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How Kwankwaso’s brother’s death, Shekarau’s daughter’s wedding changed Kano’s political calculation

Two events — death and wedding — in the past few days, have changed the political calculation in Kano ahead of the 2023 elections, such…

Two events — death and wedding — in the past few days, have changed the political calculation in Kano ahead of the 2023 elections, such that some analysts are seeing it as the dawn of a new era. 

The demise of Alhaji Inuwa Kwankwaso, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso’s younger brother, and the wedding of the daughter of Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, both former governors of the state, are said to have brought an unexpected unity among three hitherto estranged political leaders in Kano State since 1999.

Kwankwaso and Shekarau both governed the state for eight years each, while the current governor; Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, is 17 months away from completing his second term.

 Notably, the two former governors have a lot in common as far as Kano and Nigeria are concerned, beyond presiding over the affairs of the country’s commercial centre. While Kwankwaso served as minister of defence under the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Shekarau was the minister of education during the tenure of Goodluck Jonathan.

Similarly, Kwankwaso represented the Kano Central senatorial district in the National Assembly between 2015 and 2019, a position currently occupied by Shekarau.

 Also, both men are considered among the strongest politicians and power brokers in Kano politics, and are highly respected, with very huge and dedicated followers.

 This probably accounts for the emergence of Shekarau as governor of Kano State in 2003, when he denied Kwankwaso his first attempt to complete his eight years as governor.

Since then, the politics of Kano has been hugely divided between these powerful gladiators. And the current governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje had always been Kwankwaso’s ally since 1999 until they fell apart after the 2015 elections that ushered in the ‘Gandujiyya’ factor in the terrain.

 Ganduje served as Kwankwaso’s deputy for eight years and was also with him when he was minister of defence.

 But since they both fell apart, animosity has been the order of the day. While Ganduje and Kwankwaso rarely attacks each other’s personality, their supporters have never held back the sword of words against, leading many to believe they are playing their leaders’ cards.

As such, when the death of Alhaji Inuwa Kwankwaso was announced and the former governor started receiving many visitors, several of such visitations, including the ones from Governor Ganduje and Senator Shekarau, raised eyebrows. 

While Ganduje visited his former boss on December 21, Shekarau visited two days later, a day before the wedding fatiha of his daughter.

 Daily Trust on Sunday reports that during Ganduje’s visit, the former governor invited him to the grave of his father, Musa Saleh Kwankwaso, located within his Bompai residence, where a special prayer was offered.

After the prayer, which took place in the presence of many loyalists from both sides, the two political gladiators were left alone for a private talk for some minutes.

 Later on, the governor, in an interview with Radio France International, indicated his readiness to reconcile with Kwankwaso, admitting that the feud between them was nothing but the handiwork of political miscreants.

Also, while featuring on the BBC Hausa, Kwankwaso expressed happiness over the condolence visit by his successor.

“I am very happy that he (Ganduje) came to condole with me; it is very good for all of us. We are in politics for nothing but to serve people, we are not into politics of bitterness or to harm anyone. That is the main reason I joined politics.

“What I want you to understand is that nobody will play a great role in producing a governor and later say he does not like that person or his government. However, if you find that you are not needed in that government, it is better for you to step aside, hold onto yourself and just watch.

“We thank God; and I know that many people will be happy that he came. What is happening is just politics, and I hope that one day it would come to pass. I hope that what is happening at state and national levels of politics would turn out to be the best for us,” he said.

Apart from politicians, a huge percentage of business and religious leaders, as well as other groups that are regarded as being pivotal to Kano politics and policies, also visited the former forvernor.

Notable among the prominent businessmen from the state seen at Kwankwaso’s residence were Alhaji Auwalu Abdullahi Rano, the chief executive officer of A A Rano; Alhaji Isah Gerawa, the chairman, Gerawa Oil Mill; Alhaji Abdulmuminu Yakubu Maishanu, the chief executive officer of AYM Shafa Oil Limited; Alhaji Muhammad Abubakar Maifata, chairman, Umza International Farms Ltd; Alhaji Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina, chairman, Azman Air Services Limited, and Alhaji Aliko Bebeji, chief executive officer, Aliko Oil.

From the political scene, all the 44 local government chairmen, led by Murtala Sule Garo, commissioner for local government affairs in Kano State, as well as members of the Kano State House of Assembly, led by Speaker Hamisu Ibrahim Chidari, and former secretary to the state government under Kwankwaso, Rabiu Suleman Bichi, an engineer, who is now a major power broker under Ganduje, also paid condolence visits to the Kwankwasiyya leader.

Notably, Kwankwaso’s residences, both in Kano and Abuja, have been receiving many visitors across all sectors.

Kwankwaso gives out Shekarau’s daughter in wedding

On December 24, Kano residents and observers were surprised when they not only saw Kwankwaso at the wedding fatiha of Halima Ibrahim Shekarau and Adamu Yusuf Maitama, but the former governor was the one that gave out the bride.

Is political truce in the offing?

With the recent happenings in the Kano political environment, residents and analysts are already looking ahead for a new era.

A political observer, Ibrahim Musa Hamshaki, told Daily Trust on Sunday that the three political leaders were in need of one another to be successful, but leadership struggle may never allow them to unite.

“The three camps are all in need of one another, but they can’t be at the same place because all of them want to be on top. I think the most affected in this is the sitting governor because there’s one advantage the other camps have over him. They have the masses. Everybody knows that Kwankwaso and Shekarau have the highest number of supporters in Kano. 

 “I think the only camp in the middle of this crisis is that of Ganduje. He needs either Shekarau or Kwankwaso to achieve what he wants. It is better for him to settle the crisis within his party so that he can finish his tenure and probably produce the next governor. But believe me, none of the three camps can produce a governor or succeed alone,” he said.

Ganduje on Friday said this year will usher in a new era of peace and reconciliation among political parties’ stakeholders in the state and the country in general.

In a statement, by the state Commissioner for Information, Muhammad Garba, the governor said the next few months should also be for internal democracy to flourish where political parties are expected to produce more credible representatives at various levels who have the capacity and ability to win elections and subsequently build on laudable programs and policies initiated by the past leaders.