By Issa Itopa Lucky
As 2023 beckons, the question of who controls Kano politics comes to mind. From recent-past till 2019, former Governor and member of Eighth Senate, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso was the godfather of Kano politics.
Kwankwaso has an arch-rival know as Ibrahim Shekarau. They are never in the same party. They are constantly at opposition of each other. However that is not the import of this discussion. The import is to look at the chances of the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje to spite Kwankwaso in 2023 as to the subject matter of who the godfather of Kano politics really is, come 2023.
Kwankwaso used to be the godfather of Abdullahi Ganduje, the Governor of Kano State, until they fell out with each other in the build up to the 2019 polls.
They both were members of the Kwankwasiyya political group, a group formed by Rabiu Kwankwaso. In the build up to the 2019 polls, Ganduje broke away and formed his own group known as Gandujiyya.
The Kwankwasiyya group is popular with the red cap. Incidentally, the Gandujiyya group also wears red cap but with a design distinct from that of the Kwankwasiyya group.
The Kwankwasiyya group and the Gandujiyya group have clashed a number of times in the build up to the 2019 polls. Hopes are high that the 2023 campaigns will be peaceful in Kano inspite of how both political groups are rivals of each other.
The question as to whether the Kwankwaso-led Kwankwasiyya group or the Ganduje-led Gandujiyya group will install the next Governor of Kano State is next line of thought in this discussion.
Barring last minute change, either Kwankwaso or Ganduje will install the next Governor of Kano State as Ganduje’s tenure as Governor of Kano State ends in 2023.
Should Ganduje succeed in installing the next Kano Governor, then obviously it will be safe to say that Ganduje is the new godfather of Kano politics. On the contrary, if Kwankwaso succeeds in installing the next Kano Governor then it will be safe to say that Kwankwaso is back to being the godfather of Kano politics.
Aside that factor as to who either Kwankwaso or Ganduje supports for the Presidential election, that wins the most Kano votes, will also be another means to measure who is indeed the godfather of Kano politics in 2023.
At the moment, the Kwankwasiyya group is still very active in Kano even though now in opposition since when Kwankwaso left the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) for the main opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2018 in search of 2019 Presidential ticket. Recently there were rumours that Kwankwaso is plotting to return to APC. This rumour would later be dispelled by a media aide of Kwankwaso.
In reaction, a handful of Kano APC chieftains that weighed in on the rumour, are of the stand that Kwankwaso is welcome to APC if he chooses to return to APC. They however said he would have to submit to the political leadership of Ganduje, a clause in the Kano APC welcome stand that many believe will be impossible for Kwankwaso, as Kwankwaso prides himself as the godfather of Ganduje any day any time, who brought Ganduje into politics at first and made him Governor of Kano State in 2015 before they for political difference, parted ways in the build up to 2019 till date.
However, should Kwankwaso decamp to APC before the 2023 polls, much as one may want to in such eventuality be quick to call Kano politics for Ganduje and crown Ganduje the new godfather of Kano politics, the question of how Kwankwaso and his group, Kwankwasiyya, and Ganduje and his group, Gandujiyya, will settle their group difference is another big question even though Gandujiyya is a Ganduje-leadership version of Kwankwaso-leadership, in fact it is agreed for a fact not to be disputed in essence of history that Gandujiyya is a breakaway faction of Kwankwasiyya.
The idea behind Gandujiyya is to just have a version of the political leadership learnt and copied from Kwankwasiyya. In fact there is no writing the history of Gandujiyya without mentioning Kwankwasiyya.
Hence, whether one of the two groups will dissolve itself to be a part of the other is a question for time and the leaders of both groups to answer. However it is accepted for a fact that the show put up against the eventual re-emergence of Ganduje in 2019 when he stood for re-election, is a sign that Ganduje is far from being able to upstage Kwankwaso in Kano politics.
The Kano 2019 governorship poll was keenly contested. In the first round of the election, Ganduje was behind by the legal votes counted and declared; his saving grace was the re-run that was declared by INEC. Certainly, all Nigerians and observers saw how controversial the Kano governorship rerun was. The election was in all honesty marred with violence. In the end of the process, Ganduje scored the highest legal votes counted and was later returned for a second term as Governor of Kano State.
Be it as it may, 2019 is a long time ago already as the countdown to 2023 is on already and permutations as to who wins what in 2023, are commencing soon, if not already. Very possibly, Ganduje may without power of incumbency, especially being a member of APC, the ruling party at the centre at the moment, do magic and establish himself as the new godfather of Kano politics at the end of the 2023 general elections.