- ‘Ganduje has mental issue!” – Hudu Saleh Kureken Sani, PDP chieftain
- Kano Central Senatorial District: Can Shekarau break the revolving jinx?
No governor has ever governed Kano state for two terms until Shekarau. Can he repeat the feat as the senator representing Kano central?
Since Nigeria’s return to democracy on May 29, 1999, Kano Central has churned out different senators in each democratic circle. Unlike their Northern and Southen counterparts, six different Kano central senators have been sent to the red chambers. These include the incumbent Ibrahim Shekarau (APC, 2019-), Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso (APC/PDP, 2015-2019) and Bashir Garba Lado (PDP, 2011-2015).
Others were Senators Muhammad Adamu Bello (ANPP, 2007-2011), Rufa’i Sani Hanga (ANPP, 2003-2007) and Ibrahim Kura Mohammed (PDP, 1999-2003).
Meanwhile, Senator Bello Hayatu Gwarzo who represented Kano North sat on his seat for a record four terms. It was only in 2015, the incumbent, Senator Barau I. Jibrin of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was able to snatch the baton from him.
As we speak, ex-governor Kabiru Gaya who represents Kano South seems to have taken the lead from his northern colleague. He has been in the Senate since 2007 and is serving out his fourth term.
Kano Central Senatorial District is made up of 15 local government areas which are Dala, Dawaki Kudu and Fagge. Others are Garun Malam, Gezawa, Gwale, Kano Municipal. Kumbotso, Kura, Madobi, Minjibir, Nasarawa, Tarauni, Ungogo and Warawa,
Profiles of Kano central senators, 1999 to date
Senator Ibrahim Shekarau (APC, 2019-date), born November 5, 1955, is the incumbent senator representing Kano central senatorial district. A two-term ex-governor of Kano state (2003-2011), he was a former minister of education under President Goodluck Jonathan.
After working to form APC, he left the party when his arch-rival, Kwankwaso, came into the party, and joined PDP. When Kwankwaso came back to the PDP, Shekarau moved the other way again.
Shekarau was one of the candidates who aspired to become president in the Nigerian general elections of 2011 on the platform of defunct ANPP.
Senator Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso (APC-PDP, 2015-2019), born on 21 October 1956, was the governor of Kano State from 1999 to 2003 and then 2011 to 2015. After losing re-election, he was appointed the Minister of Defence from 2003 to 2007.
He was later elected to the Senate in 2015, serving one term under the platform of the APC. In 2018, he decamped back to the Peoples Democratic Party alongside the Senate President Bukola Saraki and 13 other senators.
Kwankwaso contested the presidential primaries nomination under the opposition All Progressive Congress in 2015, but lost to Muhammad Buhari. And after returning to People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in 2018, he contested the presidential primaries, losing out to Atiku Abubakar.
Senator Bashir Garba Lado (PDP, 2011-2015), born 16 October 1966 was elected in the April 2011 national elections. He ran on the PDP platform, where he polled 359,050 votes, ahead of Aminu Abba Ibrahim of ANPP with 273,141 votes.
In the 2015 elections, Lado was defeated by Rab’iu Musa Kwankwaso of the APC with over 500,000 votes.
Senator Muhammad Adamu Bello (ANPP, 2007-2011), born 20 July 1957, was elected to the National Senate in 2007 under the ANPP. Before being elected to the Senate, he was Commissioner of Agriculture and Environment and Chairman of the ANPP, Kano State.
In a mid-term assessment of the performance of Senators, ThisDay newspaper noted that the senator sponsored many bills. These include the National Centre for Pensioners Reformation and Rehabilitation Bill, 2008; the Nature Medicine Practice Commission Bill, 2008; the Chartered Institute of Commerce (Establishment, etc) Bill, 2008; the Counterfeit Goods (Prohibition) Bill, 2008 and the National Commission for Food and Agricultural Bill, 2008.
Senator Rufa’i Sani Hanga (ANPP, 2003-2007) was elected in the 2003 general election. After serving one-term, he was at loggerheads with the then governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, which made it impossible for him to go back to the Senate.
Peeved by the deterioration of relationship between Muhammadu Buhari, presidential candidate of the ANPP and Governor Shekarau, an act which Hanga and his co-travelers termed ‘sabotage’, they formed a new party christened Congress for Progressives Change (CPC), which Hanga served as its pioneer national chairman.
In 2011, he tried unsuccessfully to fly the Kano state gubernatorial kite of the CPC which was later piloted by Lawal Jafaru Isa.
Late Senator Ibrahim Kura Mohammed (PDP, 1999-2003) was elected at the start of the Nigerian 4th Republic, running on the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) platform. He took office on 29 May 1999.
He was first Secretary in the Nigerian High Commission, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (1972–1973); Executive Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations (1974–1976); Director of the Nigeria Tourist Association (1978–1979) and Chairman of Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro (1979–1983).
After taking his seat in the Senate, Kura was appointed to committees on Solid Minerals, Communications, State & Local Government, Federal Character and Information. He decided not to seek reelection in 2003.
Reasons why Kano central senators fail reelections
An investigation by Memorila identified three reasons as the cause of the frequent turnover of senators in Kano central. These are higher ambitions, inaction and strong opposition.
After tasting the succulent juice of a senator’s seat, some senators feel they have grown wings to fly higher. Senators in this category are Senators Mohammed Bello and Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso.
In 2011, Senator Bello believed he was ripe to challenge his former boss’ protégé for ANPP’s governorship ticket . He lost the governorship primary to Malam Sagir Takai. In the general election, the Kwankwasiyya Movement of ex-governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso swept the ANPP away. And hence, Senator Bashir Garba Lado emerged the beneficiary of this rout.
Furthermore, in 2019 Senator Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso felt the policies of President Buhari have alienated the populace against the ex-general. He cross-carpeted to PDP and vied for its presidential ticket. Kwankwaso came a distant fourth place behind Atiku Abubakar, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and Bukola Saraki.
After failing the presidential expedition, Kwankwaso could have contested the Senate seat again. But having seen the handwriting on the wall, of the combined forces of Ganduje and Shekarau, Kwankwaso chickened out. His proxy, Hon. Aliyu Madakin Gini, the federal representative of Dala, was trounced cleanly by Shekarau.
Senators who wouldn’t have been re-elected for their inactions include Rufa’i Sani Hanga, Mohammed Bello, Kwankwaso and perhaps Ibrahim Shekarau. After winning their respective elections, electorates complain bitterly that these senators turn their backs on their constituencies. Till the end of their tenures, most of these senators bring no meaningful development to the region.
But for those that faced strong oppositions, Senators Rufa’i Sani Hanga, Lado and Kwankwaso fell in the latter category. Senator Hanga was fighting with then governor Shekarau and hence was replaced by Mohammed Bello. Kwankwaso on the other hand was at loggerhead with his successor, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.
The case of Senator Bashir Garba Lado was an exceptional one. Since 1999, there had never been a Kano Central senator who brought many physical projects to the zone like Lado. The Ado Bayero Overhead Bridge over Gyadi-Gyadi Roundabout executed by the federal government, was promoted the Senator promoted. It has since been nicknamed Gadar Lado (meaning, Lado’s Bridge) by residents.
In 2012, Senator Lado flagged off the reconstruction of Tamburawa Bridge. And close to the election periods, the senator even doled out cash, textile materials and foodstuffs to residents.
But still, the electorates closed their eyes and elected the then incumbent governor, Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso to replace him. To be fair, the governor had performed wonderfully in office.
Shekarau, the jinx breaker
In 2003, Ibrahim Shekarau of the ANPP, was a dark horse in a race that featured political heavyweights like then incumbent governor, Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso of the PDP, Ibrahim Al-Amin Little of Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) and Ibrahim Dan Hassan of Peoples Salvation Party (PSP). They were all contesting for the key to Kano state government house.
The hurricane of ANPP’s presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, swept Shekarau into office on May 29, 2003 with little effort; just like many other contestants of northern Nigeria during that period.
Shekarau ran a government that claimed to put much more emphasis on human development rather than capital projects. Hence many people like Alhaji Sani Dumus praised him for lifting them off the poverty level.
But many more despised his policies, claiming he looked the other way while his lieutenants pilfered funds that were meant for the development of the state.
Hitherto, there had never been a governor in Kano state that served for two terms. Hence, political gladiators whose toes the governor had stepped on, like late Abubakar Rimi, Hajiya Naja’atu Muhammad and Alhaji Ahmadu Haruna Zago, and political opponents like Kwankwaso, proclaimed that the governor had eaten his last meal at Africa House.
But the rest is now history. Shekarau broke the jinx and got re-elected as governor and was sworn into office again on May 29, 2007.
Since then, other people have also gone on to serve two terms; with Kwankwaso completing his in 2015 and Ganduje starting his on May 29, 2019.
Can Shekarau repeat the feat in the Senate?
Political pundit, Alhaji Sani Dumus of APC, claims that it will be difficult for Shekarau to repeat the same feat. This is because according to him, “Kano Central residents play a different kind of politics”.
“If you work for them, they know,” Dumus said. “If you don’t, they also know. But at the end, the prerogative is with them. If they wish they reelect you or else, they boot you out.”
On his part, Hon. Ibrahim Junaidu Amiti of the PDP also believes that Shekarau re-election will be difficult. Amiti argued that even though the Senator is good to his followers, “I have not seen any tangible project that will make people reelect him.”
Hence, the onus lies on the Distinguished Senator Ibrahim Shekarau. He has to fold his sleeves, work hard for his constituency and then pray that he doesn’t meet any gigantic stumbling block on his re-election bid.
This is because as Dumus puts it, “whether you work or not, the mood of the Kano central people could swing at the last minute.”
Whether Shekarau will break the Kano Central Senatorial District jinx is a thing that only time will tell.