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Kano: Tinubu’s reconciliation moves falter as Gov Yusuf, Ganduje renew feud

Both Ganduje and Governor Yusuf, a political protege of Kwankwaso, renewed the exchange of political salvos lately following the inauguration of two judicial commissions of…

Both Ganduje and Governor Yusuf, a political protege of Kwankwaso, renewed the exchange of political salvos lately following the inauguration of two judicial commissions of inquiry into cases of misappropriation of public property, political violence and missing persons from 2015 to 2023, a period Ganduje held sway as governor of one of Nigeria’s most important political states.

Governor Yusuf had said investigating misappropriation of public property was part of his inaugural pledge to the people of Kano State, just as unravelling and prosecuting those behind cases of political violence recorded in the state in 2015, 2019 and 2023 election circles was expedient to restore sanity to the polity.

The state government backed this up by instituting a legal suit at the state high court against Ganduje, his wife Hafsat, his son Umar Abdullahi Umar, and five others over allegations bordering on misappropriation and diversion of funds, as well as bribery.

The war of attrition that has followed since then, according to those with knowledge of happenings in both camps, was evidence to all who didn’t know before that the reconciliation process started by President Tinubu had collapsed.

Ganduje had swiftly reacted to both the inauguration of the judicial commission of inquiry and the charge filed against him before the state high court, saying both were diversionary tactics to cover up the alleged failures of his successor.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Edwin Olofu, Ganduje said the latest attempt by the governor to drag his name in the mud will fail, citing a recent pronouncement of the Federal High Court as prohibiting the state government from instituting a charge against him over the alleged bribery video that has been trending since 2018.

Without taking any prisoners, Governor Yusuf fired back through his spokesman, Sanusi Bature Dawakin Tofa, that Ganduje was without shame to speak on failure, insisting that the APC National Chairman’s eight-year rule over the state represented failure and maladministration because it was allegedly tainted by corruption, diversion of public funds, and the sale of government properties.

Recall that after Governor Yusuf was reinstated by the Supreme Court on January 12 after the Court of Appeal and the election petition tribunal had voided his election, on January 25, Ganduje visited Kano for the first time since leaving office. During the visit, he addressed an enlarged APC stakeholders meeting where he invited the national leader of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), Rabiu Kwankwaso, and Governor Yusuf to join the APC.

The meeting, reliable sources said, was at the instance of President Bola Tinubu, who was pushing for reconciliation with Kwankwaso ahead of his expected second term bid in 2027.

However, since that meeting in Kano, which received backlash from NNPP supporters as a result of Ganduje’s choice of words for the invitation, much has not been heard about the process, with sources informing that nothing concrete has been achieved.

Speaking with Daily Trust Saturday about the seemingly collapsed reconciliation process, Kano State NNPP chairman Hashimu Dungurawa said his position has been vindicated. He recalled that he had accused Ganduje of insincerity in the whole reconciliation move, and as such, nothing could have been accomplished with it.

“He announced reconciliation on the radio instead of coming to our homes to speak to us. I told you he is our number one political enemy and will go to any extent to sabotage Kwankwaso. Human beings are dynamic; otherwise, Ganduje, who was deputy to Kwankwaso between 1999 and 2003 and between 2011 and 2015, should have remained our political ally,” Dungurawa said.

But an ally of Ganduje and an APC chieftain in the state, Musa Ilyasu Kwankwaso, said the latest probe panel raised by Governor Yusuf was a grand plot to hijack the APC in the state.

Kwankwaso, who was Commissioner for Rural and Community Development under the Ganduje administration, said the probe was purely political and could as well be seen as throwing a spanner into the reconciliation process instigated by President Tinubu.

“We all know that Engineer Kwankwaso and Governor Yusuf have plans to defect to the APC. The APC’s door is wide open for them to join the winning party. But they should shelve all these negative moves and the desperation to tarnish the image and reputation of Dr. Ganduje. If they wish to decamp to the APC, they are welcome on board,” he said.

On his part, the secretary of the APC in Kano State, Zakari Sarina, believes that the reconciliation between Governor Yusuf and Ganduje may have failed “because the governor is not fully in charge of the government.”

According to him, “Kwankwaso is the one running the show. We were not part of the discussion in Abuja, and neither was Kwankwaso. And two people are running the state; perhaps that is why the reconciliation is failing. In fact, the way things are going tends to favour us.”

Commenting on the development, a lecturer at the Department of Political Science, Bayero University Kano, Dr Saidu Ahmad Dukawa, said it was ideal for any government to call a previous administration to account for its deeds, and where there are acts of deliberate commission or omission, appropriate legal action should be applied.

He was, however, quick to observe that the situation in Nigeria is far from ideal.

“Nasty politics has taken over rational action. Vindictiveness seems to be the leading motive. Besides, there are accusations going around that the Governor Yusuf administration is already deeply involved in most of the wrongdoing of the Ganduje administration,” Dukawa said.

According to him, in the long run, time will be wasted on accusation and counter-accusation. He said the attention of the government and that of the people will be diverted from the pressing needs of the time.

Dukawa predicted that one of two things will happen: “Either some powerful interests will intervene and the warring sides will be reconciled, or another form of corruption will creep in and stall any legal process.”

He advised the governor to concentrate on delivering good governance and prove to be remarkably different from Ganduje to seal his political fate, which is far better than the constant exchange of salvos between the two leaders.

On his part, pro-democracy activist Abdulrazaq Alkali said there is no need for people outside Kano to reconcile the duo because there are allegations of corruption or mismanagement of funds belonging to people of Kano State.

For Adamu Aminu Fagge, a public affairs commentator in the state, it was disheartening to see the two political titans exchanging salvos riddled with demeaning words.

Fagge said the verbal war is taking a toll on governance in Kano State at a time when governors in the southern part of the country like Lagos are setting aside political differences and engaging in the execution of developmental projects for their people, but Kano, which he described as a state where politics take the centre stage in all activities, is dragging its feet on the fulfilment of electoral promises.

Stakeholders and observers of the development in the state said it was now left to see whether President Tinubu would reign in on the situation and take full charge of the reconciliation process, knowing how his re-election bid may be made or marred by how he is able to position himself to harvest not only Kano votes but neighbouring states that are influenced by Kano politics.

 

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