By Dr Ibrahim Siraj
Apparently, no governorship election ever in Kano has drawn a larger number of aspirants than the forthcoming 2023 elections. From the two major parties to other newer and smaller parties, no fewer than a dozen people are vying to lead our great Kano State.
There is however a great deal of interest in what happens in APC owing to the obvious reason that it is the ruling party in the State and the fact of its factionalization and the intrigues that surround it even as parties in the party’s leadership legal tussle await the verdict of the Supreme Court expected to be delivered any moment from now.
This notwithstanding, the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) appears to have the largest number of aspirants many of whom have started mobilization through their support groups and the recalibration of their political structures throughout the State. Each of them though would hope to be Governor Ganduje’s ‘anointed’ candidate knowing full well the value and power of such ‘anointment’ in influencing the outcome of the primary election in Nigeria’s democracy. Other aspirants may not have the privilege of asking for more than just a level playing field.
While the search for Ganduje’s successor continues, some people are inclined to believe that The Kano State Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Alhaji Murtala Sule Garo is the one going by some public utterances made by the Governor’s wife to that effect although the government was quick to issue a disclaimer to douse the tension generated by such outburst. There are others who feel the Governor would anoint his Deputy the same way he was anointed by Kwankwaso but in the hope that all will end well. And this brings me to my main topic.
For me, the farthest Murtala Sule Garo can go on a governorship ticket is the position of Deputy Governor due to reasons that are so obvious enough to be called common knowledge. Murtala Garo may be a tenacious, fearless, dependable and reliable political mobilizer in his own right but he appears to be lacking in so many qualities needed to govern a complex state like Kano: education (western and Islamic), administrative experience, exposure, charisma, urbaneness, etc. This is not to add the huge baggage of antagonists (I don’t want to call them enemies) that he has cultivated for himself either through his role as the most powerful Commissioner in Ganduje’s government or his role as “Commander” of the ruling party’s “militant wing”.
APC’s surest bet under the circumstances, therefore, is no other person than Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna. The Deputy Governor has all it takes to lead Kano in 2023. All that is lacking in Garo is present in Gawuna in sufficiently varying proportions. Gawuna is well educated and vastly experienced. He has the exposure, experience, sagacity, shrewdness, administrative acumen and humble mien to make a good governor. His cosmopolitan nature makes it easier for him to connect and relate well with the different strata of Kano society. His politeness coupled with his approach to politics makes him earn the respect of political gladiators across party divides. He abhors politics of bitterness and adversity. He, as a result, has the smallest number of antagonists possible for a politician of his calibre. Ultimately, he will be relatively an easy sell by a party suffering from a serious popularity crisis.
His over seven years as Local Government Chairman, his decade-old experience as Commissioner (and member of the State Executive Council) as well as his five years as Deputy Governor have more than prepared him for the job. None of the aspirants can boast of leadership skills and training acquired through years of on-the-job experience like Gawuna.
As a beneficiary of financially autonomous Local Government administration, Gawuna understands what it means to have a functional local government system that is able to cater for the immediate needs of our masses in the realization of the noble objective of bringing government closer to the people. He will be expected therefore to end the obnoxious joint state-local government account that has paralyzed governance at the local level and is further pauperizing our local populations.
Should APC field Gawuna and other parties equally field their own best, the task of choosing a good leader for Kano will be made much easier for the people. It will be a matter of choosing the best among the best for our State. We must therefore encourage all political parties to present their best materials so that whoever wins our dear State will be better off for it. The opportunity to vote for good leaders is often missed at the level of the primary election.
May Allah make the best of choices for us, Ameen!
Dr Ibrahim Siraj writes from Kano and is a lecturer with the Department of Mass Communication, Bayero University, Kano.