The crisis in the Kano State branch of the All Progressives Congress (APC), which was caused by the political rivalry and muscle flexing between incumbent governor, Abdullhi Umar Ganduje and his erstwhile godfather and predecessor, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, has been on almost since the inception of the current administration in the state.
While the crisis is taking its toll on governance as almost all the policies and projects of the previous administration have been abandoned apparently in the attempt to eraze the footprints of two-term government of Kwankwaso from the state’s political landscape, preparation for the 2019 elections, when the two giants are expected to slug it out, is contributing to the already tense situation.
Last Saturday’s nationwide mini congress of the APC provided another opportunity for the two feuding politicians to demonstrate their strength in their determination not only to control the soul of the party in Kano but also to exhibit their influences within and outside the state especially as the countdown to 2019 begins.
In the aftermath of the congress, Alhaji Abdullahi Abbas emerged as the Chairman of the party to ignite fresh tussle between the Ganduje and Kwankwaso camps.
Abdullahi former political adviser and strong associate of Ganduje was returned unopposed along 14 others as new party leadership at a mini delegates congress held at the Indoor Sports Hall of Sani Abacha Stadium.
With the election, Ganduje may have successfully taken full possession of the entire party structure and control of APC machinery in Kano, a smart move to reclaim the party from his estranged political godfather.
Shortly before the election, the congress unanimously passed a vote of no confidence on the Kwankwaso’s party structure under the leadership of Umar Haruna Doguwa after which a motion was moved for their impeachment. The congress removed Kwamkwaso’s loyalists through voice vote paving way for Ganduje’s associates.
The Ganduje anointed executives are Abdullahi Abbas; Chairman, Sheu Maigari; Deputy Chairman, Ibrahim Zakari Sarina; Secretary, Sabo Dantata; Zonal Vice Chairman (Central) Barrister Jamilu Hassan Rano; Legal Adviser and Ahmad Mohammad; Organizing Secretary.
Others are Mutari Babawa; Assistant Auditor, Sani Kanti Ranka; Assistant Organizing secretary, Shafiu Darma; Assistant Welfare Officer, Maruf Garo; Deputy Youth leader, Hajia Amina Abubakar; Zonal Women Leader, Amina Danzabuwa; Zonal PRO (Central), Mu’azam Mai Nassara; Zonal Legal Adviser (Central), Lawan Nana; Zonal Secretary (North) and Shafiu Sani Kofa; Ex-Officio.
Expectedly members of the Kwankwasiyya movement, an umbrella of Kwankwaso’s supporters and loyalists were conspicuously absent at the mini congress, an indication of stiff boycott of the event.
But Chairman of the congress screening committee, Alhaji Mohammad Nadu Yahaya claimed his committee had opened ample and equal opportunities to all APC members in the state to contest the 15 vacant posts.
He denied insinuation that the aspirants who contested and were returned unopposed were agents of a particular camp who were imposed by the state machinery.
He said, “The exercise was duly contested based on the rules guiding the election and of cause, the vacant posts were publicized and we screened those who came forward with the intent of contesting. We screened and confirmed them accordingly just as the opportunity was made open to every member of the party.”
Similarly leader of APC supervisory delegates from the National Headquarters, Prince Nwafor Orizu told journalists that the congress was specifically designed to fill the vacant seats in the state following the demise of some executive members.
Congratulating the new party leaders, Governor Ganduje charged them to remain loyal and work towards the success of the party and the government ahead of 2019 general elections.
Ganduje who indicted the Umar Haruna Doguwa-led leadership of the party of financial misappropriation, charged the new executives to leave above board.
According to Ganduje, “the immediate past chairman was impeached because he allegedly misappropriated the party’s fund. He denied and lied against himself and the party. That is the reason why we can no longer trust him.”
Speaking on why the Kwankwasiyya group shunned the congress, a leader of the movement, Alhaji Abdulsalam Aminu insisted that the congress was illegal and unconstitutional and that the whole process was done in error.
According to Abdulsalam, the Umar Haruna Doguwa-led leadership remains the only recognized and duly constituted APC leadership in Kano.
In his words, he asked, “How would you say we boycotted what we are not part of. What you could have asked is whether the congress is constitutional or not. What they did last Saturday was a kangaroo congress that has no place in our party’s constitution. So how do you expect us to join them in such criminally constituted arrangement?
“For your information, Umar Haruna Doguwa is the party Chairman in Kano and duly so at the APC headquarters. Let me draw your attention to what happened recently, the acting president of Nigeria Professor Yemi Osibajo invited all APC Chairmen in Nigeria for a meeting at the Aso Rock.
“It was Umar Haruna Doguwa that represented Kano APC. He was duly recognized and accorded all the respect and honor on behalf of Kano. What else do they want?
Remarking on the allegations of financial reckless of Umar Haruna Dogwa leadership, Abdulsalam insisted that the statement was baseless and unfounded adding, “The allegation against the Chairman (Umar Haruna Doguwa) was unfounded and baseless and we are surprised such serious statement could come out from the governor. And if that is an allegation, we can also count several allegations against the governor himself.
“We wonder why it took the government this long to level corrupt allegations against the person duly recognized by the APC National Headquarters and if the allegations are so disturbing, the government can send the case to appropriate quarters. We have the EFCC and ICPC.”
Although the party structure was inherited from his predecessor, Ganduje was inclined to ascertain his power and control to preside over the party’s affairs in Kano. Besides the plan to take total control, Ganduje’s request for it is in line with APC constitution, which arrogated the party leadership to the governor.
Amid this controversy, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party issued a statement disregarding the newly constituted APC leadership in Kano in apparent disregard for the position of Ganduje.
In a statement signed by the party’s National Publicity Secretary Bolaji Abdullahi, the NWC insisted that the Umar Haruna Doguwa leadership remain the recognized and authentic one for Kano State.
The statement said, “The attention of the National Working Committee ( NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been drawn to some media reports that the Chairman of Kano State APC chapter, Alhaji Umar Haruna Doguwa has been removed from office. We wish to state that in respect of Kano, no such decision has been taken by the NWC.
“Although, we are aware of issues in the Kano State chapter, efforts to find lasting solutions to the problem are ongoing. In view of this, the status quo is maintained until the ongoing process is completed. Party members, stakeholders, leaders and indeed the general public are advised to disregard the false reports.”
Following the rejection of his loyalists and not unmindful of the implications on the management of the party especially when the APC Headquarters will be taking a stand on which side of the fence to lean on, Ganduje was said to have rushed to Abuja to verify and authenticate what prompted the NWC to issue such counter statement that debunked the new party structure.
While the intervention of the NWC appeared to be on the side of Kwankwaso and his loyalists, political analysts are of the view that it could cause another round of controversy.
Before leaving the office on May 29, 2015, Kwankwaso, who now represents Kano Central at the upper chamber of the National Assembly, had firmly ingrained his footprints across the party formation and structure, making it extremely difficult to upturn his authority.
Uncomfortable with the overwhelming power of Kwankwaso, whom he had served twice as Deputy-Governor, Ganduje relied on the power of incumbency to obstruct the party structure and at the same time, inject his loyalists.
In the ensuing tussle between the two political giants, Ganduje has accused Kwankwaso of allegedly looting state funds, engaging in scholarship scam and making false claims.
This has led to the cancellation of several Kwankwaso’s policies, including free tuition at tertiary institutions and foreign scholarship, describing them as unrealistic and politically motivated.