Nassarawa Elections: Obasanjo versus Shekarau

Nassarawa Elections: Obasanjo versus Shekarau


Abdullahi Tukur Dankoli

A Court of Appeal nullified the election of Sani Ibrahim Babankowa into the Kano State House of Assembly representing Nassarawa Constituency this necessitated a bye-election to fill the vacancy on Saturday 8, April 2006. Since the loss of Kano to the ANPP the PDP led by Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso has been continuously hatching so many evil things against Kano. Some PDP stalwarts have publicly pledged to make sure that a state of emergency is declared in Kano in order to remove Shekarau. A court of law has finally confirmed that the indictment of Dr. Kwankwaso by a judicial commission of inquiry was correct this has returned his party to the drawing board. As the PDP Federal Government is only paying lip-service to corruption it has not summoned to the courage to hand over Kwankwaso to the EFCC. Many Nigerians are now convinced that the EFCC is only for Obasanjo’s enemies as attested by the New York Times editorial (of March 26 2006) or those who have fallen out of favor. Kwankwaso and his cronies have vowed to do Obasanjo’s dirty job for him. Despite his open moral pretensions of belief in probity and accountability and many times he even confirms that Shekarau is one of the few honest governors Obasanjo is all out now terminate Shekarau’s political career to satisfy those who do the dirty job of third term for him. In fact Obasanjo was reported to have said that the Nassarawa Constituency bye-election is between him and Shekarau.

The PDP in Kano is now convinced that it cannot win a free and fair election based on its performance when it was ruling Kano or the performance of its federal government. The discredited PDP administration of Kano State under Kwankwaso was a typical example of misrule and arrogant abuse of power. That administration was so heartless that it refused to pay over 9000 pensioners their entitlements. There was so much unrest and wherever the governor goes there was general feeling of insecurity because of harassment of security agents. Kwankwaso spent more on his personal luxury than on agriculture the largest employer of labor and the mainstay of the state’s economy. He spent N716 million for Governor’s lodge in Abuja and N560 million for the renovation of Government House Kano. That administration did not spend up to N1 billion on agriculture through out its tenure. Similarly Kwankwaso administration did not build a single ward in any of the major hospitals in Kano through out its four years in fact it did not spend up to N100 million on capital expenditure on health. It spent more on road construction without appropriate designs hence most of the roads are now in state of disrepair. For example over N100 million was spent on purported repair of Mandawari Sabon Titi which is now in absolute state of disrepair, over N100 million was spent on constructing Obasanjo road which is now no longer motorable in fact over 70% of the roads constructed or rehabilitated by that administration are now in bad shape because there was no design for them. Perhaps the greatest evil that Kwankwaso did to generations unborn was the sacking of science teachers who were on contract. Kano has now been pushed ten years back because some of those teachers have more than ten years experience. Another evil of the Kwankwaso administration was the use of yan daba (brigands) to harass opponents and sometimes even kill them. All these evil deeds are still in the minds of the people of Kano.

Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau is the complete opposite of Kwankwaso he is simple and humble and not arrogant everyone can testify to this fact. Shekarau has paid the pensioners Kwankwaso refused to pay and even insulted them that they were dead people and he deals with only those who are living. He has employed over four thousand teachers over one thousand health workers this was the highest ever in the history of the state whereas Kwankwaso sacked workers and refused to pay the entitlements of those who were not sacked. Shekarau has increased the scholarship allowances of students whereas Kwankwaso misappropriated the allowances and paid only those in certain courses. Shekarau has rehabilitated most of the hospitals in Kano State, built several primary healthcare centers, built an eighty bed maternity ward in Murtala Muhammed Specialist Hospital this is the first time in over two decades. The Shekarau administration has also purchased an entire private hospital at the cost of N230 million in order to expand the healthcare delivery service in the state. Shekarau is practicing politics without bitterness and he does not use brigands in fact he rehabilitates them through the various Shari’ah inspired programs. Shekarau administration has also built more schools than any other previous administration in the history of the state. The administration does not construct roads without design hence some of the roads built by the administration are exemplary. In the area of governance reforms the Shekarau administration has succeeded in making Kano State one of the fourteen states that has met the minimum requirement of benchmarking by the National Planning Commission and the development partners.

With this comparison it is quite clear why the people of Kano are no longer inclined to the PDP. Therefore what are the options available to Kwankwaso and other cronies of Obasanjo. A few months ago the PDP changed all the security and electoral chiefs posted to Kano in preparation for 2007. In fact the mobile police commander was specifically changed on the request of Kwankwaso who brought his loyalist and a member of the influential ciroma family of Fika. Kwankwaso has perfected the plans and mobilized more resources that could ever be imagined. He got the blessings of the President who is all out to teach Shekarau a lesson for being one of the few governors that have made headlines against third term and even yesterday April 4, 2006 he made a statement in Lagos against the third term. It was Kwankwaso who started branding the Kano Hisbah as a terrorist group even though he is a Muslim he is ready to sacrifice his conscience for power. It has even been alleged that President Obasanjo told President Bush that he was not going to hand over power to a Muslim because of the Alqaida network in Kano and that he wants a third term to complete his war against the Alqaida. It should be noted that it was only Kano Hisbah that has been illegally banned by the Federal Government. This is because it is the most successful Hisbah in Nigeria as confirmed by the police at the court proceedings of April 4, 2006. Another reason for this illegal ban was to instigate the public so that there would be riot because it was a boiling time as a result of the Danish Cartoons which sparked off riots in Maiduguri, Gombe, Bauchi and other locations.

The Nassarawa bye-election is an opportunity for Obasanjo to test the strength of his third term machine. All the PDP stalwarts in Kano have directed their energies to that constituency to disgrace the governor and pave the way for a return to their misrule in 2007 through rigging. It has been reported that Obasanjo and Kwankwaso have made available over N40 million to rig the elections. Similarly Ibrahim Little has used the Abacha machinery to mobilize over N10 million for the operation. Colonel Habibu Shuaibu has mobilized the Babangida machinery with over N10 million as well. Other PDP stalwarts have mobilized more than N20 million altogether they are expected to expend more than N100 million to rig the elections. They have already purchased more than 50000 voters cards for distribution to their loyalists who are expected to vote several times in various locations.

Luckily for Shekarau he was not the one who selected the candidate for the election unlike Kwankwaso who selected the PDP candidate in an autocratic manner. The election of Sani Ibrahim was nullified because he was under-aged. He is the son of one of General Buhari’s supporters and it was agreed that he should provide alternative candidate and he first proposed Ahmed Adahama who was rejected by party officials because he was not known by any of them and then later he opted for Yahaya Musa Onye who was cleared by the screening committee that knocked out other candidates on the basis of technicalities. Ibrahim Babankowa convinced General Buhari to call on all party supporters and members of the public to vote for the ANPP candidate. It is even more imperative now to continue calling on people to vote for the ANPP candidate because the other is a third term candidate and as Obasanjo has confirmed that it is a battle between him and Shekarau. They PDP is determined to use the Federal might to squeeze Shekarau out of Kano this election is the first of test of might hence the over N120 million budget of the PDP.

Some analysts have started pondering whether the people of Kano will allow Kwankwaso and Obasanjo to take them for a ride. Some believe it is possible because of the level of poverty. Bako Sarai was given over N89 million by Obasanjo because of his blind support for the third term and he has now taken over Dawakin Kudu by using some of the money given to him. He has never done any community service but dashing out crumbs to poor villagers who troop to his house. Therefore Obasanjo and Kwankwaso are sure that they can use money to take over Kano. They have also hired some people within the ANPP including Danzago who is frustrated because he was not given the party chairmanship. He also claims to be a General Buhari loyalist therefore one is waiting to see if the General will allow him to continue with his anti-party activities. He was almost beaten up in Babankowa’s house when he said the General shall not speak in favor of the ANPP candidate.

Under the present circumstances only the people of Kano can save themselves from Obasanjo and his cronies. They have to resist all forms of intimidation and be on the side of truth. Obasanjo, Kwankwaso and their cronies have continuously been planning against Kano but Allah in His infinite mercy has continued to protect innocent people the most recent sinister plan was the illegal banning and illegal detention of Hisbah leaders. Now Obasanjo is even using Kano as a tool of “fear” to secure an acceptance of his illegal third. Men of conscience should speak out. Obasanjo is branding Kano as a terrorist location to secure the support of US President Bush for his illegal third term. Since the assumption of Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau peace has been restored to Kano and now Kwankwaso and PDP want to revert the clock to fulfill their sinister motives. This is a war waged by people of falsehood against the truth. Obasanjo is not working for Christianity or the West but for his selfish ends while Kwankwaso and other cronies of Obasanjo are working for the crumbs from their master.

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