Murtala, Abacha Sons Set to Battle for Kano PDP Governorship Ticket
Mohammed Abacha and Risqua Mohammed, both sons of Nigeria’s former heads of state, General Murtal Muhammed and General Sani Abacha are set to battle for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), governorship ticket in Kano state.
These analyst says will create another round of crisis in the party as the desperation of the contenders may lead to a political war in the state.
It was gathered that Alhaji Mohammed Abacha, son of Nigeria’s former head of state, late General Sani Abacha as well as Alhaji Abba Risqua Mohammed, the only surviving son of another ex-head of state, General Murtala Ramat Mohammed would scramble to secure the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governorship ticket for Kano State in the next few months.
Already, the political battle between the one-time members of the first family in Nigeria has generated tension in political circles in the ancient city of Kano. Also, their henchmen have started serious work, with reported underground permutations both in Kano and Abuja to smooth their path to success.
Unconfirmed reports say that dragging the sons of the two late army generals into the Kano governorship race was an idea that sprouted from the presidency in order to wrestle power from the opposition All Progressives’ Congress (APC) government. Kano is presently under the leadership of Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, a known political foe of President GoodluckJonathan’s PDP-led federal government.
It is further observed that for a while now, Jonathan and Kwankwaso have engaged in public altercations. The verbal war reached its zenith when Jonathan came to Kano to receive Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, who defected to PDP. It is therefore, the sworn determination of Jonathan and his lieutenants in the PDP to ‘recapture’ Kano in the next general elections at all cost.
It was reliably gathered that following the inability of the PDP-led federal government to use members of the Kano State House of Assembly to sack Kwankwaso as was done in Adamawa State; the battle has been shifted to the 2015 general elections. But the barrier remains that 34 out of the 40 members of the Kano State House of Assembly are of the APC; leaving PDP with just six.
It was further learnt that to perfect the political game plan, the presidency has allegedly settled for the two sons of the former heads of state in a desperate bid to use the influence of their fathers and financial muscle to dismantle Kwankwaso’s political stronghold as well as APC’s structures in the state.
Analysts say the sudden dropping of the N446 billion theft charges against Mohammed Abacha by the federal government is seen as part of the design to cleanse and place him in good stead for the contest.
Investigations suggest that in 2011, one of the factors that militated against the emergence of the younger Abacha as Kano governorship flag-bearer under the platform of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) was the corruption charges that were hanging on his head. Up till the day of the election, he unsuccessfully battled for the ticket with General Lawal Ja’afaru Isa (rtd).
Late last year, he returned to the PDP at the instance of former national chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur. Confirming the stance of Abacha to contest come 2015, secretary of his campaign committee in 2011, Alhaji Shehu Sagagi, said they are not leaving any stone unturned in actualising his governorship ambition.
“Yes I can confirm to you that Mohammed Abacha is going to contest come 2015. He possesses the wherewithal to take the state to the next level. We will work with anybody to actualise our dream,” Sagagi told Weekly Trust.
He however, denied reports that Abacha is being sponsored by the presidency, saying: “I don’t know anything like that. What I know is that he is mobilising for himself. What we are looking for is the backing of Almighty Allah and not that of anybody.”
In PDP, Mohammed Abacha is seen as the only person that has the financial muscle to engage Kwankwaso’s candidate come 2015, hence his choice by the presidency.
Interestingly too, the two sons of the generals’ both lost their fathers while on the seat of power at different times. While, Risqua’s father, General Mohammed was assassinated in a military coup on February 13, 1976; Mohammed’s father, General Abacha died in Aso Rock on June 8, 1998. Also, both were bundled out of seat of power at the death of their fathers, but they have remained around the corridors of power and can feel the contour of power in many ways.
Nevertheless, the governorship ambition of General Mohammed’s son is no less generating political discourse in the ancient city. It started with a call by members of the Kano Good Governance Project (KGGP) weeks ago. The group had at a gathering attended by dozens of political groups in the state invited Risqua to join the governorship race, saying he possesses the wherewithal to turn around the state.
The group’s coordinator, Alhaji Shehu Usman Umaru, said they are wooing Risqua in view of his numerous noble leadership qualities bequeathed to him by his great late father.
“As the only surviving son of General Murtala, we find it desirous and needful to approach him with a sincere proposal to come forward and serve the people of Kano State as we are confident of his capacity to turn around the state,” he said.
Risqua, who was a Special Assistant to President Olusegun Obasanjo on International Relations for seven years, had indicated his interest in the job during a reception in Kano. He had revealed that he is considering heeding to the call of the people of the state to serve them.
“From all corners, people are mounting pressure on me to contest for the governorship race of our great state, Kano. I’m giving their calls serious consideration because we all want our state to be great,” the late General’s son said.
He added that he would not hesitate to do anything within his reach for the development of the state, saying those calling him are doing so because of his background and successes in his private businesses.
“Very soon I will make my intention known to the public because I can sacrifice anything for my state and country. Very soon, I will let you know what I will be contesting for come 2015,” he said. He dismissed reports that he is being sponsored by the presidency to wrestle power from Kwankwaso’s APC in Kano.
“Nobody has called me from the presidency for this purpose. But like I said, it is a duty for all of us to see that our state moves forward. I’ve no option than to be part of nation building at any level. I will definitely accept their calls,” Risqua added.
But many are saying the ambition of the duo may tear the PDP in the state apart, as Malam Ibrahim Shekarau’s camp of the party is still pushing for the candidature of the Malam Sagir Takai, who was sponsored in 2011 under the platform of the now rested All Nigerian People’s Party (ANPP).
Takai was previously sponsored for the governorship seat by Malam Shekarau on expiration of his tenure. However, he was defeated at the ballot by Kwankwaso who staged a comeback. Aside from Takai, many other aspirants are gunning for the PDP ticket, a development that the party may find difficult to handle without stoking crisis.
In the PDP camp of Shekarau, who is now education minister, members are insisting on firmly supporting the candidature of Takai. For them, it is either Takai or nobody. “It is only Takai I know that is contesting for the seat, all others are jokers,” a strong member of the camp said.
But in the APC, the aspirants for the plum job are working underground for now. Except for the deputy governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, who tacitly made his intention to govern Kano State public last Sunday, others who are nursing the ambition in the ‘Kwankwasiya’ movement of APC are playing a hide and seek game.
The APC parades more aspirants than the PDP with most of them in the ‘Kwankwasiya’ movement, but only those who were in the APC before the defection of Kwankwaso are not hiding their ambition. Among them are General Lawal Ja’afaru Isa, Senator Kabir Gaya and Hon. Kawu Sumaial. The trio has since made their intention to vie for the position public.
Culled from Weekly Trust with Additional reports from Abusidiqu
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