Date Published: 05/18/10
The Ingrates Should Pay By Sa’idu Mohammed Sanusi
When sometime late last year the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in Kano held its stake-holders’ meeting, nobody among all who attended the meeting seemed to have deciphered reasons behind holding the talk-shop. It was seemingly held when agitation for the office of the Chief Executive and number one citizen of the state was gathering momentum in the face of its impending vacancy.
Late in 2009, Ustaz Ibrahim Khalil presumed spiritual leader of Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, curiously began to show interest in partisan political activities in Kano State more than in what he was known for. The Muslim scholar might have developed interest in mainstream politicking in Kano, especially the office of the governor for whatever reason. A moment before, the Council of Ulama’a in Kano of which Ibrahim Khalil was a leading member indicated interest in who will take-over from Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau in 2011, which was fair, regarding the Council’s position as a major stake-holder in a state supposedly pursuing Shari’a as a policy. The Council might be working independently or was prompted to.
There was no harm if the Council of Ulama’a in Kano showed concern over an impending political vacancy and transition in a state presumably guided by Shari’a tenets. But people were suspicious when the indefatigable Khalil, an unrepentant pro-establishment, began to develop interest in replacing Shekarau in 2011 as the Governor. The idea that began as a speculation was later elevated to a higher political possibility when a disciple of Khalil wrote a book whose launching was hurriedly made a major political event in the year. Political observers believed the book launching on Ustaz Ibrahim Kalil was, indeed, a political launching of the personality as a successor to Governor Ibrahim Shekarau.
But even if the book launching on Ustaz Ibrahim Khalil had a political motive of marketing the subject matter as a possible replacement of Governor Shekarau, it would not be said to have made maximum impact, as it was seemingly a political flop. The launching had, of course, held but did not attract the crowd and personalities it was expected to; neither did it send any powerful political message to Kano electorate. Its success, if any, was rather measured politically. Moreover, it was clear to its organisers that their political product was a hard sale, as there was no unanimity on whether Ustaz Khalil was acceptable as a possible replacement for Shekarau, even though the Governor was suspected of complicity in the high-wired political activity. Khalil might be one of the people he was comfortable with as a replacement, for he would not critically probe into his activities in government.
The controversy occasioned by politics of succession in the state did not abate even when Shekarau was practically forced to recapitulate before the press, announcing that he did not anoint anybody as a successor. As a change of strategy, ANPP in Kano was prevailed upon to convene a stake-holders’ meeting where it was resolved that Shekarau as a major stake-holder would give direction to where his successor will come from in 2011. Seemingly savouring the stake-holders’ resolution that was in his favour, Governor Shekarau indicated preference for Salihu Sagir Takai as a replacement, though with a caveat that he was making a personal choice, which was not binding on members of ANPP. The Governor seemed to have pulled a fast one on the presumed ANPP stake-holders, flaunting democratic credentials of not “forcing” anybody to support his anointed replacement. The caveat has portrayed Shekarau as an innocent and harmless political leader, a posture he always likes wearing. A few weeks later a rally in support of the choice was organised allegedly with government support.
Alhaji Salihu Sagir Takai’s resignation from the cabinet a few days later should have sent some political message to those challenging his candidature, especially those occupying government positions. Takai’s resignation might be aimed at misleading the public that Governor Shekarau’s hands were clean, giving a level playing ground. Alhaji Sani Lawan Kofar Mata, the recently sacked Director-General of Kano State Pilgrims’ Welfare Board and erstwhile Director-General of Shekarau’s re-election in 2007 should have seen it coming as someone interested in the Governor’s seat and close enough to understand his shenanigans.
It may amount to political naivety if Sani Lawan Kofar Mata was not expecting his outright sack from that post because of his political effrontery in challenging Shekarau’s choice. He should have treaded Musa Ilyasu’s safe path by endorsing his principal’s choice if he wanted to remain in the post. The next political casualty will probably be Engineer Abdullahi Tijjani Gwarzo, previously described as “loyal” Deputy of Shekarau. Gwarzo is equally guilty of the same “offence” committed by Sani Lawan Kofar Mata by showing strong desire for the number one seat and taking exception to Shekarau’s anointed replacement. In addition, one expects that impeachment proceedings against the Deputy Governor will commence in earnest over some trumped up charges. Who is Gwarzo by the way to audaciously challenge his principal’s anointed choice? Wasn’t he an ordinary chairman of a rural local government before he was elevated to number two positions through the Governor’s magnanimity? The ingrates should pay for their political offence, and shall be reduced to their proper sizes. We are awaiting the fate of Senators Kabiru Gaya and Muhammadu Bello.
One does not doubt Governor Shekarau’s concern of who will take-over from him in 2011. Nonetheless, the Governor should tread softly so as not jeopardise the chances of ANPP in forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state. The governor’s interest will better be served if he is succeeded by someone belonging to the same party than somebody from a different party. Shekarau’s recent actions might have lent credence to the insinuations that he is a plant in the All Nigeria People’s Party, ANPP whose briefing is to snip life out of the party. Kano State is about the only state where ANPP is still breathing, if its chances in the state are stippled, they will soon go into oblivion. Will that be in the interest of Shekarau? Some believe the governor is only interested in his political relevance and safety after he might leave office; and is ready to go any length even if it amounts to destruction of the platform he previously used. It sounds incredible, doesn’t it?
By: Sa’idu Mohammed Sanusi E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org