2015: Jonathan, Shekarau unite against Kwankwaso in Kano
by Ismail Mudashir & Haruna Gimba Yaya, Kano
The utterances of stakeholders in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during last Tuesday’s rally, no doubt, have shown that the party is relying on a former governor, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau to recapture Kano State in 2015.
President Goodluck Jonathan along with members of the top echelon of the party was in Kano to formally receive the former governor who defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to their fold in January this year. The Africa House, Kano seat of power, slipped off from the PDP when Engineer Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso dumped the party for the APC. From the president’s statement to that of the national chairman of the party, Alhaji Ahmed Adamu Mu’azu and all other speakers at the crowded occasion, one may not be wrong to reach a conclusion that the PDP is relying on Shekarau, a political foe of Kwankwaso to reclaim the State. The enmity between Shekarau and Kwankwaso started around 2002 when the latter was governing Kano. Shekarau was permanent secretary in charge of cabinet office. There was misunderstanding between them. So, Shekarau was edged out as he was redeployed to classroom. He later resigned and ventured into politics. In 2003, he contested for the governorship position of the State under the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) against Kwankwaso, the then PDP candidate. Surprisingly, Shekarau defeated Kwankwaso, who was then the incumbent governor in the State. His success, to pundits, was influenced by the popularity of General Muhammadu Buhari, who was then the presidential candidate of the ANPP. For eight years, Shekarau reigned in the State. But after the expiration of his second tenure, Kwankwaso staged a comeback as he defeated, Alhaji Salihu Sagir Takai, the political godson of Shekarau. Since the 2011 elections, the rivalry between the two key political figures went down like morning dew. But the competition was rekindled by the defection of Kwankwaso to the APC, a party nurtured by Shekarau. Not satisfied with the turn of events, Shekarau dumped the party with his teeming supporters and moved to the PDP, a party he had hitherto lambasted. Now that he has joined the PDP, the song of Shekarau has changed as he has started singing a new song. To formalise his defection to PDP, President Jonathan was in Kano last Tuesday. He formally received the former governor Shekarau along with his teeming supporters to the PDP fold at the Polo Ground, which witnessed a mammoth crowd. Opening the floor was the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali who described the defection of Shekarau to the PDP as milestone and landmark for the party. “I’m happy that this is happening under my watch because with Mallam Shekarau by our side, we will succeed in our quest to reclaim our mandate,” he said. In his address, Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State said Kano remained a PDP State, stressing that the defection of Kwankwaso to APC would not make any difference. “With this crowd coming to receive Shekarau, we will recover our Government House which was donated to the APC. Our job is to thank you and ask you to strategise and come out enmasse like this to reclaim our mandate. The little works you are seeing in Kano are done by PDP. Now that they are in APC, nothing is happening again. “Out of selfish interest, they take Kano to opposition. But let me tell you, Kano is still PDP State. With what we have seen, the people who want to take power by all force won’t succeed. We will work with you to reclaim our state,” he said. Commenting on the crowd that thronged to the venue, Senate President David Mark said since they commenced their unity rally, the PDP had not witnessed crowd like that of Kano. “Since we started going round just to say hi to our people, no where that I have seen heads like the ones in Kano today. Kano cannot afford to be relegated to the background. Kano must be in the mainstream of governance and the mainstream is PDP,” he said. On his part, Farouk Lawan, a member of the House of Representatives, reprensenting Shanono/Bawai federal constituency of Kano State said the stolen mandate would be recovered in 2015. “The people of Kano State voted for PDP and not individuals. We will join forces with Shekarau to reclaim our State,” he said. Vice President Namadi Sambo on his part said the crowd that attended the gathering showed that the stolen mandate would be recovered in 2015, stating that “Shekarau, you are welcome to PDP. Kano is for Mallam and Nigeria is for Jonathan”. In his address at the occasion, the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Ahmed Adamu Mu’azu said joining the PDP is like joining Islam.“ Yes, joining PDP is like joining Islam. In Islam, if you convert today, you are like any other Muslim. So, in PDP, if you join us today, you are like any other old member. So, Shekarau is like any old member,” he said. Apparently giving a match order to Shekarau, President Jonathan said PDP must recover Kano State, saying “if you wear red cap or whatever, we will recover our stolen mandate by 2015”. The president spent better part of his 15 minutes’ speech to tonguelash Governor Kwankwaso, accusing him of working against his success at the poll. Responding, Shekarau urged members of the PDP to come together as one family and work together to consolidate the status of PDP as a formidable party dedicated to building a better Nigeria for all. “Let us begin the new formation of party machinery that works for the good of every member irrespective of who, when or where from he or she joins the party. If we do that, we can be rest assured of victory in the next election in 2015 and beyond. “Fellow citizens of Kano State, you all know what I stand for. I stand for justice, good governance, development, protection of dignity of every citizen, respect for elders, empowerment for youth, support for women, strengthening of institutions of governance and commitment to Shari’a. “As I thank you all for the encouragement and support you continue to grant me for more than a decade now, let me explicitly affirm to you that so long I remain in active politics, so long shall I remain dedicated totally to serving you the people with every effort I can muster irrespective of the party I belong to,” he said. The former governor took time to appeal to President to address the problem of power supply in the State that had crippled industries. “In the face of mass misery, poverty and lack of employment, our people are right now requesting empowerment for power to operate our remote industries and for massive intervention in agriculture, including development of infrastructure for our huge farm lands and various Fadama that flow across the State,” he asked. Highpoint of the occasion was the presentation of a white horse to the President by Shekarau, the Sardaunan Kano. The music by the popular kannywood actor, Sani Danja and the dance by the President alongside other top-notch members of the party added colour to the event. With the formal reception of Shekarau to the PDP fold, the battle line between him and his political foe has been drawn. The political wrangling between the duo was further deepened after the open altercation between the President and Kwankwaso. Whether Shekarau will succeed in delivering Kano State to PDP in 2015, only time will tell.