Kano governorship election is drawing attention once more partly because the incumbent Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and his immediate predecessor, Dr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso will lock horns again on Saturday.
Ganduje contested against Kwankwaso’s anointed Abba Kabir Yusuf then in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2019 to seek reelection. This time, the incumbent governor is backing his deputy and All Progressives Congress governorship candidate in Kano, Dr Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna against Kwankwaso’s Yusuf, the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) candidate.
Kwankwaso and Ganduje are kingmakers in their own right. And although 14 political parties will be contesting in the election, all eyes are on the APC and NNPP candidates.
Kano has 44 local government areas, 484 wards and 11,222 polling units. The state has about 5,792,848 registered voters, but only 1,769,525 were accredited during the presidential election, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In the presidential election, Kwankwaso, who was NNPP candidate, won in the state with 997,279 votes to defeat Bola Ahmed Tinubu of APC, who polled 517,341 votes. Ganduje supported and campaigned for Tinubu in Kano.
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But analysts have said the March 18 election in the state might be different, identifying personalities, INEC, security operatives, rural and urban dichotomy, money, security operatives, the clergy and business community as some of the factors that will shape the governorship election.
According to a renowned political scientist, Professor Kamilu Sani, Fage of Bayero University, Kano, personalities have always shaped elections in Kano State for one reason or the other.
Kwankwaso is one of the personalities expected to shape the outcome of the election. The leader of the Kwankwasiyya won in state during the 2023 presidential election by polling almost one million votes to beat his close challenger, Tinubu, to a distant second.
“Former Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso appeals to youths and youths constitute over 70% of the voting population. This in one way or the other may shape the outcome of the election,” Fagge said.
Ganduje is another personality in the state that may shape the outcome of the governorship election. He is the current governor of the state, who is at the tail end of his second tenure in office.
In 2019, Ganduje defeated Yusuf in a keenly contested election that ended up in a rerun.
“Ganduje is the current governor of Kano. He has his own supporters. This, coupled with the power of the incumbency would play a major role during the election,” Fagge added.
Malam Ibrahim Shekarau is a former two-term governor of Kano State and the outgoing senator representing Kano Central.
A lot of people believe Shekarau to be Gawuna’s political godfather, as the APC governorship candidate served twice as local government chairman under the Shekarau administration, a development that brought him to the limelight in Kano politics.
Fagge said, “Malam Ibrahim Shekarau’s political popularity is a little bit dented because he is no longer in power and has been moving from one political party to another, losing a significant number of his followers. Despite this, he is still relevant and has a role to play.”
For a long time, electioneering in Nigeria is tied to money. Vote buying is one of the weapons politicians used to ride to power.
Professor Fagge said “with the recent directive by the CBN allowing public use of old notes, money will play a role much more than (it did) in the presidential and National Assembly elections.”
According to him, money is one of the factors that would shape the outcome of the governorship election in Kano State.
Security operatives have a significant role to play during the elections as security of lives and property can shape the outcome of the election.
The state police command has warned “all thugs, mischief makers and miscreants to steer clear of the state as the command will not relent in its effort at dealing decisively with troublemakers.”
Accordingly, the police had arrested and charged the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, for his alleged role in the killing of several persons and burning of the NNPP secretariat during the just concluded polls.
It also detained a chieftain of the NNPP, Ali Madaki, who was announced as the winner of the House of Representatives election for Dala Federal Constituency over trending pictures of him moving around the town with a firearm.
A lecturer at Kano College of Education and Preliminary Studies, Idris Alhassan, said police readiness can shape the outcome of the elections.
INEC has vowed to use BVAS during the March 18 governorship election across the federation, promising to avoid the glitches experienced during the presidential elections.
But Alhassan said the commission’s readiness to deploy and bring election materials to the various polling units as and when due would play a significant role.
He said during the presidential election, many people were disenfranchised because voting could not commence on time and ended while many people were in the queue.
Clergy, business community
A senior lecturer at Kano College of Education and Preliminary Studies, Dr. Kabiru Sufi, said the clergy and business community can also shape the outcome of the election in some ways.
“The clergy and business community have their own interests and political leanings of where they would be favored. The clergy (religious leaders) have their own followers just as members of business communities. They have households and members attached to their interests and leanings,” Sufi said.
Rural, Urban Dichotomy
Dr Sufi added that the dichotomy between the urban and rural communities can shape the outcome of the election, saying each has its own sensibility and is capable of forming a power bloc.
He said, “The major concern of the rural people may be different from that of the urban people. Each one of them can form a power bloc of its own. The voting pattern of the rural people may be different from those of the urban areas.”
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