-Aliyu Abdullahi Sumaila
History is the story of the past; and the future is the sum of the decisions that we make in the past. Every politician should know this; however we tend to be poor students of history. Contemporary Nigerian politicians have exhibited a poor understanding of history to their detriment and the Country. If at the national stage, this trend will hold sway, it is excusable due to the many complex and often contradictory variables that will have to be analyzed to fully have a grasp of the causative influences of a socio- political trend. In Kano, ruling parties controlling the Executive and legislative branches seem to be repeating the same mistakes over and over again. It happened during the Second Republic with the Santsi & Tabo factions of the PRP leading to the dislodgement of the ruling Santsi faction; Santsi & Tabo factions of the SDP in the third republic leading to the loss of the SDP in the Gubernatorial elections of 1991; loss of the PDP in 2003 while Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso held sway and the triumphant return of Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso to the Kano State Government House in 2011. The Gandujiyya and Kwankwasiyya phenomenon presently is a volcano waiting to erupt in the political space. A ruling party is about to be dislodged due to intra- party squabbles of party members.
But which faction has the most to lose? The Gandujiyya by all standards, because it controls the Government machinery. It is obvious that even a return to the Government house by the incumbent Governor will have to be with less support than the 2015 mandate. Even worse is the possibility of a poor showing at the polls. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso was able to galvanize the support of citizens through propaganda, affirmative action and exceptional social networking. He has continued to prove that he learns from past mistakes, always coming out stronger after a battle. From a local champion he has continued to transform himself into a national figure after his surprising performance at the APC Presidential Primary of 2014, coming second and beating former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to a distant third position.
The Architects of the victory of President Buhari during the Presidential Primary failed to recognize the long term threat that the political activities of Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso will have to their principal. Their first mistake was allowing Kwankwaso to come second instead of engineering Atiku to be the runner up. Sacrificing some votes to ensure the final thrashing of Kwankwaso will have been more beneficial to them whether he wins the 2015 general elections or not. Poor souls! They see not what many see. Their mistakes have only helped to galvanize the Kwankwaso machinery, opening up the eyes of the pessimists that the emergence of Kwankwaso is very feasible. Since then, there had been no going back.
Fast forward, while the administration of President Buhari continue to have many policy lapses and poor mechanisms to manage discontentment, Kwankwaso continues to reach out to disadvantaged groups. He keeps organizing, region by region, state by state, and precinct by precinct building up his political machine brick by brick. But this is an uncomfortable truth to many; hypocrisy, pretense and fabrication are the hallmarks of politicians while they engage citizens- choosing to be honest, frank and candid in private. The Kano State Administration, continue to ignore the activities of Kwankwaso, only reacting after the damage has been done in the court of public opinion. They have been smashed in the propaganda war.
Every Commanding Officer knows that you have to admire a good and effective adversary to be able to objectively out- maneuver him. This important lesson that has been inscribed for the last 2,000 years by Tsun- Tzu in the ‘Art of War’ has been ignored by the field commanders of the Gandujiyya movement. The retreat of former Governor Kwankwaso from Kano was wrongly interpreted as a weakness instead of a political strategy. His representatives visited after calamity upon calamity but he was not seen by the people. The attempt by the Gandujiyya movement to make it an issue was widely rebuked by the people.
And the President, yes President Buhari seem to have eroded his political capital. His recent visit to Kano when compared to his previous years’ visits is a failure; but have his advisors accepted this fact? Are they willing to accommodate others who are capable of helping the Presidency? A democratic leader is as good as his lieutenants- his cabinet. I doubt if his cabinet can be able to give Nigerians the right dose of fiscal & monetary policies to reflate the economy towards inclusive growth. Yes, inclusive because it is only then that the man on the street will have a feel of good governance and/ or dividends of democracy. And then a sound trade Policy- this administration does not have any trade policy of its own, the relevant agencies are still operating an old template- lost in the wilderness of the intricacies of global trade. As for foreign policy, nobody seems to be bothered about putting our diplomacy where our stomach is. Even the past unproductive approach of making Africa the focal point of our foreign policy has not been reinforced. At the sub- national level, these set of Governors seem to be less exposed than the previous set. Our best set of Governors during this republic seem to be the 1999- 2003 set, meaning that we keep drifting backwards. The electioneering promises are yet to be fulfilled, even the promises during the inauguration on local government reforms have been forgotten. Change indeed!
Now, this is a fertile ground for a political revolution- and citizens are looking for hope- something to cling on to stay alive. Down memory lane, we can talk of Germany of 1933 which saw the rise of Adolf Hitler; United States of 2008 which saw the election of Barack Obama and Egypt of 1952 that saw the ascension of Gamal Abdul- Nasser. Buhari has been demystified, but will his advisors acknowledge it or will they continue writing a ghost story? Time will tell, but as Kwankwasiyya adherents prepare to receive Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso in Kano this coming January, it will be well to compare his homecoming with the Buhari visit. It may well be the most decisive event like the Vikings successful invasion of England in 1066.