the endorsement.
“There is no any formal elders committee of the APC in Kano State yet, what we have is a committee of leaders of the legacy parties,” the group said in a statement signed by representatives of the legacy parties.
According to them, the elders committee of the legacy parties is being led by Alhaji Bashir Othman Tofa, ANPP, Mallam Musa Gwadabe, ACN and Mallam Sabo Nanono CPC. They added that the two signatories of the communiqué endorsing Kwankwaso were not members of the committee but that they belong to the governor’s political movement known as Kwankwasiyya.
In a swift reaction, the elders reaffirmed the endorsement of Kwankwaso’s presidential ambition, saying the decision was collectively taken by all who matter in the party.
“We still maintain our stand that we have endorsed Governor Kwankwaso for the presidency. Those who wrongly dissociated themselves or address themselves as merger parties are not members of the elders committee of APC in Kano,” the spokesperson of the elders, Alhaji Sale Jili, said.
According to him, the chairman of the APC, Alhaji Umar Doguwa and all other executives of the party, who were members of the elders committee, attended the meeting where the governor was endorsed.
“Anybody that says the endorsement was not by the elders committee is just making mockery of himself. It is in view of this that we are calling on the general public to disregard the unfounded and unguarded statement of the said group,” he added.
Commenting on the development, a firm supporter of General Muhammadu Buhari in Kano state, Alhaji Abdulmajid Danbilik Kwamanda, urged the leadership of the party to only support a candidate that has the political clout to wrestle power from President Jonathan.
“Those people that endorsed the governor were members of his political group known as Kwankwasiyya so we don’t have problem with that. But anybody that is interested in rescuing the country from this mess will only support General Buhari who has the capacity to turn around the fortunes of the country positively,” Kwamanda said.
“Let me tell you today, if General Buhari is not given the APC ticket come 2015, APC will not make any impact in the 2015 general elections because it will negatively affect the fortunes of the party. The party will not win any position because it is him that the masses like. General Buhari registered a political party in 10 months and he was able to polled about 13 million votes in 2011 election,” he added in a phone interview.
But another member of the governor’s movement said there is need for General Buhari to allow fresh and young candidate to slug it out with Jonathan come 2015.
“We respect General Buhari, he remains our leader but what we are saying is that he should step down for Kwankwaso. If given the mandate, Kwankwaso would replicate the projects he has executed in Kano across the country,” he said.
Buhari and Kwankwaso are expected to formally declare their presidential ambition later this month or early next month.