Kwankwaso, Shekarau in fresh political theatrics in Kano

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At a time when most analysts concluded that two former governors of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, must have resolved their political differences, the two have proved that they are strange bedfellows that cannot stand on the same platform. In 2014, Kwankwaso’s defection from Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the then fledgling All Progressives Congress (APC) led to the bitter movement of his predecessor, Shekarau, to PDP.

Then Shekarau was bitter that the party he was helping to incubate should suddenly ask him to relinquish control of its essential structure to an interloper. He reluctantly relocated to PDP, even though he has always been associated with progressive politics all along.

However, three years down the line, the music changed, Kwankwaso found APC politics too hot and decided to return to his former base, PDP, where he had more contemporaries and political soul mates. In doing so, PDP showed preference to the Senator to the utter dismay of Shekarau, who has maintained his Spartan political lifestyle.

Shekarau did not see reason for the party’s bias towards Kwankwaso, after he had stayed out the trying period of PDP’s crisis.Therefore, the decision of the former Minister of Education under PDP administration, Shekarau, to change platform weeks after he was seen with Kwankwaso smiling before photojournalists, did not come as a surprise to those conversant with Kano politics.

The development must have been prompted by the take-over of the Kano State chapter of PDP by the former Secretary to Kano State Government, Alhaji Rabiu Sulaiman Bichi, who is a close ally of Kwankwaso via a power sharing arrangement that ceded 51 per cent of the party structure in the state to the immediate past governor.

Shekarau has been protesting the unfair parity on the grounds that even of Kwankwaso and his loyal legislators are holding elective offices, that does not entitle them to the disruption of existing party executive structure or a Lion share for that matter.

Perhaps, sensing that PDP could behave the way it did, Shekarau had been hobnobbing with the incumbent Kano governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, to the extent that he was asked by Ganduje to nominate a replacement of the deputy governor, Hafiz Abubakar, who quit the post recently.

With the insistence of PDP leadership to maintain the 51-49 percent sharing formular, Shekarau, who was billed to purchase his expression of interest and nomination forms from the PDP headquarters yesterday, was left with no option than to retreat and replace Kwankwaso in APC.

As things stand, he might be tempted to vie for the Kano Senatorial seat presently occupied by Kwankwaso, who is contesting the presidency on the PDP platform. Now that Shekarau is moving to APC, where President Muhammadu Buhari has declared his intention to seek a second term, if he drops his presidential ambition and seeks the Kano central Senatorial seat, the possibility is high that he could clash with Kwankwaso, should the incumbent Senator miss the PDP presidential opportunity. 

Confirming Shekarau’s defection plans, his media aide, Sule Yau Sule, however claimed that supporters would determine the ambition of his boss, stressing: “It is true that Mallam Shekarau has decided to leave PDP. But, I must state that the move is not yet official. We are going to make the decision known officially and to the world very soon, the reason why we are leaving the PDP.”

For those who know the history and antecedents of Shekarau’s and Senator Kwankwaso’s political rivalry need not be reminded the duo may never see eye to eye under same political platform. 

The rivalry between Shekarau and Kwankwaso dates back to the 2003 poll when he surprised all by stopping Kwankwaso from his second term chase.That was after Kwankwaso had demoted Shekarau in the civil service, after learning that the common classroom teacher was scheming for his job.

Efforts by Kwankwaso, who was subsequently appointed defense Minister to have his stooge, Ahmed Bichi reclaim the governorship seat from Shekarau in the 2007 met a brick wall as he won with a narrow margin of votes. Stung by that defeat, Kwankwaso had to withdraw from the gubernatorial race after a probe panel set up by the Shekarau-led administration indicted him.

In the 2011 poll, Kwankwaso whose indictment was eventually nullified by the court decided to his pound of flesh, as he roundly defeated Salihu Sagir Takai, who was the preferred candidate of Shekarau.

On assumption of office on his second tenure, Kwankwaso abandoned all capital projects, including the multi-billion naira Ginginyu and Zoo road hospital, all inherited from Shekarau’s administration. It was gathered that Kwankwaso denied Shekarau all entitlements.

Incidentally, Kwankwaso was instrumental to the forceful exit of Shekarau from APC in 2014, although Shekarau was part of the founding fathers of the party.
On July 25, it was reported that Kwankwaso might force out other power blocs in PDP Kano, because it evident then that the Senator must have been guaranteed the right to nominate 60 percent of the elective members of the party and authority to nominate the governorship candidate, as part of conditions for him to return to PDP.

Just last week, the Prince Uche Secondus-led NWC of PDP ordered the dissolution of Kano State executive and subsequently approved the appointment of Bichi as chairman of the caretaker committee. It became clear from Secondus’ action that Kwankwaso will never seat in a round-table negotiation with Shekarau, even when the former had visited the latter to warm towards him. 

While it is not official that Shekarau has returned to APC, The Guardian learnt that Governor Ganduje was not leaving any stone unturned to win the body and soul of Shekarau back to APC.A source within the ruling party said Ganduje has never missed any opportunity of woo Shekarau to APC, just as the moves were intensified when Kwankwaso returned to PDP. 

“It is still very fresh in memory how Kwankwaso frustrated Mallam from APC the party he jointly built to PDP. And if the same Kwankwaso returns to PDP what do you think Shekarau will do except to move on? I can confidently inform you that, APC is the next abode,” the source declared. It was gathered that Shekarau has already been promised the APC ticket for Kano Central senatorial district to run against Kwankwaso in next year’s poll.

It would be recalled that the remaining PDP factions led by former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali and Senator Bello Hayatu Gwarzo, who representing Kano South, have also kicked against the forceful take over of the party by Kwankwaso. 

What is not certain is whether the two PDP chieftains will equally consider moving to APC.  But, analysts are of the opinion that unless with the multiple support and solid groundwork, the Ganduje led APC may find it difficult to subdue the aggressive waves of Kwankwaso’s political train in 2019.How this cross defection of the strange bedfellows would influence campaigns for next year’s poll would be seen in the weeks ahead.

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