By Emmanuel Ado
“Win without boasting.Lose without excuse”. Albert Terhune
Rabiu Kwankwaso, the embattled former Governor of Kano State and the Senator representing Kano Central Senatorial District ought not to be in the precarious circumstances that he has found himself, especially since he had once travelled that lonely path,when in 2003 elections he was defeated by Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau. To Kwankwaso’s credit he repackaged and got re-elected as governor in 2011, which was unprecedented,giving that he had been written off as politically dead. But then he had Olusegun Obasanjo,who compensated him with a ministerial position,that tremendously contributed to his political resurrection. Politics is expensive and being in office helps as government picks most,if not all the bill.
But the circumstances that Kwankwaso has found himself today is very unlike the 2003 one,considering that he is battling Dr. Abdullahai Ganduje, his successor and a man that knows him real well. In 2003,he was in complete control of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), machinery, and he had Obasanjo,his godfather, but as it is manifestly obvious from recent events,especially from his failure to attend the All Progressives Congress (APC), National Convention,there is no iota of doubt that he is an internally displaced politician, and that Ganduje has clinically dislodged him from the party. A politician without structures,is like an army general without troops. To crown up his misery, he doesn’t have the support of Muhammadu Buhari,a man that he believes he can defeat in the 2019 presidential elections,even as he lacks a platform to actualize the dream.
The question is how did Kwankwaso, a very experienced politician find himself in the same political quagmire like Shehu Sani- party-less and heading towards political oblivion? Senator Shehu Sani,like Rabiu Kwankwaso, is also an internally displaced politician,having first been suspended,before his eventual expulsion by the kaduna State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Shehu had everything going for him,but he politically miscalculated and seems on the road to oblivion. So far, the defeat of Mohammed Saleh, then incumbent Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District,seems to be the only arithmetic he has gotten right since 2015. If Shehu Sani is not up in arms against his party, he is tackling Nasir El-Rufai his state governor or the president , who is still hugely popular and can make or mar any politician,especially in the north.
In 2015 the then newly formed APC had handed over the party structure in Kano State to Kwankwaso, which angered Ibrahim Shekarau and consequently led to his exit. Was this decision and his good showing at the 2014 presidential primaries part of the problem that made Kwankwaso have an exaggerated opinion of his political worth? Pat Conroy in My Losing Season: A Memoir argues that “loss invites reflection and reformulating and a change of strategies” which Kwankwaso imbibed after his loss in 2003 and has obviously jettisoned having bounced back. Once more he clearly needs to reflect.
Though Kwankwaso hasn’t spoken much on the rift between him and Ganduje, there is no doubt that the root cause is the issue of control,which stems from a condescending behavior or attitude of predecessors to their successors. From Kano to Zamfara States,this has been the sad reality,especially when out going governors grudgingly hand over to their deputies. And in circumstances that they preferred others to their deputies the story has always been the same. To date only Zamfara,and Kano States deputy governors have succeeded their principals and the relationships ended tragically,due to lack of respect.
According to Ganduje,the root of the crisis between him and Kwankwaso has to do with utter contempt that his predecessor holds him and his family. And that Kwankwaso reportedly threatened to replace him,if he failed to run the government to his expectations .”He told me he would not involve himself with the running of the state’s affairs, but promised that if the government fails, he would come back and change the government”. The reaction of Ganduje to the Kwankwaso insults and arrogance is quite understandable and the fall out should have been anticipated by Kwankwaso.
Kano state Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has shown that like every other man,he is a political animal. Long in the shadow of Rabiu Kwankwaso,such that he was taken for granted,but he has so far proven himself a good politician. He has surgically decimated the political structure of Kwankwaso and is on the verge of running him out of town. It must be noted that Kwankwaso hasn’t been able to visit Kano State and would most likely be unable to, considering that he has also taken an anti -Buhari posture. And no matter what any one thinks about the performance of the president,the fact remains that he is still hugely popular and this is where Shehu Sani and Kwankwaso have gotten it real wrong.
What are the options open to politically displaced politicians like Kwankwaso and Shehu Sani? They will naturally unashamedly return to the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), which some of them had left in 2014 with carnival like celebrations and had vowed never to return to. Already the Reformed APC led by Kwankwaso has set up an interim committee with representatives from other parties that would eventually culminate in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with PDP.What a shame!
Why are our politicians lacking in principles and ideology? Why won’t Senator Shehu Sani who has created the “image” of a rebel,the conscience of the society remain in the APC and reform it? Why are the Atiku Abubakars’,the Kwankwasos’, the Olagunsoye Oyinlolas’,the Kawu Barajes’ “Saraki” in politics? Margret Thatcher,the Iron Lady made it abundantly clear that she went into politics “because of the conflict between good and evil”, basically to help good to ultimately triumph over evil. To fundamentally affect positive changes in the society,an agenda that she creditably discharged by embarking on the privatization of public enterprises. And when it became necessary she snatched milk from the British school children.
The other intriguing question is why do people change political party? Former United States President, Ronald Regan the cowboy changed from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party following his disaffection with the kid glove treatment of the then Soviet Union by the Democratic party. He became more conservative and left for the Republican Party.In Nigeria people change parties to win elections or to avoid prosecution. They don’t change parties over policies. Musliu Obanikoro who recently decamped to the All Progressives Congress,didn’t decamp due to the fantastic policies of the APC,but to escape Justice. And Kwankwaso and Shehu Sani when they finally decamp from the APC to the PDP it will be just platforms to win elections.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar,like Kwankwaso,Shehu Sani and company represent all that is wrong with our politics and politicians. Elected on the platform of PDP,Atiku has between 1999 to date moved from the PDP to the Action Congress of Nigeria(ACN), back to the PDP and to the APC,which he then described as the “final” bus stop. But like the journey man that he is, he has since moved back to the PDP and there are indications that he is not done yet with his “prostitutional” movement. So why are these men political nomads? Is it the quest for power? Jacob Zuma,the former South African President, a good friend of Atiku’s, with whom he shares so much in common – from allegations of corruption to huge appetite for women,has been and remains an African National Congress(ANC) man, obedient and loyal to the party to the very end. He didn’t take a walk from the party,even when the party disowned him.At the rate Kwankwaso is going, like Atiku he could be in APC in the morning and PDP by night time and the Social Democratic Party(SDP), next day because Nigerian politicians stand for absolutely nothing and parties are just platforms for winning elections.
By 2023 it won’t be a surprise if Kwankwaso and Shehu Sani,not achieving their ambition in the PDP return once more to the APC. Would the PDP remember the role Kwankwaso played in destroying the party,or will the party forgive him his sins,all because it wants to return to power? Welcome the season of prostitutes and prostitution- it is all about selling and buying.