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The growing Kwankwaso political challenge in Kano

The growing Kwankwaso political challenge in Kano
May 19
10:11 2022

While the attention of many Nigerians has been riveted on the happenings in the two major political parties in the country, the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), potentially earth-shaking political developments have been taking place in Kano state which has consistently returned the highest tally of voters in all elections in the country.

Mainly because of this game-changing political factor, Kano is always at the centre of the political calculations of political parties as well as potential presidential aspirants and eventual candidates. In the ongoing race for the 2023 elections, both the APC and the PDP have set a high score on “capturing” Kano in their permutations and they have spent considerable resources in setting up political structures that will give them leeway in this endeavour.

But if most recent developments are anything to go by, both the APC and PDP may end up biting the dust as a new challenger gradually emerging from the shadows is taking the millionaire voting state by storm. Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso’s New Nigeria Peoples Party may have been formed just recently, but already the party is gradually and inexorably eating away at the ramparts of both the APC and PDP in Kano. Indeed with the coming of the NNPP the entire PDP structure of Kano state which used to be “owned” by Senator Kwankwaso when he was a member of the party moved with him to the newly formed NNPP. For all practical purposes, the PDP is dead in Kano now.

Suddenly the ruling APC in the state under Governor Abdullahi Ganduje already riven by deep internal divisions is beginning to feel the heavy breath of the NNPP down its neck. With the APC in its crosshairs, the NNPP has been sniping relentlessly and at the time of writing this article, several top Kano politicians like former Rep. Abdulmumuni Jibrin and former governor and Senator Ibrahim Shekarau are reportedly making their way to the NNPP. And Governor Ganduje is really concerned that even some top members of his government and political associates are planning to ditch him and pitch camp with the JJC NNPP.


When former governor of Kano state, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso launched his NNPP recently, not many people thought of it as anything beyond a fart in the windstorm. Indeed many considered the new party as an amusing distraction from the daily fare of the shenanigans taking place in the ruling APC and the opposition PDP.

The object of the scepticism directed at the new party is obviously its founder, leader and presidential candidate Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso. It was not lost on political observers that over the years Senator Kwankwaso had proven to be a political nomad of sorts having crossed over from PDP to APC then to PDP and recently out of PDP again floating politically for a while before establishing the NNPP.
Watchers of Senator Kwankwaso and his ways knew that it will not be long before the stormy petrel of Kano politics left the political wilderness to emerge with a political joker of his own in the run-up to the 2023 elections.

Yes, Senator Kwankwaso’s political standing in Kano, the North West, and Nigeria cannot be idly dismissed. At the 2014 presidential primaries of the newly formed APC, he performed quite creditably well by coming second to Muhammadu Buhari. More significantly he performed better than former Vice President Abubakar Atiku who finished third in that contest. Without a doubt, Kwankwaso is the single most important political figure in Kano, a fact he is now proving with the strides being made by his party in the state.


The waves that the NNPP is making in Kano have got APC and PDP grandees as well as political observers in the country consulting the political tea leaves to fathom what this may portend. My own sense is that if this trend continues it may extend beyond Kano and into the entire north-west. There are several grounds to believe that the insecurity, rising levels of poverty and alienation and the general disillusionment felt by the people of this geopolitical zone against the President Buhari-led APC will provide ready ammunition for Kwankwaso to capitalise on for his political forays.

Another reason to believe that the NNPP will make hay is that as a result of happenings in the country especially the targeting of northerners and their businesses for destruction as well the threatening utterances of southern groups on the power equation in the country there is a growing feeling in the North West is that it will be politically suicidal to vote a southerner as president in 2023. Here again, Kwankwaso will most likely project himself as the defender of northern interest and thus garner the sympathy of the voters.

These projections will begin to take shape after the conclusion of the primaries of the two major parties. Those northerners who feel aggrieved at the outcome will look upon NNPP as a default option and will most likely work against the APC and PDP. In the likely event of this happening, Kwankwaso’s profile as the gatekeeper of northern votes will accord him the chance of either determining who becomes the president in 2023 or may even become the president.

To the APC and PDP what this means is that if they are thinking and calculating about getting their hands on the millionaire votes that the north always reserves for Muhammadu Buhari, who in any case will be leaving after his mandatory two terms, the political events happening now in Kano should constitute a reality check to that thought.


In the coming weeks and months, the two political parties would do well to go back to the drawing board in order to cope with the political challenge of Senator Kwankwaso and the NNPP.


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