Sunday 13 July 2014     16 Ramadhan 1435
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Faces eyeing Kwankwaso’s seat

Politicians jostling to take over Africa House, the Kano seat of power, from Engineer Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso whose tenure expires May 29, 2015, have intensified efforts.

Kwankwaso who was first elected governor of Kano state in 1999 was defeated in 2003 by Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau. He staged a comeback in 2011 when he defeated the candidate of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Mallam Sagir Takai sponsored by Shekarau.
With the second tenure of Kwankwaso, who hails from Madobi local government area of the state expiring May 29, next year, no fewer than 15 aspirants cutting across the two major political parties in the state have shown interest in stepping into Kwankwaso’s shoes.
Before the defection of Governor Kwankwaso from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressive Congress (APC), APC had the highest number of aspirants with about 5 persons scheming for the coveted job.
Kwankwaso’s defection has further swelled the number of aspirants in the party with all the contenders in his Kwankwasiya movement playing hide-and-seek in order not to step on the governor’s toes, who years back, cut one of his loyalists to size for showing interest in the job.
The abolishment of the office of the Chief of Staff occupied by the once powerful aide of Governor Kwankwaso, Alhaji Yunusa Adamu Dangwani taught his aides nursing the ambition of succeeding him a lesson.
At the beginning of Kwankwaso’s administration, Dangwani was so powerful in Kano as all memos in the state passed through him. As events around Dangwani suggested that he was nursing an ambition to succeed Kwankwaso, he was redeployed to the ministry of water resources.
It was against this backdrop that aspirants in the governor’s camp are hiding their aspirations but the body languages of three of the governor’s aides have shown that they are interested in succeeding their boss.
Since his return in 2011, Kwankwaso has been indifferent whenever the issue of who succeeds him comes up. But his statement during a recent function in Kano has given upper-hand to those  of the Kwankwasiya movement when he was publicly quoted as saying “the person that will take over from me will be a red cap person.” Red cap is the symbol of the governor’s movement.
In PDP, before the defection of Mohammed Abacha and later Shekarau to the party, it was Akilu Sani Indabawa, Ghali Umar Na’aba among others that were being rumoured to be nursing the governorship ambition.
Sagir Takai and Mustapha Director have since joined in the race to get the PDP governorship ticket in Kano state.
Unconfirmed reports have it that one of the conditions given by Shekarau before his defection to PDP was that Takai, his political godson, would be given the party’s ticket come 2015.
In 2011, Shekarau reportedly forced Takai on the members of the defunct ANPP, a development that negatively affected the electoral fortunes of the party at the polls.  
With the dynamism of Kano politics, it is expected that the political calculations of Kano may change few months to the elections.
Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje
Ganduje, is the deputy governor of Kano State and he has been with the governor since 1999.  In fact, if loyalty could have earned an aspirant a ticket, he will get it because his faithfulness to Kwankwaso is said to be 100 percent.
When Kwankwaso was leaving PDP, without a second thought, Ganduje followed him to the party and he has been playing key role in strengthening the party in the state.
In 2003, when Mallam Shekarau defeated Kwankwaso and President Olusegun Obasanjo made Kwankwaso minister of defence, he appointed Ganduje as his Special Adviser in appreciation of his loyalty.
Although he has not come out publicly to announce his intention to step into his boss’ shoes, feelers have shown that he is all out for the job. Sources said the deputy governor who is carrying out his campaign underground has already taken it to 35 out of 44 local government areas of the state.
The statement of Kwankwaso shortly after the 2011 elections has however punctured Ganduje’s chances. Shortly after the election, Kwankwaso said youth should be given the opportunity to govern the state in 2015. Ganduje was born in 1949 and is 65 this year.
However, leader of a group promoting the candidature of the Deputy Governor Alhaji Abdulmajid Danbiliki Kwamanda who is a die-hard loyalist of General Muhammedu Buhari in Kano State said age is not a barrier to good governance.  Kwamanda who has been going round the state to promote the candidature of the deputy governor, said Ganduje is the only candidate that can continue with the numerous works started by Kwankwaso.
Alhaji Abba Kabir Yusuf
Yusuf is the in-law of Governor Kwankwaso and is the commissioner of works. Like Ganduje, he has not declared his intention to contest for his in-law’s seat but events around him have shown that he is nursing the ambition.
In some quarters, he is being considered as the likely candidate of the governor. When Kwankwaso returned to power in 2011, he appointed Yusuf as his personal assistant, a position he was occupying until he was elevated to the present juicy position. Some multi billion naira projects being executed across the state are overseen by Yusuf, which many say, has empowered him to contest for the job.
Alhaji Rabiu Suleiman Bichi
Bichi is the present Secretary to the Kano State Government and is another person said to be nursing the ambition. His office is playing a vital role in the administration of Kwankwaso.  
After the abolition of the Chief of Staff office in the state, schedules of the office were transferred to the SSG’s office. By virtue of his office, Bichi has wielded enormous political power which would be of tremendous advantage to him in 2015 if he decides to contest.
Lawal Jafar Isa
General Isa was military administrator of Kaduna state during late General Sani Abacha’s regime. During his administration in Kaduna, many chiefdoms were created in the southern part of the state and he performed creditably well in the maintenance of law and order.
His outstanding performance led to his promotion from the rank of Colonel to Brigadier General. He was retired shortly after his promotion and since then he has returned to Kano, his home state.
In 2011, he contested the governorship position under the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). The clash between him and Mohammad Abacha over the ticket dwarfed his chances of winning the poll as it lasted till few weeks to the election. The development confused electorates as to who was the original candidate of the CPC then.
General Isa as he is fondly called in Kano is set to contest on the APC platform. Already, his posters adorn strategic locations in the state. He enjoys a very cordial relationship with General Buhari but his chances may be enveloped by those in the Kwankwasiya movement.
Kabiru Ibrahim Gaya
Gaya is another APC governorship aspirant in Kano state. He is at the moment the Senator representing Kano South Senatorial District at the Senate. He once governed the state on the platform of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC). Gaya, who is the chairman of Senate committee on state and local government administration, was the youngest governor in the country during the botched 3rd Republic.
When the 3rd Republic was truncated in 1993, he returned to his architectural firm only to resurface on the political scene in 2007 when he contested and won Kano South Senatorial seat under the ANPP. He has been in the Senate since then but is now scheming to return to the position he left 20 years ago.
“Gaya is a senator that does not know bounds. He has been touching the lives of people outside his constituency positively. He has answered the calls of the people to contest for the governorship seat come 2015,” Gaya’s media aide, Prince Idris Afegbua said.
Abdulrhaman Kawu Sumaila
He is a serving member of the House of Representatives. Kawu who has been representing Sumaila\ Takai federal constituency of Kano state since 2003 has made his ambition to govern the state public.
Kawu, a firebrand politician, recently faulted the report that he is vying for the governorship seat in order to maintain his seat at the National Assembly come 2015, saying his ambition to govern the state is solid-rock. He is playing a key role in APC in the state.
Ibrahim Khalil
Khalil, is an Islamic Scholar of high repute. He contested in 2011 and now he has been going places trying to sell his candidature.
Ibrahim Little
Little won the governorship primary of the defunct ANPP in 2003 but the ticket was given to Mallam Shekarau.
Since then, Lttile, a business man turned politician has been nursing the ambition to govern the state.
Mohammed Abacha
Abacha, is the son of late Head of State, General Sani Abacha. He defected to PDP at the twilight of Dr. Bamanga Tukur’s era as national chairman of the party.
He contested for the governorship seat in 2011  under the defunct CPC. He slugged it out with General Isa until days to the election. He is said to possess a strong financial base to wrestle power from the APC which is the ruling party in the state.
Sagir Takai
Takai was a commissioner under Shekarau’s administration. He was the person supported by Shekarau at the expiration of his tenure in 2011.
Despite the power of incumbency, Takai, who is Shekarau’s candidate was defeated by Kwankwaso in 2011. He is now in PDP.
Aside these aspirants, there are other persons working to succeed Kwankwaso. Nasrul Gawuna and Ibrahim Kankarofi are believed to be interested in the seat.