Ganduje, Kano senatorial district candidacy and APC’s burden of choice
Since the 8th day of May when the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kano state repositioned its various political aspirants in a what some of them called consensus redistributive agreement, a lot has changed in the party.
Aggrieved members who felt that a level-playing ground was not provided for everyone to test their popularity dumped the party for another. Others decided to continue smarting in the alliance they said was ‘undemocratic’.
The state governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, emerged as the craftiest of all the party’s stakeholders, defying all odds, bursting all speculations and surprising all pundits to get his deputy, Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, into the party’s governorship candidacy saddle.
How he got past all hurdles to neutralize foremost aspirants like his commissioner of local government, Murtala Sule Garo, who was said to be the First Lady’s preferred choice; Inuwa Ibrahim Waya, from who it was alleged a huge sum of money was collected; Barau Jibrin, who had strategically readied his arsenal to slug it out with othera; and A. A. Zaura, who was also alleged to have rolled out his monumental monetary war-chest, could still not be explained.
A school of thought said Gawuna has the intervention of some prominent Nigerian statemen in his favour. Another said Gawuna simply gave Ganduje an easy way out of a daring situation. To a reasonable extent, the deputy governor appears a bit more easily acceptable to a wider section of politicians and the populace than all the others.
But, the party still has to conduct primary election in for its Senatorial candidates in Kano Central Senatorial District, undoubtedly the most populous, most influential and most strategic district in the state.
For Kano North Senatorial District, Senator Barau I. Jibrin will fly APC’s flag without opposition. Governor Ganduje, who was earlier rumoured to be interested to drag the seat, later pulled out allegedly after some exchange of unsavory goodwill.
In Kano South, Senator Kabiru Gaya got the go-ahead to contest without opposition, being an old hand in the act of power play. He was said to be in good tern with the First Lady, a good advantage if one knows how to convince her.
But Kano Central still has contentions. A. A. Zaura, Senator Lado and Barrister Ismail Ahmed are said to still be in the race to clinch APC’s ticket for the district. It is still unclear if Inuwa Waya who, alongside Zaura, lost out on the governorship ticket, would be joining. Waya has chosen to remain mute on his next move, but there are speculations he may join.
Ismail Ahmed, the eleventh-hour aspirant, is seen by many as someone fortified with the so-called Abuja connection.
Meanwhile, there have been concerns that Zaura may constitute a serious source of concern for APC in the main election in 2023 if he emerges the flagbearer of the party after the May 26 primaries.
First, he will be facing far more politically grounded contestants in the mold of Senator Ibrahim Shekarau of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP). Laila Buhari, a serial aspirant, of PDP is just put on by her party to window-dress.
Two, and this is the clincher, Zaura has a serious moral burden heavily weighing on his shoulders. An unfinished fraud case is still lingering around him, as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has secured the mandate to re-prosecute him for alleged graft. This is such a credibility concern that any serious party will have to consider thoroughly when choosing a candidate. Of course, his presumption of innocence holds, but a burden of care hangs on the party not to throw up a candidate who may be prosecuted and convicted while holding a public political office.
Three, Zaura lacks pedigree. Without doubt, he certainly has no history of public performance, and has not done anything beyond the usual seasonal money-bag distributions and the ephemeral projects that Nigerian politicians do whenever elections are approaching.
If APC wishes to have a contestant for the Kano Central Senatorial seat who will, at least, present a semblance of challenge to the other parties, it has to look beyond wannabes and latch on the more credible and less burdensome aspirants within its fold.
Governor Ganduje may need to come to terms with the reality that his party must not be seen to be giving candidature to the so-called highest bidders. He proved pundits wrong in the selection of governorship candidate. He must replicate same in this instance.
A stitch in time …
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