The battle for who controls the political sphere in Kano State between Governor Abudulahi Ganduje and his erstwhile political godfather, Rabiu Kwankwaso is getting intense.
Although the two principal actors have restrained from making public comments against each other, happenings in the state suggest that Governor Ganduje and Kwankwaso are still at each other’s throats politically.
The governor swung into action recently by ensuring that Kwankwaso’s loyalists do not occupy sensitive or strategic positions in the state.
The recent disengagement and reposting of Kwankwaso’s confidants in the government came despite claims by the two political gladiators that all is well between them after the Northern Governors’ Forum’s claim that they had successfully settled the rift between both men.
The first indication that the fracas between the two is far from over was the sack of former Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. Rabi’u Sulaiman Bichi, and the redeployment of the Director, Media and Communication to the governor, Alhaji Baba Halilu Dantiye.
Both men were appointed by Kwankwaso and retained by Ganduje after he assumed office on May 29, 2015.
It would be recalled that Ganduje, in his inaugural speech on May 29, last year, stated that his administration would be a continuation of the Kwankwaso-led government as well as that of former Governor Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau.
Also, in December, 2015, the incumbent told a gathering at the Annual General Meeting of the Broadcasting Media, held at Africa House, inside the Kano State Government House, that he begged his former boss, Kwankwaso, to allow him retain Bichi and Dantiye in his government so as to help him succeed.
Even after resumption of office, Ganduje despite inheriting a debt of almost N320 billion Naira left by Kwankwaso`s administration did not blink an eye lid, but assured it would be cleared before he left office.
He also went on to assure that his administration would complete all projects abandoned by former Governor Ibrahim Shekarau.
Ganduje, who was at that time trying to give insight into the kind of relationship that existed between him and Kwankwaso, said retaining some political appointees of Kwankwaso was a clear testimony that their relationship was cordial and unbreakable.
At the time of the sacking of the former SSG, many believed it was purely political and part of a larger agenda.
However, Ganduje stated that the sack of Bichi and redeployment of some political appointees was aimed at restructuring his government, explaining that the move was part of fine tuning his administration.
According to him, such cabinet shake-ups strengthen the government for effective service delivery to the state and its people.
Another political development that also attracted attention in the state was a recent move to impeach the Chairman of Gaya Local Government Area, Alhaji Lawal Sale Gaya.
Ripples Nigeria gathered that the move was halted by a court injunction, secured by the embattled chairman, which restrained the councillors from accomplishing their mission.
Before the recent development, some loyalists of Kwankwaso were stripped of their positions in state House of Assembly. They include member representing Madobi Local Government, Zubairu Mahmud and member from Bichi Hamza, Sulaiman Bichi, Gwarzo Rabiu Saleh and member representing Gezawa Isyaku Ali Danja for alleged refusal to register their allegiance to Ganduje for dropping the ‘red cap’ which became a popular sign of allegiance to Kwankwaso in Kano state.
Those affected include the APC women leader in the state, Hajiya Habiba Garba Yandalla, APC women leader in Sumaila Local Government Area, Hajiya Rabi Nasiru Sumaila and the APC vice chairman, assistant secretary, treasurer and assistant women leader in Rano Local Government, Alhaji Nuhu Doka, Alhaji Muhammad Chanji, Alhaji Sanusi Lifur and Hajiya Uwa Bature.
Others were APC chairmen in Nassarawa, Gwarzo, Dambatta, Madobi, Tarauni and Gwale local government areas, Alhaji Umar Musa Gama, Alhaji Rabi’u Sarkin Fulani, Alhaji Jamilu Abubakar Dambatta, Alhaji Muhammad Namadi Gora, Alhaji Muhammad Idris Hotoro and Alhaji Faruk Gwadabe Maitasa.
It was further alleged that the Chief Whip of the Kano State House of Assembly, Mamuda Zubairu Madobi, and Speaker, Rogo Local Government Area, were both sacked to get at Kwankwaso.
Others were APC secretary in Sumaila Local Government, Alhaji Nasiru Mato Sumaila, Special Adviser, Women Affairs in Fagge Local Government Area, Hajiya A’in Jafaru APC secretary in Rano central ward, Yakubu Muhammad, APC secretary in Rurum Tsohon-Gari ward, Alhaji Musa Riro and APC secretary in Rano Dawaki ward, Alhaji Sani Maigida.
However, some political analysts are of the opinion that recent happenings predate the immediate misunderstanding between Ganduje and Kwankwaso.
Some cited the crisis between the former education minister, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, and Kwankwaso, soon after the formation of the All Progressives Congress (APC). In the fallout of that crisis, Shekarua, though claiming to be a pioneer member of the APC in the state left with his supporters for the PDP.
When the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) were merged to form the APC, Shekarau, as the leader of the ANPP in Kano, and Kwankwaso, who was the governor, battled over leadership of the now new APC in Kano.
As the crisis persisted, Shekarau sought clarification from the APC national body, and the party clearly stated that a governor in an APC state is the leader of the party in that state.
The issue was settled at the time but when Shekarau found it difficult to cope with the arrangement, he defected to the PDP and automatically became the leader of the party in Kano.
That development led to his emergence as a minister of education under ex-President Goodluck Jonathan`s administration.
Based on this argument, some analysts argue that if Kwankwaso served as leader of the party while he was governor in the state, Ganduje should not be denied the same opportunity.
They insist that it was such leadership crisis that caused Ganduje to sack Kwankwaso’s loyalists and chase out those who seemingly refused to shift allegiance to Ganduje. An action they claimed was carried out by the governor to assert his authority and stem the dilemma of dual loyalty.
As the fight continues, though both men continue to keep sealed lips over their silent battle for the soul of the state, analysts are keeping keen watch over the situation to see the next move, and who blinks first, especially given that the next elections are approaching.
By Abubakar Haruna Galadanchi …
RipplesNigeria …without borders, without fears
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