By Sani Danaudi Mohammed
As it promises to be in most Nigerian states, the gubernatorial elections which will be held come March 11, 2023 in Kano State will definitely constitute a fierce contest. It is instructive to note that, given its strategic position in the Nigerian political arrangements, Kano really matters. As a matter of fact, as the 2023 general elections draw near, Kano State is now being placed on the national radar, as having the capacity to assume the status of a ‘political king’ in the comity of the Nigerian states, which can determine the next political direction of the beleaguered country.
Therefore, it is the shared view of most politicians and public affairs commentators that the Kano State electorate must handle the process of determining who becomes their executive governor, not as business as usual. The one, whose head the cap fits to become the next governor of the state, must be such a person who, in the opinion of most people, has an understanding of the current realities in the state where the emphasis is placed on employment, empowerment, human, educational and capital development of the State.
Meanwhile, late last year, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced no fewer than 14 political parties that would field candidates in the forthcoming elections in the densely populated state. Some of the notable candidates fielded by the political parties announced by INEC are Abba Kabir Yusuf (NNPP), Hon. Sha’aban Sharada (ADP),Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna (APC) and Mohammed Sani Abacha (PDP). However, as it obviously stands, two of the afore-listed candidates, Abba Kabir Yusuf (Abba Gida Gida ) of (NNPP) and Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna (APC) and will likely tower above others in the contest.
What informs this claim cannot be unconnected with the results emerging from the statewide opinion polls consecutively conducted ahead of the forthcoming 2023 governorship elections in Kano State by Anap Foundation late last year. While Abba Kabir Yusuf (Abba Gida Gida of the NNPP maintained a conspicuous lead with the highest percentage of the voters proposing to vote for him if the governorship elections were to be held exactly when the polls were conducted, Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna of the APC fell in second place and Mohammed Sani Abacha of the PDP was a distant third with only 3 per cent of voters proposing to vote for him.
The announcement by the Court of Mohammed Abacha, the son of the late Head of State, Gen.Sani Abacha, in preference to Sadiq Wali, as the candidate of PDP in the state, was a surprise to most political gladiators and further support the assertions of political commentators that the contest in Kano is a two horse race. Though, Abacha has the backing of the former Governor of the State and now Kano Central Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau as the leader of the party. On the other hand, Nasir Yusuf Gawuna, who is the incumbent Deputy Governor of the state, emerged the favoured candidate of the ruling party (APC) in the state on the ticket of his boss.
Hence, out of the many contenders for Kano State’s number one seat, Abba Kabir Yusuf (Abba Gida Gida) is distinguished as the most prepared and suitable for the job. Given his enviable political pedigree and impressive action plan for birthing an unprecedented transformation in Kano State, Abba Kabir Yusuf, the NNPP gubernatorial candidate appears to be the man of the people at the moment. He was the runners up in the 2019 elections,a re-run poll that was highly criticized both at home and abroad by observers who accused the APC-led Government of infiltrating the process.
The massive infrastructural revolution that Abba Kabir Yusuf brought about in the state when he served as Commissioner for Works, Housing and Transport in former Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwanso’s administration remains a laudable achievement which continues to endear him to the well-meaning people of the state. This achievement, some political pundits opined, constituted part of the major successes which Kwankwanso’s administration recorded. Optimistic about emerging as Nigeria’s president after the forthcoming presidential elections, Kwankwanso, no doubt, wants an experienced and hardworking Abba Kabir Yusuf to become the Kano State governor so that he can sustain the tempo of championing the course for transforming Kano to the economic hub of Nigeria, nay Africa.
However, following the gubernatorial primaries conducted by the APC National Executive Committee on May 26, 2022, where Yusuf Gawuna emerged caused the Party heavyweight Politicians like Hon. Kawu Samaila, Hon.Abdulmumini Jibrin Kofa,Hon. Ibrahim Sharada, Sen.Ibrahim Shekarau, former Speaker of Kano State House of Assembly and to Many notable game changers of Kano politics.Suspecting some foul play in the party’s unanimous endorsement of Yusuf Gawuna as the flag bearer in the forthcoming gubernatorial elections, the aggrieved members left the party to form an alliance with Kwankwanso, the leader of the Kwankwansiya movement.
Narrating about the dynamism of Kano politics and the need to prioritize credibility, capacity and competency over any other consideration towards electing the state’s governor in 2023, Mr. Mohammed, a Kano-based accountant and financial expert maintained that Abba Kabir Yusuf, given his status as one of the finest brains behind Kwankwanso’s Kwankwansiya Political Movement, has the needed wherewithal to actualize the Kano State of the people’s dream. Corroborating Mohammed’s position, some other cerebral political analysts expressed optimism in Abba’s capability to facilitate the, the educational advancement, the economic growth and the infrastructure development that will put the state on the global radar.His meritorious performance, as Commissioner of works lasted, continues to earn him credit and honour as a political figure.
His well-thought-out blueprint, tagged ‘OUR COMMITMENT FOR KANO 2023 AND BEYOND’, is considered the ideal transformational agenda targeted at facilitating people-oriented programmes in Kano State: improving the living standard of the common man, guaranteeing access to quality education for all, ensuring access to quality and affordable healthcare services, encouraging huge investment in Agriculture, promoting infrastructural development and providing water resources infrastructure and ensuring the necessary environmental control to curb incessant ravaging floods, among others.
They hold the opinion that,with the current decline in the Nigerian oil revenues and continued shortfall in the federation allocation to state governments, Kano State must urgently look beyond the party lines to elect as governor someone who will be genuinely committed to reasonable and responsible governance that will cause the state to continuously soar higher as well as maintain her pride of place as the center of commerce. All eyes seem to be focused on Abba Kabir Yusuf as someone who, compared with other contenders, has the understanding of how government can be effectively run and its resources prudently and judiciously managed. Good governance is the true touchstone of responsible and accountable leadership in any political clime.
Also, he will review the process of attracting direct foreign investment for the purposes of creating wealth, empowering women and youths, and boosting urban and rural development across the state. With Abba Kabir Yusuf as governor in Kano State, the current growing insecurity will become a thing of the past. All the forces that are responsible for insecurity will be tactfully handled. As he had done before now, Abba would sustain the restoration of social order whereby the children of the poor would be made to enjoy the same measure of rights and freedom as those of the children of the rich. He will make education compulsory for everyone, regardless of class. This intervention cannot but reduce the number of criminal gangs that often constitute themselves to a menace in the state.
The Presidential Candidate of the NNPP Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwanso PhD is viewed as the architect of new Kano poised by Late Aminu Kano where the masses will have an equal Chance of been accommodated into Government policies and programs. The foreign Scholarships by Kwankwanso administration gave much hope that , the NNPP Gubernatorial Candidate Abba Gida Gida will sustain this huge investment in tertiary education through consistent provision of foreign scholarships to all students, as well as ensure that graduates are gainfully employed. It is on record that the last time when Kano State witnessed huge investment in education and rapid economic growth was during the time that the Kwankwanso-led administration, a strategic part of which Abba Kabir Yusuf was, ruled the state from 2011 to 2015.
The APC are rooting for Gawuna, Public and political affairs commentators within and outside Kano State have continue to add their voice loud from a distance that a replica of Kwankwanso will be born in March,2023. Mohammed and his likes shared a similar opinion that, Kano State yearns for this at the moment, needing a leader of excellent breed and character and of vision like Abba Kabir Yusuf to make this happen.
Danaudi, National President of Arewa Youths Advocate for Peace and Unity Initiative, writes from Bauch via firstname.lastname@example.org