Kwakwanso
For a
myth that took so long to construct, how sad that it took just a fleeting
moment Monday for
 Kwankwasiya to be
finally dismantled. Sadder still, unlike the loud song and wild dance witnessed
at its christening years ago, there was no ceremony – much less the customary
parade of iconic red caps – the day Governor Umar Ganduje of Kano publicly
disowned his mentor and predecessor, Rabiu Kwankwaso.
Speaking
in Dakata, the estranged godson described his godfather in very grave terms:
“Most contracts undertaken by Kwankwaso were carried out with several
misdeeds and betrayals which I’ll soon expose for people to know the calibre of
person my predecessor was.

Then
pressing the equivalent of a nuclear button, Ganduje alleged a grand plot
against President Buhari vis-a-vis the 2019 succession: “Some people have
been trying to undermine President Buhari with all sorts of things. We’ll not
tolerate it again here in Kano because we’re tired of his (Kwankwaso’s)
atrocities… People who are now telling all sorts of things are sycophants.
They don’t want Buhari to succeed.
 

“These
people know themselves. When it gets to that stage, I’ll name them one after
the other. We’re solidly behind President Buhari and his programmes and the
people of the state will not support anyone or groups of people working against
President Buhari and his programmes.”
Louis Odion

Indeed, a
crisis of confidence had been brewing quietly between Ganduje and Kwankwaso
since last year. At the root is what seems an ego. Things finally went out
hands two weeks ago when the Kano governor lost his mum. A version of the story
has it that Kwankwaso was the first person Ganduje broke the sad news to. But
rather than personally attend the burial which happened same day, the former
sent a representative. This apparently did not go down well with the grieving
governor, considering that the Federal Government deemed it appropriate to send
a high-powered delegation and distant friends like Governor Aminu Tambuwa of
Sokoto found time to attend despite the short notice.
When
Kwankwaso finally turned up three days later, he, in his own wisdom, put up a
carnival of sorts. The story is told that his associates in each of Kano’s 44
councils were mobilized to join his convoy at the city gate in two buses per
district. By the time the senator’s caravan stopped in the governor’s native
Ganduje village, no fewer than 150 vehicles were counted.
 
Kwakwanso, Anyim & Donald Duke

Given the
tension already in the air, the governor’s camp were quick to read politics to
Kwankwaso’s showing. In fact, the hardliners likened it to dancing on the fresh
grave of the governor’s mother.
 

Ganduje
himself lent credence to this in his Monday outburst: “God wanted to
expose his (Kwankwaso’s) antics perpetrated against the President, he chose my
mother’s death to launch (his) presidential campaign. But we leave him with the
people.”
So far,
Kwankwaso has not responded. In the interim, we can only speculate on the real
forces fueling the sudden turn of events in Kano today. But one thing is
certain: Kwankwaso’s vulnerability is exposed and the durability of his
eponymous movement severely questioned. If truly there is any depth to his
 Kwankwasiya postulation as a tentative preface to a
progressive ideology, it remains to be seen in a coherent articulation, beyond
the vanishing comedy of the procession of a rambunctious mob in gaudy red caps.
 
Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje

Obviously,
Kwankwaso’s bragging right on the national state today is premised on a claim
to the dominion of Kano’s political space. As governor, he delivered all the 44
councils to APC in 2014. To rub it in, he would take space on the front page of
leading national dailies to advertise PDP’s humiliation in Kano under his
command.

In the
subsequent general elections of March 28, 2015, not only did Kwankwaso also
inspire APC to rout PDP in the presidential poll, he made a clean sweep of the
senatorial and House of Reps seats as well. He magisterially cemented his
invincibility by annexing one of the senatorial seats to himself. But with
Ganduje now up in arms, it is obvious Kwankwaso already has an insurgency to
deal with at home. The falcon can no longer hear the falconer. Tellingly,
members of the Kano Assembly reportedly passed a resolution Tuesday forbidding
the wearing of the fraternal red caps, symbolically marking the severance of
allegiance to Kwankwaso.
From what
is now known, questions are bound to be asked in the coming days about
Kwankwaso’s own sense of political judgement from the outset. Before then, no
further diagnosis is needed to certify what is already a clear and present
affliction: the onset of the familiar post-power withdrawal syndrome. Having
been lord and master of Kano for eight years, it would seem Kwankwaso, like
most mortals, is still unable to reconcile himself to the diminution of status
now as former governor. Alas,
 Kwankwasiya, contrary to the inaugural promise, has woefully failed to deliver
to him a blanket immunity for impunity. In the circumstance, the senator,
therefore, deserves our pity.
 
Years
ago, Pius Anyim Pius found himself explaining to an august why he arrived a
national event terribly late. “Please pardon me,” began the then
Secretary to the Government of the Federation. “You know, we politicians,
our ways are never straight. When we say we’re coming, you can never be too
sure because condition may warrant that we make a stop somewhere on the
way.”
Kwankwaso

Candid as
that may sound, the other truth is actually unspeakable. If we bother to dig
deeper, we will find that two chief factors make it near impossible for the
quintessential Nigerian public office-holder to be punctual. Other than
congenital indiscipline, the other would be narcissism rooted in delusion. The
political emperor barely sleeps, often busy doing nothing. And that is only
because, in his base vanity, he simply can’t bear or imagine, even for a
second, moments sleep would naturally steal from him. Being awake forever,
therefore, means a carnal opportunity to suck every waking moment of the
pleasure possible, the same way an infant ravenously lick the candy wrapping
for the last trace of honey.

After
rail-roading his deputy to succeed him, it is only human that the least
Kwankwaso would have expected is that the existing sitting order in Kano’s
temple of power remain. His Ganduje gambit in 2015 was no doubt a novel card on
the table. Indeed, the nation’s memory was already littered with the relics of
succession experiments that had failed. In Enugu of 2007, for instance,
Chimaroke Nnamani had dusted up a political nobody, Sullivan Chime, to succeed
him as his second term was nearing end. But no sooner had INEC declared the
latter governor-elect than he dramatically declared a fatwa on his political
benefactor, thus exposing the inherent deformity of Nnamani’s Ebeano movement.
 
Elsewhere in Cross Rivers, by steamrolling his
childhood buddy, Liyel Imoke, to the Calabar White House in 2007, debonaire
Donald Duke thought he had found a perfect guy to sustain his legacies like the
Tinapa Project. But not only did they begin to have disagreements shortly
afterward, they practically were no longer on greeting terms by the time
Imoke’s first term ended in 2011.
Indeed,
very rare it is in Nigeria’s peculiar political landscape for an incumbent
governor to allow his deputy succeed him like Kwankwaso enthusiastically did
last year. Many quickly interpreted that as the political circumcision and
confirmation of Ganduje, who had cut his first tooth in politics as Personal
Assistant to Kwankwaso in the early 1990s, as the new heir apparent to the
 Kwankwasiya stool. A maximalist, Kwankwaso did not stop
there. He also ensured that Hafiz Abubakar, his old classmate at the Kaduna
Polytechnic more than forty years ago and his one-time Political Adviser and
Finance Commissioner, was made Ganduje’s running-mate.
With
that, the flanks were supposed to have been secured for Kwankwaso’s complete
dominion of Kano’s political space in the foreseeable future. Alas, that
prospects now look threatened.
 
Taken
together, the chief lesson to be drawn from the Ganduje/Kwankwaso conundrum is
that there is no substitute for substance. There is no short-cut to political
immortality other than working selflessly for community in way that your name
eventually get etched in people’s subconscious, not necessarily while still in
power. What will endure has to grow. Without God’s approval, the architect,
however aggressive, soon finds he toiled in vain. Really, only a deluded leader
is carried away by the glut of cenotaphs named after him while still in office.
Or when disciples, out of sycophancy, begin to dress like him or make a badge
of his name to pick crumbs from his golden dining table. The true test of a
leader is whether the same folks will still obey his/her command when he/she is
no longer in a position to doll out cash or favour.
Those
who, therefore, assume they can inherit the future by disguise or condoning the
obscenity of hero-worship today will sooner than later realize it is all an
exercise in futility. Ahmadu Bello, for instance, earned immortality in the
north by the durable castle he built in people’s minds, not the financial
empire bequeathed to his brood. Awo’s fur cap assumed transcendental halo only
after his transition. In contemporary terms, Bola Tinubu today has grown much
bigger out of office than when in power only because yesterday he was willing
to die for his convictions in the grave hour when compromise was more
convenient and lucrative. Greater is he who is able to exercise authority in
the society without political power.
The
crisis of value as illustrated by the unravelling of
 Kwankwasiya  also probably explains the big mess Luiz Lula da Silva now finds
himself in Brazil. As two-term president, the former unionist lived a lie. Poor
Brazilians were charmed with his affectation of the common touch. But recent
revelations have exposed the comrade as nothing but a conman who was busy
enriching himself inside office while the toiling masses naively cheered
outside. Freed from a brief detention by the Brazilian police a fortnight ago
as investigation of massive graft during his reign gets underway, Lula is now
gasping for political oxygen. From being two-term president, he is presently
lobbying for a lowly minister’s job under incumbent president and his protege
to fortify himself and evade imminent trial.
In Kano, the gloves are now obviously discarded
as the ancient megalopolis south of Sudan braces for certain political
turbulence ahead.

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