Kano & politics of love – By Louis Odion, FNGE

Gov Ibrahim Ganduje

After iconic Gani Fawehinmi,
only a few lawyers would come near Comrade Kanmi Osobu in terms of popularity
vis-a-vis human rights advocacy from the idealistic 70s, through the turbulent
80s to the early divisive 90s. In all Afro Beat originator Fela’s brushes with
the establishment during these epochs, Osobu constantly stood by him through
thick and thin.


An inexhaustible bag of yabis (humour) like Fela,
Osobu was often a spectacle in and out of the court before his demise.

Once, he reportedly returned from a frolicking to
the United Kingdom to a little storm instigated by workers (fellow comrades,
for sure) in his chambers unhappy that whereas they were left to rough it out
at home for months without salaries, their comrade chose to travel out with a
lady-friend to “enjoy”.


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Louis Odion


After listening to the militant submission by the
most senior among the lawyers flaying “this bourgeois indulgence utterly
unbecoming of a true comrade”, Osobu reportedly quipped: “Well,
comrades I heard all you have to say and cannot fault your argument, very
brilliant, except on one point. When you pick quarrel with my traveling
overseas with a lady friend, comrades I only wish to ask you just one simple
question: is our struggle now against love?”


Of course, the room erupted in delirious laughter.

Well, we are tempted to pose this question also
today as erstwhile governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, and his successor
and now estranged political godson, Abdullahi Ganduje, appear to have carried
their animosity to the province of love. Some weeks ago, Kwankwaso, the senator
presently representing Kano Central, announced a plan to bankroll the mass
wedding of 100 couples under the auspices of his non-governmental organization,
the Kwankwasiyya Development Foundation.


As governor between 2011 and 2015, Kwankwaso
formed the habit of helping widows find love by underwriting the mass wedding
as a way of promoting family values. Since the incumbent has not organized any
since assuming office last year, the more politically astute Kwankwaso would
seem to have seen a window to score a political point.


But Ganduje apparently was not ready to allow that
happen. To scuttle the plan, the state soon announced a youth empowerment
programme to hold same day and same time. Determined not to be beaten, the
Kwankwasiyya people announced a postponement of the mass wedding till the
following day.

Kano Mass Wedding


It was at this point that Ganduje decided to flex
some gubernatorial muscle. The police, allegedly at Ganduje’s prompting,
directed that both the youth empowerment event and Kwankwasiyya’s mass wedding
be postponed over adverse “security reports”.


Things however took a bizarre twist Tuesday as
heavily armed policemen sealed off Kwankwaso’s residence at Lodge Road that
doubles as the headquarters of the Kwankwasiyya Movement. The action, according
to the state police spokesman, DSP Magaji Musa Majia, was peremptory
“because of an intelligence report that there is a plan to conduct mass
wedding at the house.”

Rabiu-Kwankwaso


Too bad, the police would appear to move in only
after the proverbial horse had bolted out of the stable. For sources close to
the Kwankwasiyya movement reportedly confided that the mass wedding had already
been conducted on Monday secretly with “only brides and grooms’ next of
kins, including some selected Islamic scholars” present.


Now, what is unclear is whether charges would be
entered against the sponsors of the mass wedding despite a subsisting
restraining order by the police.

Ag. Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim K. Idris


Indeed, Ganduje and Kwankwasiya are free to
continue to seek avenues to trade rough tackles. But it is doubtful if those
who took advantage of the reported mass wedding would be amused. Like Kanmi
Osobu, they must now be wondering if the battle between the godfather and his
estranged godson is also against love.

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