By Sagir Ibrahim
Recently, we witnessed a new direction in our modern politics, whereby former Governor of Kano State, Engr. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso and other former political heavyweights formed a new movement with an ambition to upset the status quo ante of our politics.
No doubt, Kwankwaso is a political juggernaut with a track record of achievements within his state. I don’t think it will be an exaggeration to say, none among his peers can match him in terms of positive impact on the lives of the poor. From that, he successfully built a team of educated youth that penetrated the nook and crannies of Northern Nigeria. On a visit to any tertiary institution in the North-West, it is rare to register the absence of a lecturer who happened to be a benefactor of the Kwankwaso government or under his present Kwankwasiyya Foundation.
And on the other hand, looking at his peers, for instance, Sokoto, under Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, is not yet free from the shackles of illiteracy despite being a former speaker a second-term governor. Moreover, Sokoto is ravaged by persistent banditry insecurity. So then, how can he save the nation from the current insecurity challenges if he can’t secure his state? But in terms of party acceptance and the 2019 PDP presidential primary election’s result, his political strength is more extensive than Kwankwaso’s.
Although, that will not be unconnected with his ability to forge a good relationship with his party leadership, unlike Kwankwaso, who is known to have mad love for dominating relationships and space without considering others. For instance, when he left PDP for APC in 2014, he dominated the APC in his state by anointing his preferred candidates on the party tickets leaving no room for those he met in the party. The same happened when he defected to PDP from APC. He cornered all the party structure and candidates to his faction without regard for others that were there before him. That forced people like Sen. Ibrahim Shekarau to leave the party.
Kwankwaso’s New Movement
Recently, Kwankwaso launched a new movement that aimed to bring a positive change to the country’s political atmosphere. Known political figures that attended the launching are ex-governors, ministers, political actors and some technocrats. But, there is a possibility that the movement would join an existing political party outside the two major parties to serve as a third force in the upcoming election. Assuming that it joins another party, is he the only person in the movement with a presidential ambition? How ready are his colleagues to assist him financially and politically? Are they influential enough to sway people to vote for him? These and many more questions are begging for an answer.
Currently, forming and marketing a new political party in Nigeria less than a year before the election is almost impossible unless it is a merger of existing political parties. But, unlike this new movement, the influence of its convener is the most potent force that can be marketed. And if he can be sold in his Kano quickly, could that be done in Northeast, which has VP Atiku Abubakar, Ahmed Mu’azu, and Gov. Bala Muhammad that are eyeing the same seat?
Even in the North-West, how well prepared is the movement to confront the likes of Tambuwal that outshined him during the 2019 primary election?
What about Southerners who believe this is their perfect time to clinch the seat? Therefore, Kwankwaso has a lot to face in this new direction.
If not for wishes being horses, he would’ve exercised enough patience to join either of the two bigger parties, especially the APC. Because if the likes of Prof. Yemi Osinbajo emerge as the party flag bearer, they will be left with no perfect match to serve as his running mate than him. But his desperation is for leadership is second to none.
But looking at the constitutional provision, one needs a political party to contest any political seat since there is no constitutional provision for independent candidacy. With this, we can understand the political calculation of Kwankwaso. Going by the obstacle(s) mentioned, there is no possibility of Kwankwaso being the flag bearer of any of the two major parties. At best, joining NNPP could serve as an avenue for him to test his relevance in the national political space since his new party has no candidate of his calibre. Therefore, there’s every possibility for him to clinch the party presidential ticket.
Can He Win?
This is something that only time could tell. But, indeed, if any of the political parties give their ticket to a Northerner, Kwankwaso will now turn into a major spoiler to the Northern votes and a distraction. Thus, this could pave the way for a Southern candidate to victory. And in the end, if God lend us long life to 2027, maybe then he’ll contest again and luckily emerge as a winner since most of the contestants are either in old age or have given up their ambition
Sagir Ibrahim is a graduate of Economics from the Department of Economics, Bauchi State University Gadau. He can be reached via email@example.com.