BY ABDULSALAM MUHAMMAD
GOVERNOR Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso made history on May 29 as the first civilian governor to reclaim power in Kano State after eight years out of office. Kwankwaso failed to win a second term in 2003, losing to Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau of the All Nigerian Peoples party (ANPP), who won re-election in 2007.
Kwankwaso was, however, lucky on his third attempt after quitting power. The political struggle and the fanfare that heralded his triumphant entry into Kano Government House was made possible by a number of factors that include activities of his die-hard political associates and his stand on certain religious aspects of the people. With his victory, Kwankwaso’s second stint at the Government House is expected to be influenced by some issues, individuals and stakeholders. They include:
Dr Umar Abdullahi Ganduje, Deputy Governor
Umar Abdullahi Ganduje was Kwankwaso’s deputy in 1999_2003 and he is back in the same capacity. Renowned for his high sense of maturity, he is one personality in Kano politics that sacrificed personal ambition for a collective goal. His loyalty to Kwankwaso is total both in and out of government, and his low profile has helped his political pursuits tremendously.
Ganduje like his boss, Kwankwaso, is fearless and tough. These mutual traits have helped him combine well with his boss. The last eight years were turbulent but Ganduje never wavered, lending deserved support that culminated into their joint electoral victory in 2011.
In Kano today, the deputy governor is the only individual that tells his boss the truth the way it is and there had been no reported cases of disagreement between them since they came together under the PDP umbrella 12 years ago.
Rabiu Suleiman Bichi, SSG
Bichi studied Quantity Surveying at the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. Until lately, he was chairman of the disciplined and organized Kwankwasiyya group, the political platform of Kwankwanso within the PDP . His influence on the youth members of the PDP in Kano is considerable.
Highly revered in Kano social circles, Bichi served the first Kwankwaso administration between 1999-2003 in several capacities. He was one of those, who worked for the actualisation Kwankwaso’s second term. He is among the few that have the listening ears of the governor and it was not surprsing that Kwankwaso appointed him as Secretary to the State Government (SSG).
Ambassador Baraka Sani
Ambassador Baraka Sani is one of the biggest revelations in recent Kano political history. A combination of brains and beauty she is now a household name in Kano. Sani is popular among the young , women and the elderly. She ranks among the very few women that staked their necks for the second coming of Kwankwaso. Ambassador Sani funded the anthem of the Kwankwasiyya movement, and her presence in any political gathering is nomrally a boost to the organizers. She is well grounded in Islamic literature and she is expected to be be a force to reckon with in the new administration.
This is a critical issue that would determine where Kano would find itself in the years to come. Until the last election Kano had not witnessed the kind of deadly ethno-religious upheavals that were regular in many other regions of the North. The crisis had a spill over effect, or a direct protest by natives over certain violation of religious rights and could become xenophobic in nature if improperly handled. The unfortunate incident had clearly sent potential investors to look for safer destinations across the country. To make matters worse, many industries spread across four estates in the one city state are either moribund now or operating below capacity leading high unemployment figures.
Kwankwaso’s regime reintroduced the Islamic legal system in his first tenure as governor. His predecessor expanded the frontiers and set up relevant agencies to ensure its full implementation. The actions of that regime exposed the mullahs into the political circle with many of them exposed to the art of governance, while an equal number are on Government payroll.
This class of clerics are both powerful and influential, and boast of large followership in a city cleansed of pagan practices by late Usman Danfodio jihad of 1804.
Kwankwaso is experienced, he must have learnt one or two lesson over his political sojourn in the wilderness and the success of his second coming might depend on how he handles these issues.