By Muhammad Abdurrahman
Professor Umar Farouk of the Department of Mass Communication, Bayero University, Kano and a former Kano State Commissioner of Information during the second tenure of Dr Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso spoke with The Daily Reality on the possibility of Malam Ibrahim Shekarau’s return to the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and the possible emergence of the Third Force before 2023 elections.
Prof. Farouk said that “Mal. Ibrahim Shekarau’s decamping to APC didn’t help him. They don’t respect him. Someone as eloquent as Shekarau is now missing in the headline tells you there is a problem in APC. His silence tells you he is not happy with the manner he is treated. He is just waiting for an opportunity to break his silence.”
“When he was at PDP, Dr Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso visited him, sought for his support and made him many promises when they form a government. But Shekarau thought differently and decamped to APC. Even though people see him as our arch-rival, look at how Kwankwasiyya supporters received him at the airport without any hard feelings. Look at how they escorted him to his car, and also those at Nassarawa Local Government look at their pictures with him. This is the discipline instilled in them by our “Jagora” [Kwankwaso].”
A similar incident brought Senator Kwankwaso and the Minister of Communication, Dr Isa Aliyu Pantami, at the same Malam Aminu Kano Airport in 2019. At that time, some Kwankwasiyya supporters shouted at the latter, a few others attempted to wrestle him. Recalling this regrettable incident, Prof. Farouk responded, “Dr Isa Pantami was only unlucky because of the political climate at that time. And that brawl was mainly premeditated by a lot of issues.”
Since 2003, supporters of Kwankwaso and Shekarau dominated political programmes on Kano radio stations with talks and counter talks on the two political giants. But it seems that is no longer the case.
Prof. Farouk argued, “To the best of my knowledge, it is infrequent now, that is if even it happens to see a bona fide Kwankwasiya supporter criticising Shekarau on both social media and conventional media. Considering how the leadership of APC in Kano and at the national level treats him, we sympathise with him. A Kano State governor for eight years; a former minister and presently a senator of Kano Central, but his party, APC, doesn’t see his worthiness. He is not contacted about the party’s activities in most cases as he was not considered in the previous local government elections.”
“There is a possibility that both Shekarau and Kwankwaso will forget their differences and form a formidable alliance to bring the change people have been aspiring for because we all tested the bitterness of APC’s administration. Shekarau was from PDP, and certainly, he will return. We, the Kwankwasiyya bloc, have an existing structure that is waiting for him. It is not a shame if he comes back to his home, PDP. His return will certainly boost the strength of PDP,” said Prof. Farouk.
The Third Force is not a new phenomenon in Nigeria’s politics, especially when there are crises in the ruling party and things are not faring well. Both politicians and the governed look for an alternative. Prof. Farouk added, “Though it is a bit late, Third Force is inevitable considering the political unrests in the country. Both APC and PDP have internal crises with many cases in the court about the leadership structure and other issues.”
“There would be a lot of movements to and from both parties depending on where the wind blows. Therefore, governors, senators, and state and federal representatives need to be the third force to cause any change. Without these people, it is a futile exercise to talk about the third force. This is the reason why, often, some people stay in the ruling party because it has the resources to win elections, legitimately or otherwise.”
“But naturally, there must be an opposition. Those members who stay and nurse their ambition to fruition will win. This is what President Muhammadu Buhari did for many years, and in the end, APC won. So you must be patient,” Prof. concluded.