Unless the police decisively move in to avert a bloodbath, Tuesday next week threatens to be a dangerous day in Kano with two powerful factions of the ruling All Progressives Congress [APC] planning to hold rallies on the same day, at the same venue and at the same time. Kwankwasiyya, the political movement led by former Kano State Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and Gandujiyya, the faction led by his former deputy and current Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje are flexing muscles ahead of 2019 and more immediately, ahead of the state’s local government elections taking place in February.
Both obstinate factions premise their planned rally on APC’s campaign timetable, under which it would hold its rally on January 30th at Kwanar Dangora along Kano-Zaria road for the presentation of flags to candidates. Kwankwaso, who has not been to Kano for months, is expected to come from Abuja to help his supporters in the campaign ahead of the February 10 local government poll. His media aide Hajiya Binta Spikin said the former governor would be in Kano on Tuesday as planned. Kwankwasiyya had been planning their leader’s visit for many months, saying Kwankwaso will visit Kano and hold a major rally. The Kano State Government, controlled by Gandujiyya, worked hard over the months to stop Kwankwaso’s planned coming, and finally came up with the planned rally of its own.
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The state’s APC secretary Alhaji Ibrahim Zakari Sarina, who is a government loyalist, said the APC rally at Kwanar Dangora was scheduled according to the campaign timetable released by Kano State Independent Electoral Commission, KANSIEC and that “Senator Kwankwaso did not inform the party about his planned rally which coincides with ours. Had it been he wrote to the party, the party will have shifted its own rally to another day.” Dangers of a violent confrontation are real because the two rival groups in recent times clashed at the Emir of Kano’s palace during the Hawan Daushe a few months ago. They also clashed at a wedding ceremony about three weeks ago with loyalists of both factions sustaining serious injuries.
Only recently, Kano’s Commissioner for Special Duties Abdullahi Sunusi was caught on camera telling Gandujiyya supporters to stone Kwankwaso once he steps into the city. He said, “From today, the whistle of politics is blown on our in-house opposition. We met in Minjibir and dealt with them; we met outside the emir’s palace during the Sallah celebration and they tasted our wrath. Now their leader is coming and we will receive him at Kwanar Dangora or at Dakatsalle. You know that after the holy pilgrimage by Muslims is the symbolic stoning of Satan. So you all should await official announcement of the day you will all be directed to stone the political Satan of Kano.” Kwankwasiyya responded by unveiling what it called a “security committee” made up of many retired Generals ahead of Kwankwaso’s visit.
Though it is to be expected that the tempo of politics will rise with INEC’s recent release of the 2019 party primaries election time table, the political temperature in Kano is much higher than that of other states [apart from Rivers] and has been so for many months. Politics in Kano has always been volatile since the First Republic. That, coupled with the state’s large population and high urbanisation double the dangers of a violent confrontation. The Kano State Police Command must immediately move to avert a confrontation, if necessary by banning the rally of both sides. Its spokesman Magaji Majia’s statement that it “would contact the relevant authorities to find out who between Kwankwaso and Ganduje notified the command about the rally” is not convincing at all. If it takes sides in this matter, the state will burn.
Going forward, we urge APC national leaders and President Muhammadu Buhari specifically to find a lasting political settlement between these two APC camps before things get out of hand.