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Kano Speaker’s arrest: Can EFCC change APC’s political arithmetic?

Political pundits believe that the arrest is part of the ongoing struggle by “oga at the top” to force Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso back into…

Political pundits believe that the arrest is part of the ongoing struggle by “oga at the top” to force Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso back into the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after defecting to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).
To some of these pundits, the EFCC is the only government agency that can be used to make the ‘rebel’ governors fall in line and support the purported 2015 re-election bid of the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan which has torn the ruling party apart.
Kano’s politics is usually characterised by intrigues. This is the basis of a popular saying in the ancient city which suggests that Kano’s politics can only be safely played by the Kanawa (Kano indigenes). Political observers usually describe the state’s politics with a phrase; siyasar Kano sai dan Kano, which means Kano politics in only for the indigenes.
Despite this notion that the governor is the target of EFCC’s assault in the Kano Assembly drama, Kwankwaso has remained deviant, vowing to fight the arrest and its accompanying intrigues with the last drop of his blood.
“The arrest of the speaker and other officials was pure politics. We would continue to pray to Allah to deal with all the people that are trying to hinder our development. We would pray while we would continue to fight for our rights.
“We have decided to leave the PDP because of the injustice that is taking place in the party. There is also the issue of poor leadership. Therefore, the officers of the State House of Assembly were arrested because of their decision to join our new party, the APC, and nothing more. I know they are innocent because they have not done anything that is against the law,” Kwankwaso said while reacting to the arrest.
During the presentation of the 2014 Appropriation Bill, the governor added that “some people acting on orders from the above abducted the House’s principal officers with impunity. Representatives of Kano cannot be intimidated. The action is capable of igniting crisis and disrupting the relative peace being enjoyed in the state. I urge you to see this intimidation as sacrifice to the state.
“Your release vindicates our stance. We would work hard to see that the enemy of our state is put to shame.” The remarks of the governor further excited people within the Kano Assembly complex and changed political atmosphere.
While the supporters of the ruling PDP backed the action of the EFCC, saying that the Kano lawmakers breached the known processes of budget amendment, the supporters of Kwankwaso’s Kwankwasiyya movement said the EFCC was only trying to intimidate them because of their defection to the opposition.
The invitation of the Kano speaker, Gambo Sallau, and other principal officers of the House by the EFCC was said to have been informed by the passage of an executive budget amendment bill of about N28 billion in one day.
Opponents of Kano’s Kwankwasiyya movement even went ahead to say that the N28 billion had been expended long before the amendment bill was sent to the House, a reason adduced as justification for EFCC’s investigation. This opinion was openly expressed during local political programmes aired by many local radio stations in Kano.
On the other hand, supporters of Kwankwaso maintained that the budget amendment bill was sent to the House because of Kwankwaso’s belief in the running of a prudent administration.
Many supporters of the governor boasted that the EFCC would have nothing to prove against the lawmakers since the present administration of Kwankwaso was a transparent one. Therefore, according to the Kwankwasiyya supporters, the EFCC would be left with no option than to release the arrested legislators.
However, pundits say the development that followed the exchange of words between supporters and opponents of Kwankwaso over the EFCC’s operation in the Kano State House of Assembly seem to have favoured the Kwankwasiyya supporters.
Almost 24 hours after the hot exchange that followed the arrest of the speaker and other officers, EFCC granted them what the commission called “administrative bail.”
As the news filtered into the ancient city, the Kwankwasiyya camp went agog with jubilation. The camp felt that its position was vindicated. The aura of “nobody can intimidate us” filled the air. The chant of Kwankwasiyya’s song of praises became palpable all over the city. The feeling of “we are heirs of Mallam Aminu Kano’s politics” became a tool of expressing pride. In order to prove that Kwankwasiyya would continue to be deviant of any attempt to bring it back into the PDP fold, Governor Kwankwaso was reported to have led a strong team to MAKIA to receive the lawmakers that were guests of the EFCC.
Immediately after the airport reception, the large crowd moved to the State House of Assembly where the released lawmakers joined their colleagues. Without wasting any time, the governor began the presentation of the 2014 budget.
According to pundits, the presentation of appropriation bill in the night is, perhaps, the first time in Kano since the return of the present democratic dispensation. Observers said that Kwankwaso and members of his movement decided to present the budget at all cost on December 24, 2013 because of two reasons.
First, the presentation was planned for that day even before the arrest. As the EFCC stormed the State House of Assembly and whisked away the key officers, Kwankwaso alleged that the arrest was part of the grand plot to stop the budget presentation.
Second, Kwankwaso presented the budget in the night because he wanted to prove that no power can intimidate him to stop doing what he believed in. In what pundits described as an obvious attempt to strengthen the stance of the Kwankwasiyya over the EFCC arrest, the Speaker, Gambo Sallau, said the commission granted them bail without any condition.
Although the EFCC’s authorities said that the Kano lawmakers were only invited to answer some questions relating to a petition submitted to the commission, it was reported that heavily armed EFCC officials trailed the legislators to the Assembly complex and took them to their office in Kano, and subsequently to Abuja.
It is on this basis that pundits are keeping their fingers crossed and curiously observing the unfolding political development in Kano to see how far the EFCC can go in bringing a change to a political empire that “can only be safely played by indigenes.”

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