Faces eye­ing Kwankwaso’s seat

Daily Trust - - INSIDE POLITICS - From Ismail Mu­dashir, Kano

Politi­cians jostling to take over Africa House, the Kano seat of power, from En­gi­neer Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso whose ten­ure ex­pires May 29, 2015, have in­ten­si­fied ef­forts.

Kwankwaso who was first elected gover­nor of Kano state in 1999 was de­feated in 2003 by Mal­lam Ibrahim Sheka­rau. He staged a come­back in 2011 when he de­feated the can­di­date of the de­funct All Nigeria Peo­ples Party (ANPP), Mal­lam Sa­gir Takai spon­sored by Sheka­rau.

With the sec­ond ten­ure of Kwankwaso, who hails from Madobi lo­cal govern­ment area of the state ex­pir­ing May 29, next year, no fewer than 15 as­pi­rants cut­ting across the two ma­jor po­lit­i­cal par­ties in the state have shown in­ter­est in step­ping into Kwankwaso’s shoes.

Be­fore the de­fec­tion of Gover­nor Kwankwaso from the Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP) to the All Pro­gres­sive Congress (APC), APC had the high­est num­ber of as­pi­rants with about 5 per­sons schem­ing for the cov­eted job.

Kwankwaso’s de­fec­tion has fur­ther swelled the num­ber of as­pi­rants in the party with all the con­tenders in his Kwankwasiya move­ment play­ing hide-and­seek in or­der not to step on the gover­nor’s toes, who years back, cut one of his loy­al­ists to size for show­ing in­ter­est in the job.

The abol­ish­ment of the of­fice of the Chief of Staff oc­cu­pied by the once pow­er­ful aide of Gover­nor Kwankwaso, Al­haji Yunusa Adamu Dang­wani taught his aides nurs­ing the am­bi­tion of suc­ceed­ing him a les­son.

At the be­gin­ning of Kwankwaso’s ad­min­is­tra­tion, Dang­wani was so pow­er­ful in Kano as all memos in the state passed through him. As events around Dang­wani sug­gested that he was nurs­ing an am­bi­tion to suc­ceed Kwankwaso, he was re­de­ployed to the min­istry of wa­ter re­sources.

It was against this back­drop that as­pi­rants in the gover­nor’s camp are hid­ing their as­pi­ra­tions but the body lan­guages of three of the gover­nor’s aides have shown that they are in­ter­ested in suc­ceed­ing their boss.

Since his re­turn in 2011, Kwankwaso has been in­dif­fer­ent when­ever the is­sue of who suc­ceeds him comes up. But his state­ment dur­ing a re­cent func­tion in Kano has given up­per-hand to those of the Kwankwasiya move­ment when he was pub­licly quoted as say­ing “the per­son that will take over from me will be a red cap per­son.” Red cap is the sym­bol of the gover­nor’s move­ment.

In PDP, be­fore the de­fec­tion of Mo­hammed Abacha and later Sheka­rau to the party, it was Ak­ilu Sani Ind­abawa, Ghali Umar Na’aba among oth­ers that were be­ing ru­moured to be nurs­ing the gov­er­nor­ship am­bi­tion.

Sa­gir Takai and Mustapha Di­rec­tor have since joined in the race to get the PDP gov­er­nor­ship ticket in Kano state.

Un­con­firmed re­ports have it that one of the con­di­tions given by Sheka­rau be­fore his de­fec­tion to PDP was that Takai, his po­lit­i­cal god­son, would be given the party’s ticket come 2015.

In 2011, Sheka­rau re­port­edly forced Takai on the mem­bers of the de­funct ANPP, a de­vel­op­ment that neg­a­tively af­fected the elec­toral for­tunes of the party at the polls.

With the dy­namism of Kano pol­i­tics, it is ex­pected that the po­lit­i­cal cal­cu­la­tions of Kano may change few months to the elec­tions.

Dr. Ab­dul­lahi Umar Gan­duje

Gan­duje, is the deputy gover­nor of Kano State and he has been with the gover­nor since 1999. In fact, if loy­alty could have earned an as­pi­rant a ticket, he will get it be­cause his faith­ful­ness to Kwankwaso is said to be 100 per­cent.

When Kwankwaso was leav­ing PDP, with­out a sec­ond thought, Gan­duje fol­lowed him to the party and he has been play­ing key role in strength­en­ing the party in the state.

In 2003, when Mal­lam Sheka­rau de­feated Kwankwaso and Pres­i­dent Oluse­gun Obasanjo made Kwankwaso min­is­ter of de­fence, he ap­pointed Gan­duje as his Spe­cial Ad­viser in ap­pre­ci­a­tion of his loy­alty.

Al­though he has not come out pub­licly to an­nounce his in­ten­tion to step into his boss’ shoes, feel­ers have shown that he is all out for the job. Sources said the deputy gover­nor who is car­ry­ing out his cam­paign un­der­ground has al­ready taken it to 35 out of 44 lo­cal govern­ment ar­eas of the state.

The state­ment of Kwankwaso shortly af­ter the 2011 elec­tions has how­ever punc­tured Gan­duje’s chances. Shortly af­ter the elec­tion, Kwankwaso said youth should be given the op­por­tu­nity to gov­ern the state in 2015. Gan­duje was born in 1949 and is 65 this year.

How­ever, leader of a group pro­mot­ing the can­di­da­ture of the Deputy Gover­nor Al­haji Ab­dul­ma­jid Dan­bi­liki Kwa­manda who is a die-hard loy­al­ist of Gen­eral Muhammedu Buhari in Kano State said age is not a bar­rier to good gov­er­nance. Kwa­manda who has been go­ing round the state to pro­mote the can­di­da­ture of the deputy gover­nor, said Gan­duje is the only can­di­date that can con­tinue with the nu­mer­ous works started by Kwankwaso.

Al­haji Abba Kabir Yusuf

Yusuf is the in-law of Gover­nor Kwankwaso and is the com­mis­sioner of works. Like Gan­duje, he has not de­clared his in­ten­tion to con­test for his in-law’s seat but events around him have shown that he is nurs­ing the am­bi­tion.

In some quar­ters, he is be­ing con­sid­ered as the likely can­di­date of the gover­nor. When Kwankwaso re­turned to power in 2011, he ap­pointed Yusuf as his per­sonal as­sis­tant, a po­si­tion he was

oc­cu­py­ing un­til he was el­e­vated to the present juicy po­si­tion. Some multi bil­lion naira projects be­ing ex­e­cuted across the state are over­seen by Yusuf, which many say, has em­pow­ered him to con­test for the job.

Al­haji Rabiu Suleiman Bichi

Bichi is the present Sec­re­tary to the Kano State Govern­ment and is an­other per­son said to be nurs­ing the am­bi­tion. His of­fice is play­ing a vi­tal role in the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Kwankwaso.

Af­ter the abo­li­tion of the Chief of Staff of­fice in the state, sched­ules of the of­fice were trans­ferred to the SSG’s of­fice. By virtue of his of­fice, Bichi has wielded enor­mous po­lit­i­cal power which would be of tremen­dous ad­van­tage to him in 2015 if he de­cides to con­test.

Lawal Ja­far Isa

Gen­eral Isa was mil­i­tary ad­min­is­tra­tor of Kaduna state dur­ing late Gen­eral Sani Abacha’s regime. Dur­ing his ad­min­is­tra­tion in Kaduna, many chief­doms were cre­ated in the south­ern part of the state and he per­formed cred­itably well in the main­te­nance of law and or­der.

His out­stand­ing per­for­mance led to his pro­mo­tion from the rank of Colonel to Bri­gadier Gen­eral. He was re­tired shortly af­ter his pro­mo­tion and since then he has re­turned to Kano, his home state.

In 2011, he con­tested the gov­er­nor­ship po­si­tion un­der the de­funct Congress for Pro­gres­sive Change (CPC). The clash be­tween him and Mo­ham­mad Abacha over the ticket dwarfed his chances of win­ning the poll as it lasted till few weeks to the elec­tion. The de­vel­op­ment con­fused elec­torates as to who was the orig­i­nal can­di­date of the CPC then.

Gen­eral Isa as he is fondly called in Kano is set to con­test on the APC plat­form. Al­ready, his posters adorn strate­gic lo­ca­tions in the state. He en­joys a very cor­dial re­la­tion­ship with Gen­eral Buhari but his chances may be en­veloped by those in the Kwankwasiya move­ment.

Kabiru Ibrahim Gaya

Gaya is an­other APC gov­er­nor­ship as­pi­rant in Kano state. He is at the mo­ment the Se­na­tor rep­re­sent­ing Kano South Se­na­to­rial District at the Se­nate. He once gov­erned the state on the plat­form of the de­funct Na­tional Repub­li­can Con­ven­tion (NRC). Gaya, who is the chair­man of Se­nate com­mit­tee on state and lo­cal govern­ment ad­min­is­tra­tion, was the youngest gover­nor in the coun­try dur­ing the botched 3rd Repub­lic.

When the 3rd Repub­lic was trun­cated in 1993, he re­turned to his ar­chi­tec­tural firm only to resur­face on the po­lit­i­cal scene in 2007 when he con­tested and won Kano South Se­na­to­rial seat un­der the ANPP. He has been in the Se­nate since then but is now schem­ing to re­turn to the po­si­tion he left 20 years ago.

“Gaya is a se­na­tor that does not know bounds. He has been touch­ing the lives of people out­side his con­stituency pos­i­tively. He has an­swered the calls of the people to con­test for the gov­er­nor­ship seat come 2015,” Gaya’s me­dia aide, Prince Idris Afeg­bua said.

Ab­dul­rhaman Kawu Su­maila

He is a serv­ing mem­ber of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. Kawu who has been rep­re­sent­ing Su­maila\ Takai federal con­stituency of Kano state since 2003 has made his am­bi­tion to gov­ern the state pub­lic.

Kawu, a fire­brand politi­cian, re­cently faulted the re­port that he is vy­ing for the gov­er­nor­ship seat in or­der to main­tain his seat at the Na­tional As­sem­bly come 2015, say­ing his am­bi­tion to gov­ern the state is solidrock. He is play­ing a key role in APC in the state.

Ibrahim Khalil

Khalil, is an Is­lamic Scholar of high re­pute. He con­tested in 2011 and now he has been go­ing places try­ing to sell his can­di­da­ture.

Ibrahim Lit­tle

Lit­tle won the gov­er­nor­ship pri­mary of the de­funct ANPP in 2003 but the ticket was given to Mal­lam Sheka­rau.

Since then, Lt­tile, a busi­ness man turned politi­cian has been nurs­ing the am­bi­tion to gov­ern the state.

Mo­hammed Abacha

Abacha, is the son of late Head of State, Gen­eral Sani Abacha. He de­fected to PDP at the twi­light of Dr. Ba­manga Tukur’s era as na­tional chair­man of the party.

He con­tested for the gov­er­nor­ship seat in 2011 un­der the de­funct CPC. He slugged it out with Gen­eral Isa un­til days to the elec­tion. He is said to pos­sess a strong fi­nan­cial base to wres­tle power from the APC which is the rul­ing party in the state.

Sa­gir Takai

Takai was com­mis­sioner un­der Sheka­rau’s ad­min­is­tra­tion. He was the per­son sup­ported by Sheka­rau at the ex­pi­ra­tion of his ten­ure in 2011.

De­spite the power of in­cum­bency, Takai, who is Sheka­rau’s can­di­date was de­feated by Kwankwaso in 2011. He is now in PDP.

Aside these as­pi­rants, there are other per­sons work­ing to suc­ceed Kwankwaso. Nas­rul Gawuna and Ibrahim Kankarofi are be­lieved to be in­ter­ested in the seat.


Rep Ab­du­rah­man Kawu Su­maila

Sen Kabiru Gaya

Al­haji Mo­hammed Abacha

Dr. Ab­dul­lahi Umar Gan­duje

Al­haji Abba Kabir Yusuf

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