Apparently worried by the plans by former Governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and his huge supporters to leave the All Progressives Congress (APC) — over the lingering crisis in the state, President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and the John Odigie Oyegun-led national executive committee of APC have held different meetings with Kwankwaso in the last few days to persuade him to drop the ideal of leaving the party, a source in the presidency told THISDAY in Abuja yesterday.
This came as a close associate of Kwankwaso and former Managing Director of the Nigeria Port Authority, Arc. Aminu Dabo, Friday cautioned the presidency and the national leadership of the party against the huge consequences of taking sides with Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State in the pronounced disagreement between the governor and the former governor.
It was gathered that the different meetings with Kwankwaso and Governor Ganduje came as the political group of the former governor, Kwankwasiya, is expected to meet today to review its planned move.
The Political Adviser to the President, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, confirmed the presidency’s meeting with Kwankwaso and Governor Ganduje in a post on his Facebook account.
“Last night Vice President Yemi Osinbajo led a team of myself, Hon Adamu Farouk to engage Governor Ganduje of Kano on the need for unity and peace in our party in Kano State”, the presidential adviser on politics stated.
“We made substantial progress, just as we did earlier in the week when we met former Governor Kwakwanso. Insha Allah all will be well very soon and we shall once again have one big APC family in the ancient and progressive city.”
Dabo has cautioned the presidency and the national leadership of the party against losing the strongest political base of Buhari/APC to the opposition.
The crisis in Kano APC became pronounced recently when the state Police Commissioner, Rabiu Yusuf, cautioned Kwankwaso from going to his home town for political activities scheduled for last Tuesday. The tension generated by the police advice led to the postponement of the planned visit by Kwankwaso.
Condemning the action of the police, the Senate recently directed the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to provide security cover to Senator Kwankwaso to visit the state.
Speaking with journalists yesterday in Abuja, Dabo accused Governor Ganduje of trying to drag the presidency and the national leadership of the party into the crisis, which he said is “fast consuming” the governor’s political career in the state.
According to Dabo, “Governor Abdullahi Ganduje has suddenly realised that his quarrel with our leader, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso is overwhelming him; that the people of Kano State are not happy with him, and he is becoming very unpopular in the state.
“He has realised suddenly that the only way for him to survive or to feel protected is to bring the presidency and the national leadership of our party into it. This is going to be very serious and the presidency, especially President Muhammadu Buhari, will pay a very huge political price.
“The consequence of taking side with Governor Ganjuje in this crisis will be huge because the people of Kano State are not happy with the governor and what is happening.”
Reminding President Buhari that Kano State remains his “biggest and strongest” political base in the country, and that the state gave him almost two million votes in the 2015 presidential election, Dabo advised the president to be politically correct in relating with all the stakeholders involved in the current crisis in Kano APC.
Dabo, a close political associate of Kwankwaso, who said the current political situation in Kano is very dicey, wondered why the police and the presidency would assist Governor Ganjuje to scuttle a mere visit by Senator Kwankwaso to his senatorial district.
He continued, “How can you stop a normal visit? If you think you are popular why not allow other people to do their own activities? How can you stop a serving senator from visiting his senatorial district? This is very unfortunate.”
Explaining the genesis of the crisis, the respected politician attributed it to what he described as “betrayal of trust” by Governor Ganduje.
“The situation has been on for quite some time; as you can remember, our leader, the former governor, Senator Kwankwaso, worked so hard to install the current governor with all the supports of his followers, but unfortunately he came and betrayed that trust”, Dabo further stated.
“There was nothing personal; Governor Ganduje derailed from the actual concept, ideology and the system of Kwankwasiya group; and all efforts made to let him realise his wrong steps were ignored. He has been treating us as foreigners; we are now like an opposition within our party. He drove us out of the system and brought entirely new people, which is quite unfortunate.”
Giving an inside account of what led to cancellation of Senator Kwankwaso’s planned visit to Kano State, Dabo revealed that the police, the presidency and the governor worked hard to frustrate the visit.
He stated, “After giving a month notice to the police for the visit, the same police also agreed with Governor Ganduje to do a similar political rally on the same date, which is quite unfair. So, at the peak of the visit, we realised they have mobilised virtually all the police from all the northern states to Kano.
“In fact, a day to the activity, there were over 100 police vehicles, intimidating our people in the state, going round and causing panic among the people of Kano.
“Meanwhile, the same police gave maximum security support to the governor — to organise his political activities the same day. They were there in the stadium; they brought a group of sects, who were beating people across the town, and they created a scenario of chaos and anarchy; they wanted to cause mayhem.
“So, our leader – Dr. Rabiu Kwankwaso, viewed it as a very unfortunate situation and said he would not allow his visit to Kano to be used as an excuse by some misguided people to kill innocent people for no just cause.
“So, he realised that it was better to put off the visit for some time, to allow peace to reign. He doesn’t want to cause any confusion in Kano State. However, this is the last time we will allow our fundamental rights to be breached.”
Recalling a similar incident that happened when President Buhari visited Kano some time ago, Dabo added that the governor and his aides also created the same scenario that led to all Kwankwasiya people staying away from the president’s visit.
“We had to withdraw our people just to give peace a chance and this is the second time we are allowing our fundamental right to be trampled upon”, he added.
“The presidency and the national leaders of the party are playing with fire. They know Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso-led APC is the strongest part of APC in Kano State. Ganduje is not popular; he is afraid; he doesn’t want us to show our strength and that is why is creating all these problems.
Dabo said within the context of democratic norms and values, everybody should be allowed to associate freely, participate in free and fair elections; while the government and security agencies have the responsibility to create a levelled playing ground for all to participate.