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Like Shekarau like Ganduje

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I strongly believe that criticisms are indubitably the livener of democratic governance anywhere in the world. However, in Nigeria and particularly in Kano politics, criticisms hardly impute to anything sensible because the polemics are forced out of malevolence and hatred than altruistic stimulus.

Kano, which prides itself as North’s political melting point is on the spotlight again, given the recent political development in the state, where crisis rocks the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) with analysts and public affairs commentators making postulations and even drawing conclusions on the matter.

I was, however, much more concern with the level of objectivity demonstrated by some of the journalist-commentators in their analysis, mostly on online news medium and other social media platforms, in which they foregrounded political history of anointment or hand picking of candidates for party leadership or contest for any political office. 

Knowingly or otherwise, they failed to make the people of Kano rehearse and get familiar with the history of anointing candidates in Kano politics which reflected the commentators’ biases influenced by partisanship or sponsorship, a trend I believe has implications for Nigeria’s democracy and contrary to fairness and objectivity, which our noble profession upholds.

The most unfortunate aspect of the whole thing is how the media is overblowing the issue to such an extent that some of them are even taking sides. While there are some I do not see as objective journalists considering their standing as players in the opposition camp, I was at loss as to what really might have influenced them not to be objective in their analysis or comments. After all, the society is keenly watching as events unfold.

Even when you blame Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of anointing candidates, what do you make of the people who have done the same in the past but today waging a war against him for what they have done in the past? Ganduje is doing what Kwankwaso and Shekarau did when they held sway. It is a case of like Shekarau like Ganduje.

I read some of these comments by Suleiman Uba Gaya, a former deputy national President of the Nigeria Guild of Editors, who was briefly with Kwankwaso during his first term in office and later with Senator Shekarau during his second tenure in office; the one placed by one of the ThisDay newspaper Editor, which is more like character assasination, as well as the partial analysis by the Hausa Service staff of the BBC, Bala Ibrahim.

While Gaya was part of both Kwankwaso and Shekarau administrations and has witnessed all that happened regarding the anointment of candidate, Ibrahim is Ganduje’s staunch critic. Recently, I brought to fore how he looked the other way when his boss, the former Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris harassed some working journalists right under his nose in person of Samuel Ogundipe and Aminu Nuruddeen, Premium Times reporter and Voice of Liberty reporter respectively.  

While Gaya was part of both Kwankwaso and Shekarau administrations and has witnessed all that happened regarding the anointment of candidate, Ibrahim, is a Ganduje’s staunch critic. 

Let us go down memory lane to refresh our mind on the history of anointment in Kano. After failing to secure a second term in 2003, Kwankwaso was appointed minister and in 2007, he neglected other competent contestants and anointed Ahmad Garba Bichi as People’s Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial card, which he lost.

And as far as party politics is concerned, election is totally out of the equation for Kwankwaso since he became governor. In fact, when he held sway, he singlehandedly ‘appointed’ executive members of whichever party he found himself and decision was always final.  

In fact, all local government elections he conducted during his first and second tenure in office are handpicked candidates by himself.
The crisis that Kwankwaso plunged the PDP when he was governor or leader (when was Minister) surpassed the present crisis in the APC. When he failingly attempted to anoint his favoured candidate as chairman of the PDP so the national headquarters of the party had to dissolve the executive members and appointed a caretaker committee led by late Ambassador Sa’idu Pindar.

Similar scenario played out in 2013 when the party was engulfed in leadership crisis. Another caretaker committee headed by Hassan Kafayos was appointed by national headquarters of the party.

At a point in 2018, PDP had two different executive members; one faction headed by the Kwankwaso henchmen and the other by the duo of Senator Ibrahim Shekarau and Ambassador Aminu Wali. And even with the nerve-wracking ubiquity of the red and white symbols of the Kwankwasiyya movement, with its claimed numerical strength in the party, Kwankwaso has tried all he could to displace Wali’s splinter group to no avail. The Walis have always maintained ownership of PDP in Kano.

The recent local government election in Kano and the Zonal congress of the PDP held in Kaduna further brought to fore the deep crisis in the PDP and Kwankwaso’s self-centred motives, all of which the analysts and commentators have nothing to say.

We may also like to recall that similar internal rumbling took place in the defunct All Nigeria People Party (ANPP) when Senator Shekaru was governor from 2003-2011.

He single-handedly picked late Alhaji Sani Hashim Hotoro from the same Nassarawa local government as chairman of the party. That decision did not go down well with members of the party, but had to live with it. When leaving office in 2011, to the dismay of the party, Shekarau insisted on anointing Salihu Sagir Takai as his successor. Many of the party stalwarts believed Takai was not the best candidate for the party. But he was the gubernatorial candidate, though he lost it to Kwankwaso.

Kwankwaso’s anointment of his son in-law Abba Kabir Yusuf (Abba Gida Gida) as PDP’s gubernatorial candidate in the 2019 general election sent tongues wagging because, as it is believed, there were other candidates more credible than him, particularly the former deputy governor, Prof. Hafiz Abubakar, who resigned his appointment and joined Kwankwaso in the PDP; Alhaji Rab’iu Sulaiman Bichi, former Secretary to the Kano State Government; Arch. Aminu Dabo; Gen. Bello Dambazau among others. All these prominent politicians are no long with Kwankwaso, just as the key figures in the Shekarau camp abandoned him.

These are clear examples of anointment of candidates by politicians and particularly Governor Ganduje’s successors.

However, if these commentators will be fair in their analysis, Ganduje gave a level playing ground to all stakeholders in the party. It has never been his decision to appoint or anoint any candidate. He leaves that to party stakeholders.

State congress of the APC was successfully conducted and no one raised an eyebrow. It was only when other party stakeholders felt schemed out that they are now crying wolf. 

It is therefore very important that journalists should always try to be objective and fair in their reportage or comments. 

Adam is an Abuja-based freelance journalist

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