Kwankwaso: A Red Cap on a Red Neck By Tahir Ibrahim Tahir
He was once a minister of defense and those times he wore military khaki have made him look like a real red neck soldier (military police), but eventually I believe it’s his idiosyncrasy and resolute approach to issues and politics that make his personality smirk of militarism. Then comes the red cap symbolism of Kwankwasiyya in Kano which consolidates the Gov Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso ideology and political school of thought, akin to the kind of strong and religious followership that the late Mallam Aminu Kano enjoyed in the days of the People’s Redemption Party, PRP. For a politician in Kano today to appear in a function without a red cap is an act in great variance with the norm and is like a palm wine tapper going to the palm tree without his gourd. Kwankwaso has staunch followership and the control and support he enjoys is phenomenal. For now, Kano’s political power is in his kitty.
His government publishes its executive council meetings and contract awards are transparent and economical, the best case scenario of due process. Revenue generation has grown by 300 percent and internal revenue stops at nothing short of a billion naira; that is at least 6 million dollars. Primary Schools are being built in attractive 3-storey types, furnished and made free in all Kano communities and I presume that extends to secondary schools as well. Miraculously almajiris have been swept off the choked up streets of Kano, a feat that hasn’t been achieved in northern Nigeria for the last 2 decades, and this is aside the real transformation of Kano metropolis. Old, archaic and out of place city gates are being demolished and space is being opened up to eliminate the traffic choke ups that hold motorists hostage.
It is even a subject of comedy now as the governor is being quoted as saying that people should snap Kofar Nassarawa (a famous mud and marsh city gate) to show the next generation whenever history is recounted. The man is witty and effective in service delivery and has definitely permeated the citizenry of Kano with democratic dividends. Kwankwaso has been able to engage citizens of his state like Dangote to contribute to poverty alleviation with over N11 billion expended in that regard. He has even built a school in neighbouring Niger Republic with the vision that Nigeriens flocking to Kano will be reduced while foreign earnings for Kano are increased. He envisages that pupils from Kano that attend the schools will also learn foreign trade and language and at the end of it all, money sent back home by these future traders and craftsmen abroad will boost Kano’s economy.
Little wonder, the courage and confidence the man exudes, he is a performer and an authoritative politician as far as Kano is concerned. When his son got married recently, nobody knew and the usual extravagant and over bloated nature of the ceremonies involving VIP weddings was missing. He has been the voice that has continually challenged the onshore offshore oil dichotomy and has been successful in getting support from members of the National Assembly. He audaciously called for the ‘head’ of the National Population Commission boss for publicly rubbishing his former bosses and condemning NPC figures.
The thimblerig he displayed in the governors forum elections left Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau state and his supporters jaw dropped as they couldn’t find which pebble was under what cup and only realised eventually that they had lost, and lost democratically too. It appears Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers state draws inspiration and support from Kwankwaso-led opposition in the PDP and in the governors forum. Amidst the drama and confusion the PDP is facing, Kwankwaso has not minced words in threatening that they would simply decamp to the APC if their grievances are not resolved. He and the 6 governors have been very brazen in their protests which a rare sight is in as much as a presidency and the strength of its incumbency are concerned and their rebellion can only be healthy to the evolution of our democracy.
Kwankwaso’s rebellion is huge when one considers the size of Kano’s voting prowess, second only to Lagos and as it obtains now, the PDP has lost these two colossal states, implying the civilised Nigerian voting super powers are not with the ruling party. APC is keen on wooing
Kwankwaso and his men, and this will consolidate the party’s seemingly formidable grasp of 2015. His remarks towards APC is a clear pointer of things to come and it’s almost inconceivable that he will retrace his steps and fold back to the PDP in view of the depth of the gash that has torn him and his colleagues from the ruling party. His reverence and respect for General Muhammadu Buhari had been thinly veiled and the followership he has in Kano is much like the one Buhari has across Northern Nigeria and as such, a public fusion of the two is almost an obituary of the PDP. Governors Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto and Sule Lamido of Jigawa have similarly rich political might and will obviously go the Kwankwaso way.
As we observe the festering crises of the PDP and the obstinate way the presidency is further rupturing the party’s ties, the onus is on the opposition, to turn the ruling party’s curse into its own blessings. Were 2015 a card game, then APC has at least three jokers in the likes of Buhari, Kwankwaso and Fashola in their hands and when the impotence of this government continues to crush the masses of our dear Nigeria, the opposition does stand a huge chance of staging a very historic and necessary victory.
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