Between Kwankwaso And Shekarau,By Ali M Ali
All politics is local. Nothing could be truer. I used to have difficulty understanding this idea. Now I know. It is two or more injured egos contending for political dominance in a specific space. Each tries to marshal enough arguments to permanently bury the other in the graveyard of political infamy. It is a battle that is both subtle and outrightly combative. They call it ‘cloak’ and ‘dagger’. Just take a perfunctory look at the incipient ego feud in some states’ chapters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and you will come to the same sobering conclusion that all politics is, truly, local.
Desirous of swelling it ranks and conscious of the enormous material powers of governors, the APC made a sweet heart offer to governors willing to defect. It offered them automatic leadership of the party at the state level, gave them five slots in the state party offices and in also give them the latitude to reject names they are not comfortable with recommended by the other leanings in the evolving counter force to PDP.
With this kind of mouth watering offer ,five of the seven governors at dagger drawn with their old party, the PDP, jumped ship. This brought them face to face with their former arch political foes. Few politicians have the grace to exhibit the minimum grace to co-habit with their political adversaries, current or former in the same orbit.
The well heeled however, know that only permanent interests prevail. In the decidedly cold reality of politics, there are no permanent foes or friends. That may explain in part, why the PDP evolved in 1998 and why the APC similarly evolved in 2013.The former, an amalgam of ideologically strange bedfellows came together to chase away and keep the military out of political arena.15 years later, the PDP has become what the military used to be: autocratic.It is denying most people the right and freedom to vote and be voted freely.
This and coupled with an under performing president encouraged the evolution of APC. It, too, is an amalgam of dissimilar bedfellows. Since its ranks swelled, it has been a cacophonous bedlam in states where former PDP stalwarts held sway.
In Adamawa, Marwa is protesting Nyako’s “intrusion” as “leader” of the party. The two. men have a local political history. Both are retired Generals. Both wanted to run on the same party platform for governor in 2007. Marwa was outplayed by the grandmasters of the game that preferred a seemingly “docile” Nyako. The bearded Nyako was a reluctant candidate in that election. Four years in the saddle, he became more than a willing candidate. Some say he was even “desperate”.
This is a topic for another day. In Sokoto Bafarawa, the, former governor, is kicking against Wamakko, current governor. Both men have an interesting political history. That too, is a topic for another day. Suffice to say that Wammakko was no 2 to Bafarawa, once upon a time. Constitutionally a deputy is, frankly stated, a ‘spare tire’, a side kick who may or may not, breath at the pleasure of his boss, the almighty “executive governor”
And in Kano, Shekarau, also a former governor is running from pillar to post kicking against Kwankwaso, current governor. Both men have a rich history.
Except for the duo of Wammakko and Bafarawa, the political trajectory and history of Kwankwaso and Shekarau is surreal, it looks and feels like the stuff of fiction
In more ways than one, Kwankwaso and Shekarau have striking similarities. Comparison, can, sometimes, be otiose. But comparing the two political colossus is compelling, imperative even. They are, for instance, both two time governors of a state famous for rejecting second term bidders. Shekarau was the first to break the jinx of ‘no second term’. Both are early achievers. Both are in their mid 50s. At 25 when others were struggling to acquire a degree, Shekarau was a principal of secondary school. At 36,he was President of All Nigeria Conference of Principals of Secondary schools (ANCOPPS). At about that time in 1992,Kwankwaso was the deputy Speaker in the ill-fated Third Republic House of Representatives.
How Shekarau became governor in 2003 is well too known. The Buhari factor was the icing on the cake. But it would be uncharitable to insinuate that Malam was a total neophyte without a history of organized politics. I am a little surprised that researchers are yet to study how Shekarau became the preferred candidate by a select few famously led by Buhari in the run off to the election that ousted Kwankwaso from office as governor nearly 11 years ago.
Kwankwaso returned to government house in a unique fashion. How he returned also underscored his political survival instinct and tenacity. He spent eight years in the ‘wilderness’ suffering all manner of political betrayals and sabotage.
This would make an interesting study by political scientists. Here was a man who faced a mountain of odds and opposition from his associates as in his former commissioners and the godfathers who, only eight years earlier, was literally booed out of office, re-writing history with his own hands. Currently Kwankwaso is turbo-charged in transforming kano.You may not agree with this.
To me, his re-election, despite a very vicious campaign was a mark of his political sagacity and an expression of discontent of the order he displaced. His massage resonated with the youth who were unimpressed by the rhetoric of the politicians of the preceding disposition.
In disposition Kwankwaso and Shekarau are polar axis. At the sight of an adversary, Kwankwaso’s power barks and threatens. Shekarau’s power cajoles and whispers. Kwankwaso prefers to be feared. His name after all, is ‘Mai takalmin karfe’ literally meaning ‘the man with the shoes of steel’. Shekarau prefers to be respected. Machiavelli recommends that “it is better to be feared than to be respected” because men have no control over what they fear. It is outside them.
Shekarau is persuasive. Kwankwaso is threatening. The former appeals to the cognitive reasoning of the middle aged, the latter to the enthusiastic instincts of the youth. Both are orators. They know their crowd pretty well. Kwankwaso is like America. If he is your ally be rest assured he will go to any length to show solidarity. His first tenure in office was defined by the headship of five federal parastatals of indigenes of the state. Shekarau is like Britain-always the diplomat. Kwankwaso is a dye in the wool politician. His political structure is far more organized than any in the state. Shekarau is a dye-in-the-wool technocrat.
Between these two, who do you think would triumph in the current face off? Read this piece again.