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The Game Plan Of The 3 KANO Political Godfathers


In Kano, there are 3 key political players whose names carry weight. One is Gov. Abdulahi Ganduje. Two is Ibrahim Shekaru and the 3rd is Engr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso. The 3 of them have all been governors of Kano, at various times. And the 3 have huge followership. Right now, as you read this the 3 of them control the politics of Kano.

They are the 3 leading political godfathers in Kano. They are powerful. They are influential. And they have been in the game for over 3 decades. They control Kano, one of the most powerful states in the North. And they have been the deciding factor of all political appointments and elections since the 3rd republic. They are the 3 strongest men in Kano.

This is the story of Engr Rabiu Musa Kwakwaso, a two-term governor, former minister and strong godfather who has played big under the All Progressive Congress, APC, and the People’s Democratic Party, PDP; This is the story of Abdulahhi Ganduje, a two-term serving governor of Kano state and former deputy governor in the state, who single-handily dethroned the first-class emir, and enthroned another within 24 hours. It is also the story of Ibrahim Shekarau, a former governor, former minister and serving’s senator, who currently has a foothold of the party structure in the state.

These three men are extremely wealthy, powerful and have a lot of influence not only on the Hausa/Fulani speaking people but also in Nigeria. They also have a lot of political boys scattered in various powerful positions in Nigeria that carry out their bidding and makes sure that their interest is secured. One thing that is worthy is of note is the fact that the three political giants have at no time swim in the same political point together as a trio. It is either one is in the opposition, while two are in the government or 2 are in the opposition, and one is in the ruling party. This also points to the fact that the three are too big to reside under one political cabin.

Kwankwaso is an influential Nigerian politician from the Hausa ethnic group. He was Governor of Kano State from 1999 to 2003 and again from 2011 to 2015. In 2015, he lost in the APC presidential primary election to Muhammad Buhari. He then successfully contested the senatorial election to represent Kano State Central Senatorial District but handed over to one of his loyalists to pursue a bigger political journey on a federal scale.

Kwankwaso’s frosty relationship with erstwhile partner Ganjuje deteriorated, with clashes between their supporters assuming a violent dimension. Both politicians have been locked in a bitter battle for political supremacy in Kano, even as the governor strengthened relations with Abuja, tightened control of the reins in local politics as underscored by the controversial landslide victory of the APC in the 2019 elections in the state, in a bid to fend off the advances of the kwankwasiyya movement, a band of red cap-wearing diehard supporters of Kwankwaso.

Ganduje also is not in a too rosy relationship with Ibrahim Shekarau who had just been handed the APC structure in Kano state and also running the strongest political front in Kano called the G7. This is a parallel faction from Ganduje’s faction. Shekarau, also holds the title of Sardauna Kano. The Kano chapter of APC had been factionalized with one faction tagged G7 led by Shekarau and the other faction led by Ganduje before the recent congresses of the party.

Just like in other APC states, the G7 faction and the Ganduje faction of the party had elected two parallel executives at the congresses of the party, including the 18 October state congress.

While the G7 faction elected Haruna Danzago as the chairman of its executive, Abdullahi Abbas was elected to lead the Ganduje faction of the party. An inside source reveals that Ganduje has sidelined no fewer than 20 key party members in the bid to consolidate himself in power. For instance, there are people like Musa Gwadabe, an 80-year-old man, the current Minister of Defence (Magashi), Gen Jaafaru Isa etc.

Ganduje’s involvement of his family in state affairs, the many scandals, corruption and growing resentment of Kano people against his administration is shrinking the party’s electoral fortunes in future elections in the state.

The coast became clearer when Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu extended an invitation to Shekarau in early December, sending a private jet to pick up the senator from Abuja. Asiwaju who hosted the senator vowed to give him full support in any area he may be needed.

A source in the Tinubu’s camp said on the condition of anonymity that despite the unalloyed support Ganduje gives to the Tinubu camp, the camp sees Ganduje as a “huge political baggage” who could not win election in any fair contest. It was believed that Asiwaju was instrumental to his return for a second term.

The news on the streets of Kano holds that the people are with the Shekarau camp. At the moment it will be dangerous for Asiwaju to take side with either Ganduje or Shekarau. But Asiwaju’s body language shows he is more at home with Shekarau as the APC leader in Kano.

Ganduje, who has seen the handwriting on the wall, with the fear of losing out in the scheme of things reportedly reached out to his former boss, Rabiu Musa Kwakwaso who is currently a strong force in the PDP. In an interview he conducted with Radio France, The Governor explained that the misunderstanding between him and his predecessor was a result of the handiwork of some political miscreants who were bent on souring the cordial relationship between them.

In the event that the proposed bromance with Kwankwaso clicked, it may mean that Ganduje would have to decamp from the APC and join forces with the PDP and Kwankwaso’s massive red cap followers to remain in power. The implication of this may spell doom for the APC should Kano State share equal voters between the APC and PDP in 2023.

Whatever outcome is reached in the end, Kwankwas, Shekarau, and Ganduje remain the three pillars that will decide what will happen in the state.


-Joseph Seun Emmanuel

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