Though the All Progressives Congress, (APC), is the ruling government in Kano State, the political party is somehow “sleepy,” leaving the opposition role to some elements within the ruling party.
In retrospect, Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), was the first party that formed government in the state after the return of democracy to Nigeria in 1999.
Dr. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, who contested for governorship under the party, won the election and governed for a four-year single tenure between 1999 and 2003. Kwankwaso, now a senator representing Kano Central at the National Assembly, re-contested for his second tenure under the PDP in 2003 but lost to Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau of the defunct All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP). Shekarau, ruled for eight straight years between 2003 and 2011. Kwankwaso re-contested and won the governorship polls under the same platform, the PDP as in his first tenure.
However, about two years into his second tenure, precisely in November 2013, Kwankwaso and his supporters decamped to the APC, a party that was formed through a merger of the defunct ANPP, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).
It was apparent that prior to Kwankwaso’s defection, the PDP in the state was vibrant and indeed full of ideas as far as political activities are concerned. But the party became inactive shortly after Kwankwaso and his supporters left, to the extent that PDP is no longer playing the role it was expected of as a major opposition party.
It was observed that, the Kwankwasiyya, a popular pressure group within the APC is more vibrant than PDP as far as checkmating the activities of the incumbent government of Kano State is concerned.
The Public Relations Officer of the PDP in Kano, Alhaji Musa Danbirni, told Daily Trust on Sunday that the party is not inactive as claimed by some politicians. Rather, he said the party deliberately keeps mum to enable the APC rule for at least two years, gauge what it has done and then make comparison with public expectations vis-a-vis what the PDP did when it governed the state.
He said: “We intentionally remain silence to give the ruling APC a grace of at least two years before we would start bringing out its wrongdoings and weaknesses for people to see and of course to judge.
“You know the first two years of government are meant for fulfilling campaign promises, while the last two years are meant for political campaigns and elections.
“So, PDP is not quiet in Kano. We are studying and analyzing the activities of the incumbent government so that by time we start exposing it, people would understand our points. From May 29, 2015 when governor Ganduje took over power to date, the people of Kano had felt both the positive and negative impacts of the APC-led administration and I am sure they can differentiate which government is better- the PDP or the APC,” he said.
The PDP spokesman said after all, Kwankwasiyya is doing the opposition from within, noting that the APC’s internal crisis is exposing the party’s weaknesses in Kano. He added that Kwankwasiyya is doing the bidding of PDP and that is why the PDP is not paying much attention to opposition.
“But when it is time for the real opposition, the people of Kano will witness what PDP will do. The two years we had set aside is around the corner,” he assured.
On Kwankwaso’s defection to the APC, Danbirni explained that it was President Muhammadu Buhari’s influence that helped APC win election in Kano and not Kwankwaso, adding that if not for the “Buhari factor”, APC couldn’t have defeated PDP in the state in the last general election. According to him, three months to the conduct of the 2015 general elections, indicators had shown that it was PDP that would form government in the state, but the Buhari factor changed the calculations.
Danbirni said the PDP is currently restructuring its house ahead of the 2019 general elections and the party would come out stronger, assuring that PDP would give the ruling party a tough time come 2019.
“PDP is concentrating on reconciliation of its aggrieved members. Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau and other big wings in the party are greatly helping the party in this direction. And by the time we would start opposing the ruling party, I am sure people would understand the reasons why PDP adopted the strategy of keeping mum for at least two years,” Danbirni said.
However, chairman of the APC in the state, Alhaji Umar Haruna Doguwa, said PDP is non-existent and that no miracle would bring back the party to life again.
He said the party was killed by impunity and lack of internal democracy, saying “after the return of democracy in 1999, the party was answering its name-the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), because there was high level of internal democracy in all its activities. But later, some people introduced impunity and killed the spirit of internal democracy. “Senator Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso and his supporters dumped the party because of lack of internal democracy. Although members of PDP are now committed in restructuring the party in Kano, but I don’t think they would achieve their aims because from all indications, they have not gotten to the root of the problem,” he said.
Doguwa said unless internal democracy is restored in the PDP and the issue of impunity addressed, it would not make any impact in Kano as far as politics is concerned.
He therefore, advised members of the party to join the APC, a party which he said, allows internal democracy to work, saying “we, in the APC don’t believe in impunity because internal democracy is crucial in democracy.”
On his part, a chieftain of the PDP in the state, Alhaji Musa Iliyasu Kwankwaso, said contrary to Doguwa’s claims, the PDP will bounce back stronger before the next general elections, saying the party will surprise the ruling party come 2019.
Kwankwaso said Kwankwasiyya as an ideology is just hovering between APC and other political parties, alleging that the leader of the movement, Senator Kwankwaso is planning to dump APC for another party.
He said: “Kwankwaso may likely return to PDP because he has been contacting our party’s national body on the issue. I have heard from reliable sources that the former governor is planning to dump APC for another party before the 2019 general elections.”
But what focus politics in Kano will take, won’t not be too long to determine as underground palpitations for 2019 general election has begun.
See also: Amendment of the Electoral Act