In the history of corruption scandals in Nigeria as far back as 1947 during the colonial times, neither the 1957 African Continental Bank corruption case connected with the Premier of the Eastern Region Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, nor the 1962 Coker commission that convicted the Premier of western region Awolowo on corruption charges or even the Federal Panel of Investigations in 1975 that found 10 state governors guilty of corruption, in my view, can stood shoulder to shoulder with the Gandujegate affair.
First as someone that claims to be “Khadimul Islam” yet tenaciously hold on to his position through subterfuge and refused to resign honorably, after being caught on camera accepting bribes isn’t worthy of such a title.
The shame isn’t Ganduje’s alone but for Kano people too, considering out of the teeming population of the state and its classes, it was the lonely voice of Sheikh Daurawa alone that stood up and call for objective investigation.
The man was almost crucified for his gallantry.The political class, the traditional rulers, the clerics, business leaders and even intellectuals across the state were silent about the scandal. Some, like the Izala sect, under their leader Sheikh Pakistan, shamelessly paid a courtesy call and affirm their solidarity with the governor with regard to the scandal.
I begin to wonder, is this really the Kano I was raised in, which proudly, with a heave of the chest always declares “Ko da me ka zo an fika?” (no matter how good you are, you are bested here). Not anymore I think.
When the scandal broke, the State Assembly in a move, which as unfolding events showed was nothing but a grand charade, summons Jafar Jafar, the journalist responsible for the video release.
He came with his Quran astride his shoulders and testified to the committee. Next was Ganduje schedule to appear, which he didn’t and subsequently got an injunction from the High Court stopping the house from further investigating the case.
Accepting bribe is a felony that qualifies as gross misconduct which falls under the category of impeachable offense. Had the legislators been serious and not playing a script, they would have invoke the article of impeachment on Governor Ganduje which will provide them the constitutional mandate to appoint the Chief Judge of the state who will constitute a 7-Man panel of people with unquestionable integrity that doesn’t come from the Public service, legislative house or political parties to investigate the issue.
Instead the legislators assumed the work of law enforcers and the courts used that excuse to kill the issue.
Buhari’s romance with due process also contributed into the stalemate, because of his “wait and see” attitude which, I believe haunts him to this day, as it became very visible during the APC rally in Kano.
Reluctantly he raised Ganduje’s hand and declares “Here is your Ganduje” subtly calling on the Kano electorate to be the judge about voting him in or out. Also in what seems to be an afterthought, the EFCC investigation of the Gandujegate videos confirming its authenticity was released as soon as Buhari was back in Abuja a day later.
The party and presidency failed to react to the affair as they should, out of the dilemma born out of the belief that they may lose Kano if they sacrifice Ganduje. The reality is, had they acted swiftly and rightly, they could have saved Kano from their fears. They could have made Ganduje face impeachment, which will make him resigned honorably and his deputy, Nasiru Gawuna sworn-in as a governor and he pick another running mate to contest the 2019 elections.
That way APC could have sailed smoothly in the governorship race. They have clearly saved Ganduje but at the expense of losing Kano eventually.
The reality on the ground is Ganduje’s sins are beyond the bribery scandal. To me he was the worst governor in our history for many reasons. Kwankwaso, in his second tenure, though out of his presidential ambition, had inadvertently exposed to us that with the will, state government coppers can go a long way on improving the lives of its citizenry.
Between 2011-2015 Kwankwaso had constructed over 800 new one storey classrooms, one new University, 21 new Tertiary institutions and offered scholarships to thousands of indigenes to various universities across the world. That was on Education alone.
On infrastructure we had seen the construction of major roads in the metropolis including Zaria Road, Hadejia Road, Buk road and the first flyovers: at City Center, Gadon Kaya, Kabuga and Sabon Gari. We have also witnessed the creation of some agencies like Karota that initially employs a thousand people and KARMA that maintained our roads. Interventions and empowerments were too numerous to mention.
Instead of improving on these, especially on the education sector, Ganduje refused to pay scholarships to our students that are in their 3rd or final years of university abroad. One could have thought even if the government cannot afford to pay, to have gone out of its way to borrow money and settle the students fees in order not to waste the 3 years investments already committed to their education.
Taking the electorates for fools, Ganduje thought in identifying with Buhari alone and concentrating on building more bridges in the metropolis, is all he needed to be re-elected. To make matters worse, the Gandujegate scandal is now being used as campaign slogan.
“Baba ka ci bulus” (you have siphoned the money old man, and there is nothing they can do)” while he thumbed up and nods his head. Can you imagine such rascality?
For decades, Ganduje was scheming and waiting and most people underrates him perhaps because of his demeanor, just like Obasanjo, and once you underrate them you eventually end up paying for that mistake.
For those old enough to remember, Ganduje was the first person in the history of Kano to introduce moneybag politics. In 1999, after Ganduje retired from the civil service where he earned a reputation of something like a Mr. Bulldozer, considering the way he spent odd hours in the office as a commissioner and supervise construction works personally.
He joined the gubernatorial race as an underdog but before you know it he carried away the delegates by massive vote buying and gratification showered on the PDP elders. His monetary influence on the party almost tore it apart until when a consensus was reached that he should withdrew for Kwankwaso on the agreement to be named as the deputy Governor.
Ganduje is a true capitalist. He came into the Government house with personal ambitions, cemented by his power hungry wife. Nothing is done without express approval of Madam Excellency. Commissioners, Lawmakers and contractors pay homage to her if they want to get anything done in government.
He is in government for his personal aggrandizement not uplifting the people, as the case of the metro rail line had confirmed. He initiated the $1.2 Billion Dollar project that will run some few kilometers across the metropolis, at a time when vast areas of the metropolis have no drinking water.
When Sanusi Lamido criticized the project, thank God that criticism killed the project (resulting into a whopping loss to Ganduje’s Babban Riga to the tune of 300 Billion Naira – 25%) it took intense lobbying by elites from all over the North to stop Ganduje from removing the Emir.
The only consistent policy pursued by Ganduje in the last four years was engaging consultants to collect revenues across the state at an exorbitant percentage for the consulting firms and collecting between 12-25% for every contract he awarded. Allocating every available space in the metropolis for corner shops and even converting the Eid Mosque spaces for corner shops. A few months to election he dangled another unnecessary 15 Billion Naira flyover.
As Kano had underestimated Ganduje, so does Ganduje underestimates Kano politics. Kano had a great history in politics, sophisticated for a long time as it introduces many firsts. Wresting power from the incumbent is one of them. Kano had learnt to do that for many decades.
Two of the most charismatic and popular governors to have ever grace the seat were Abubakar Rimi, who in In 1983 was roundly defeated at the polls by Sabo Bakin Zuwo. A nonentity in politics, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, beats hands down, the incumbent and second most popular and charismatic governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso in the 2003 elections.
In the 1990 governorship elections, Engineer Magaji Abdullahi, the most popular gubernatorial candidate was easily beaten by the then underdog, Kabiru Gaya. Nothing is as beautiful in a democracy like the power to vote out leaders you no longer wants, an art the electorates in Kano had mastered.
If Kano electorates were to let go this power, then our politics is doomed. We are all living witnesses how Ambode, with a crime far less than Ganduje’s was stopped from re-election in Lagos.
The writing on the wall seems to point towards a scenario where the incumbent is going to be defeated at the polls once again in Kano. Even though PDP had failed Nigerians at every level, but the trend in Kano politics shows the electorates always votes against whoever they don’t like and they don’t like Ganduje at the moment.
The alternative is clearly Abba Kabir, because Takai doesn’t have a chance considering the fact that electorate’s psyche in Nigeria, a third party never stand the chance of winning an election.
As a protégé of Kwankwaso, who was credited as the brain behind Kwankwaso’s massive infrastructural works in his second tenure coupled with his youthful age,if Abba Kabir became true to his campaign promises, especially on an all-inclusive government,abolition of security votes, tackling Almajiranci,reviving foreign scholarship and investing on agriculture and if he can refuse to be yes man of Kwankwaso,perhaps Kano politics will brace up for a better governance in the next four years.
With the stagnant and corrupt Ganduje style,riddled with scandals,a fresh breath is certainly needed as we roll into the next level.
Ali Abubakar Sadiq