The formal reception ushering Malam Ibrahim Shekarau into the All Progressives Congress (APC) has no doubt, set a new tone for a tense political rivalry with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Kano State.
Muideen Olaniyi & Yushau A Ibrahim, Kano
Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, a former governor of Kano State, was received last Sunday at a grand rally to welcome PDP decampees and some members of the Kwakwasiyya Movement at the Sani Abacha Stadium.
The rally was attended by the APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the party’s National Vice Chairman, North west, Barr. Inuwa Abdulkadir, Governor Mohammed Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State, Senators Kabiru Gaya, Bara Jibrin, and Rep Alhassan Ado Doguwa among others.
The Sardaunan Kano left the APC in 2014 shortly after former governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso joined the party over what pundits see as irreconcilable differences between the two political bigwigs.
With the return of Kwankwaso to the PDP, the APC wooed Shekarau after what analysts see as the PDP’s arrangement that practically handed over the party structure to the founder of the Kwankwasiyya Movement.
Governor Abdullahi Ganduje while speaking at the occasion on the reasons for embracing the former governor, said:
“The politicians that have the record of transforming Kano State and politicians with who we share same beliefs are being convinced to come into our fold and join the APC. That is why we thank Allah (SWT) for bringing into our fold a man who is highly respected, a man who is the symbol of the ordinary people, a man I have to convince the chairman of our party to come and beg in order to join the APC.
“Our chairman agreed, came to Kano, visited his house and begged him to join APC. And today, he has joined the APC and is even contesting Kano Central senatorial district election. Mr. chairman, we are presenting to you thousands of supporters of Malam Shekarau of different status, experience and standing who also left the PDP. I assure you, by now, I assure you, we have taken more than half of PDP in Kano State as more than half are with Malam who is now with in APC.”
In his remarks at the grand event, Shekarau said the APC would win all positions in 2019 in Kano State.
The former governor, who was applauded intermittently by his supporters, expressed total commitment and loyalty to the party.
He said, “Today is indeed a very great moment of history in my life. On behalf of all my supporters and well-wishers far and near who have joined us in moving into the APC from the PDP, today is a moment of great pleasure for us to be part and parcel of membership of the APC.
“As past speakers have said and as recognised by all, I have the great honour of being one of the midwives of the APC. History is today repeating itself. In 2014, we had reasons to step aside. Today, by the grace of Almighty God, we have greater reasons to step backwards into the APC.”
With the return of Kwankwaso to the PDP, the APC wooed Shekarau after what analysts see as the PDP’s arrangement that practically handed over the party structure to the founder of the Kwankwasiyya Movement
Though the rally set the tone for an impending rivalry between Ganduje and Kwankwaso’s in-law, Abba Kabiru Yusuf on one hand as well as the senatorial contest between Kwankwaso and Shekarau on the other hand, it was also used to campaign for President Muhammadu Buhari as the governor restated his commitment to deliver five million votes to the president in 2019.
Ganduje said, “Let us talk about Kano. APC is only party in Kano. We have the highest number of party members. Our effort is not only to win governorship, presidential, National Assembly and state House of Assembly elections, our intention is to provide the highest number of votes for the APC in Nigeria.
“If you remember, we promised Mr. President a minimum of five million votes. Kano is the home of the progressives. Our great leader, Malam Aminu Kano, was a progressive. Abubakar Rimi was a progressive….What do you expect from Kano apart from a progressive government, administration and voting? That is why we are all united to give Mr. President over five million votes from Kano State,” the governor said.
The APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, who equally used the rally to campaign for Buhari, said opportunists should never be allowed to govern Nigeria again.
Oshiomhole, who said the focus of President Buhari was to rebuild the whole country, advised Nigerians not to hand over Nigeria to those with the history of taking from the nation and not giving. He voiced optimism with the endorsement of President Buhari by 14.8 million APC members, adding that under Buhari as a re-elected president, Nigeria would witness sustainable growth.
“We haven’t fixed all the problems and we did not promise to fix them over night. What they could not do in 16 years cannot possibly be fixed in three and half years.
“But I believe that we have shown the most important quality that we need in a leader which is to have a man of honor, a man of integrity and a man you can trust and that man is President Muhammadu Buhari. Whether in America or in Britain, they appreciate him, other African heads of state appreciate him and at home, we the ordinary people appreciate him. But those who made money without work don’t like him and as long as they are concerned, he should not stay one day longer.
“I want to appeal to our opponents in the PDP to stop crying even before the elections take place. When they win, everything is perfect, but when they lose, nothing is right. I see them writing letters to the United Nations.
“Nigerians will not forget and if they do, we will remind them that it was the PDP under President Olusegun Obasanjo that introduced do or die politics. If you remember, he said the 2007 election was a do or die for him.
“Fortunately, we did not die and he is still alive. He will be alive to see a country that grows from strength to strength and not deterred by the bitterness of the past. But his dream to rule by proxy will never succeed.
“Nigerians can never go back, we must move on and under President Buhari, we will achieve sustainable growth and development t for the good of the ordinary Nigerian.”
The rally was graced by party members and supporters from the 44 local government areas of Kano State who carried placards, banners and APC flags to show support for President Buhari, Governor Ganduje, Shekarau and other party leaders.
The presence of camel and horse riders added beauty and entertainment to the colourful rally that prepared ground for 2019 election campaigns in the state known as the Centre of Commerce.