The battle for the governorship elections in the Kano state, the largest in the north western part of the country, will most likely be between the two political heavyweights, Rabiu Kwankwanso and Ibrahim Shekarau rather than the candidates.
Kwakwanso who is the current governor from the All Progressives
Congress, APC, fields his deputy, Abdullahi Ganduje, to take over and continue from where he stopped, while Shekarau fields his loyalist Sagir Takai who is flying the PDP’s flag.
Both actors have been in the political drama of Kano state since the
incumbent governor was still in the PDP, and when Shekarau was still a member of the defunct ANPP.
But what is the strength of the two candidates in the gubernatorial
contest? One factor in favour of Mr. Ganduje is that of incumbency. He was deputy governor to Mr. Kwankwaso between 1999 and 2003 and returned in 2011 when the governor picked the PDP ticket to run for a second term. He is believed to be unquestioningly loyal to his boss. As deputy in the last four years, Mr. Ganduje will inherit his boss’ structure across the state to actualize his ambition. He is believed to be at home with his boss’ political group, Kwankwasiya, which might back him in the race.
Closely related to that is his experience in politics which many believe he will bring to bear in governance. Mr. Ganduje has been in politics for almost 30 years. Apart from serving twice as deputy governor, he had a stint in the academia and had also served as sole administrator of Abaji Area Council and chairman of Gwagwalada Area Council, all in Abuja. He also served as commissioner in various ministries in Kano State during the military era.
Besides all this, Mr. Ganduje’s emergence as the governorship candidate of the APC was less contentious. While two other contenders withdrew; namely Kawu Sumaila and Usman Alhaji, the deputy governor roundly defeated his lone challenger, Jafaru Isa. Thus, there might not be protest votes against him.
On his part, Mr. Takai is equally counted as a political heavy weight in Kano. Although, his political experience is not certain, Mr. Takai’s
incursion into politics dates back to 1999.
A dogged fighter and a grassroots politician, the PDP candidate
contested the chairmanship election for Takai Local Government council under the defunct ANPP and won even when the state was then largely dominated by the PDP. He has since then remained a political force so much so that he earned the respect of every administration in the state. He subsequently served as commissioner for local government in the administration of Mr. Shekarau for several years.
But with the just concluded 2015 elections that saw the APC sweep the state, it is going to likely be a repeat of that pattern and Ganduje
would most likely become winner.
– Verdict: Abdullahi Ganduje wins