Shekarau and the taste of a fruit salad


Will the fruit salad grilled by Kano state ex-governors Shekarau and Kwankwaso upset the incumbent Ganduje’s apple cart, or turn soar? M. A. Nababa queries

Fruit salad is a very sweet drink. It is prepared with fresh fruits grilled with neither water nor sugar, because in itself, a fruit has a large quantity of water and has sweet taste like sugar itself.

Unless I am wrong, fruit salad has banana, water melon, orange, pawpaw, pineapple, etc. The aroma is as good as it should be that there is no need to add colour or spices.

In politics, we have recently been introduced to a political party that has a basket full of fruits as its logo. It has no pretence to any national spread.

The party, New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, has no elected governor, senator, member of Federal House of Representatives, state assemblies’ member or LGA chairman anywhere in Nigeria.

NNPP logo
NNPP logo

But in Kano, it has no qualms at all because the national party leader happened to be the former Governor of Kano State and worldwide leader of Kwankwasiyya movement, Engineer Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.

Kwankwaso is a politician with a lot of history, as well as a huge grudge against the incumbent state governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. And the former also has a lot of scores to settle with topflight politicians in Kano.

Kwankwasiyya mania

Being a great mobilizer of youths who pulls great crowds, and a populist politician of high standing in Kano, even though a poor or aggressive team player, Kwankwaso has vowed to unseat the current party in power. He is also poised to sack the entire government machinery come 2023 for a more vibrant, purposeful, revitalised and accountable government that fits his belief and mindset.

The former governor has after quitting the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) amidst serious frictions and acrimony, mutual disbelief and distrust, ended up first as a member of NNPP, then its national leader and almost simultaneously, its sole presidential aspirant.

Kwankwaso picks NNPP presidential forms
Kwankwaso picks NNPP’s presidential forms

Whatever is the case, an NNPP has come to town. And in Kano, it is truly picking disgruntled elements of the ruling party, APC and opposition PDP in droves to its fold.

Season of defections

In Nigeria, it is almost customary that state governors tend to lose their heads, make glaring mistakes that become causes for disastrous ending.

Kwankwaso made that error in 2003, and lost to the then dark horse in Malam Ibrahim Shekarau. Shekarau also failed to manage his party members and his candidate lost to the opposition.

And unless Ganduje realizes this soonest, it may be late for his government to fight back the impending opposition.

Defections and carpet-crossing by hefty politicians is hitting the APC government in Kano very badly. And the destination has been as expected, the NNPP, which has overtaken and overran the PDP in the opposition race.

NNPP gladiators
NNPP gladiators

For now, Kano APC has lost its chief of state in the Government House, Hon. Ali Haruna Makoda, some members of the House of Representatives, some members of the State Assembly and commissioners to the NNPP. It is a whirlwind at the moment and only time can tell when it will stop.

The Shekarau mystique

Former governor Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, CON, senator representing Kano Central Senatorial District and founding member of the APC, remained one of the biggest fishes the NNPP had worked hard to catch into its bag.

And surely, on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 Malam Shekarau decamped to the NNPP amidst a tumultuous crowd at his residence of Mundubawa quarters in Kano metropolis.

With his defection, analysts believe it will be miraculous for the ruling APC to retain its machinery in the state come 2023.

It is noteworthy that while the NNPP are jubilating for adding Malam Shekarau,  and his teeming supporters to their fold, the combination with the Kwankwasiyya elements will bring to fore the possibility or otherwise of a political rancour that might arise between the two factions in the state.

The gang-ups

In 2015, Ganduje and Kwankwaso of the APC fought together to defeat Shekarau’s appendage, Malam Salihu Sagir Takai, who was then in the PDP. Then in 2019, Ganduje and Shekarau teamed to stop Kwankwaso who had returned to the PDP from installing his own protégée, Abba Kabir Yusif.

With all things being equal, in 2023, it will be Kwankwaso and Shekarau now of NNPP who will be battling Ganduje’s consensus candidate, Dr. Nasiru Gawuna of the APC.

Ganduje anoints Gawuna and Garo
Ganduje anoints Gawuna and Garo

As it is, it has always been a combination of any two gladiators winning against the one isolated.

In all these, Kwankwaso installed Ganduje in 2015 and himself went to the Senate while Shekarau lost out. Ganduje won two terms of governor from 2015-2023, and will not contest for anything in 2023 but hope to install his deputy, Gawuna, to succeed him.

The discontents

Now that Senator Shekarau has settled, there are a plethora of interpretations as regard the consequences of such actions.

Noting very well that there are no permanent friends in politics but permanent interests, one may begin to ask, what are the permanent interests that drove Shekarau to the Kwankwasiyya den?

And how can one look at it that only Shekarau actually benefits and not his teeming followers?

We may as well ask, what is the fate of the political tripod which Shekarau has been a pillar of in Kano? Is it now subsumed into Kwankwasiyya? And we hope the alliance won’t go sour just as a fruit salad do not normally remain fresh in the heat!

The fervent prayer on the lips of many keen political watchers is for this marriage of convenience to last. Anything short of that is tantamount to swaying the Kano populace to shortsighted political exuberance that is not meant to work.

But it remains to be seen how it will turn out in 2023 between the parties in the race.


M. A. Nababa

M. A. Nababa is an essayist with deep interest in education and history. He has written on several topical issues for decades. And he is the co-founder of Memorila.

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