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Kano: PDP girds its loins for 2011

Described as one of the biggest political events Kano State had ever witnessed in recent weeks, the reception is symbolically significant in the eyes of…

Described as one of the biggest political events Kano State had ever witnessed in recent weeks, the reception is symbolically significant in the eyes of keen observers and analysts.  First, it signified a show of strength by the opposition PDP by sending a message that, contrary to the wishes of rivals, it remains a formidable challenger to the ruling ANPP.  Second, the gathering appears to be a strong message to those that built their hopes on the apparent decline of the opposition PDP.

Addressing thousands of PDP supporters at the Kano Polo ground, Dr. Shamsuddeen Usman, who is now regarded as the rallying point for re-building the party, said he was incredibly overwhelmed by the mammoth crowd of party faithful that abandoned other activities to attend the event.  He said the fact that PDP supporters could make such sacrifices was itself a major indication of how much they were committed to the success of the party in the 2011 elections, including the challenge of producing the next popularly elected governor of Kano State.

Welcoming Dr.  Usman and Mohammed Abacha who drove to the PDP Secretariat, the party Chairman, Alhaji Faruk Iya, described the Minister of National Planning as the leader and pillar of the party, especially at this time when the PDP needed formidable leadership to give Kano State a new political direction.  According to him, for the PDP to bring about change by unseating the ANPP, it badly needs strong leaders like Dr. Usman to achieve such challenge.  The party chairman also thanked Mohammed Abacha for mobilizing his supporters to welcome Dr. Usman.

Dr. Shamsuddeen Usman told PDP supporters that his visit was intended to galvanize and rekindle the hope of party faithful in order to face the challenges of the 2011 elections.  According to the National Planning Minister, unity is the key to success for any party.  He said the PDP enjoys broader national appeal and therefore it is the only party of choice.  He appealed to party supporters to work together for the common interest of the party, warning that internal division could weaken any movement.

For his part, the leading PDP gubernatorial contender, Alhaji Mohammed Abacha, advised PDP supporters to play decent politics.  He told his supporters that for him, politics is not a do–or–die affair.  The aspirant urged his supporters to avoid violent tendencies, which he said can undermine the credibility of elections.  Defending his aspiration, he told his supporters that he is seeking the office to offer service for the progress of Kano State.  Mohammed Abacha said politics is not for personal material aggrandizement.  This is the difference, he explained, that he intends to make.

The size of the crowd that attended the reception and rally was a significant indication of the determination of the Kano State PDP chapter to rout the ruling ANPP in 2011.  If former governor Rabiu Musa KwanKwaso stands by his decision not to contest and joins forces with the choice of the people as party governorship candidate, the PDP would have little difficulty uniting behind one formidable candidate.  As it stands, Mohammed Abacha appears to be a strong contender.

At every available opportunity, Mohammed Abacha always reminds PDP supporters to avoid factional loyalty, which he said threatens the unity of the party.  Since he joined the PDP, Mohammed Abacha, has not been associated with any faction.  His primary concern is the collective growth of the party.  The constant visible presence of Mohammed Abacha at every PDP event is a confirmation of the fact that he is a serious contender for the governorship ticket come 2011.

It is no wonder therefore, why he is taken seriously by PDP supporters.  There is increasing determination by the PDP to recapture power from the ruling ANPP in Kano State.  And surely Mohammed Abacha seems to be working on all cylinders in his ambition to become the next governor of Kano State, after Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau completes his eight-year tenure.

The youth constitute a significant segment of the Nigerian voting population and Mohammed Abacha enjoys tremendous support from this social group.  In fact, even his decision to join the governorship race came about because of mounting pressure of the youth that he must run because they perceive him as the symbol for change.  Old guard politicians are coming under increasing pressure to leave the stage for more vibrant younger politicians.  As the mood for change grows ever stronger, Mohammed’s supporters are feeling ever enthusiastic and sanguine that this is the historic chance for their aspirant to seize the moment.

Although former Governor Kwankwaso didn’t attend the PDP rally in Kano, the party seems determined to look beyond politics of personal loyalties.  Power doesn’t tolerate rivalry and Dr. Usman’s stature in the Kano State PDP chapter may have explained Kwankwaso’s conspicuous absence.  However, considering the urgent challenges facing the Kano State PDP, personalization of power is a bad omen, especially when the party must unite behind a popular aspirant.  The tendency of personalizing power creates alienation and consequently weakens a political party.  Former Governor Kwankwaso should return to the fold and forget the “me-or-never” politics.  His egotistic posture would ruin efforts towards unity and, if he truly loves the party he must be seen to be working for its common progress.

Getso wrote from Block 27, Old Karu, Abuja

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