Daily Independent Online.
Tuesday, March 25, 2003.
Rivals dare Shuaibu in Kano Senate race
By Bassey Inyang,
The contest for the
Kano central senatorial district is gathering momentum with candidates of the
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Habibu Shuaibu, a former military administrator
of Plateau state slugging it out with two major rivals, Hajia Laila Buhari of
the Peoples Salvation Party (PSP) and Rufai Hanga Madaki of the All Nigeria
Peoples Party (ANPP).
aspect of the contest is that the incumbent Senator Kura Mohammed who won in
1999 under the platform of the PDP is out of the race having decided not to
seek reelection to the upper chamber of the National Assembly. Out of the three
contenders for the seat, Shuaibu, a retired colonel is a new entrant into the
murky waters of partisan politics. Except for his exploits in the military
during the days of Sani Abacha when he was in charge of affairs in Plateau and
Niger states respectively, he was never known to be involved in political
activities of any sort.
Buhari, on the other
hand, has in recent years found partisan politics a veritable platform to
showcase her political ambition to serve the people, and to take the lead in
advancing the cause of women politically in the state and the North in general.
In the botched Abacha democratic experiment, she aspired to the Senate on the
platform of the defunct United Nigeria Peoples Party (UNPP), but failed at the
primaries. A similar attempt by her at the primary stage in 1999 ended the same
way as she lost to Senator Kura Mohammed of the PDP.
The All Nigeria
Peoples Party (ANPP) candidate, Madaki is a relative greenhorn in the political
terrain as his involvement in public affair goes back to the period when he
worked as a non-editorial staff of Triumph Publishing Company, the state owned
print media outfit.
The situation at hand
suggests that the PDP candidate, Shuaibu, is featuring in the calculation of
the electorate and the kingmakers in the constituency.
Apart from his
posters, which adorn the nooks and crannies of the area, Shuaibu enjoys the
support of the state governor, Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and most members of the
PDP in the constituency. He is also believed to be in the good books of the
political godfathers in the state, namely, Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi, the
labour minister, Alhaji Musa Gwadabe, and Alhaji Aminu Bashir Wali, the
presidential adviser on National Assembly matters, having stayed off the
intra-party crisis that rocked the PDP over who flies its governorship ticket.
Another very important group that is believed to have given its blessing to the
ambition of Shuaibu is the Emirate Council in the state, as he is of the
royalty in the Nassarawa district of the state municipality.
His level of
popularity among non indigenes who reside in the state metropolis may well be
the joker that would give him the much craved victory when the electorate file
out on April 12, 2003 to cast their votes for would be National Assembly
Shuaibu, according to
Chief Tobias Michael Idika, a local PDP chieftain who commands good following
among the non-indigenes, Shuaibu is a proven detribalised individual who will
get majority of votes on April 12.
The recent crisis
that has balkanised ANPP has also helped the cause of the PDP candidate as his
group has benefited immensely in terms of additional supporters among those who
left the ANPP in the senatorial zone.
At a parley with the
press recently in Kano, Shuaibu made a startling revelation to the effect that
he actually did not belong to any political camp in Kano. “I am
everybody’s boy and I am prepared to serve my people again because of the
confidence they repose in me. I once served President Obasanjo, Babangida and
Abacha so I am everybody’s boy” Shuaibu stated, in apparently
explanation of his acceptance by all the political blocks in the state.
Shuaibu strength lies
in the services he rendered to his community while in office as military
administrator. Through his contact many youths gained employment in several
state and federal government agencies. Also, there is hardly any developmental
project or physical structure that did not enjoy his input financially and
materially. Indeed he is credited to have single handedly built the Health
Centre in Tudun Wada in Kano metropolis.
Buhari became the
candidate of the PSP as a product of protest against her inability to pick the
PDP ticket. Her popularity base cannot easily be distinguished from that of the
governorship candidate of her party, the PSP. How far this can take her will be
adjudged by the outcome of events at the end of the April polls. The PSP
supporters are drawn from former members of the PDP who felt they were unjustly
denied their rights within their former fold.
The politician will
also be counting on the support of women in the constituency, a group she has
been mobilising ever since was in the PDP. But a commentator on political
issues in Kano, Alhaji Musa Alhassan told Daily Independent that she would have
to contend with the Sharia sentiment in a male dominated society like Kano.
However, the female
aspirant says her support base cuts across both genders, stressing that if
sentiments are anything to go by, she would not have been given the senatorial
ticket of the PDP.
The ANPP senatorial
candidate, Madaki, although relatively unknown among the electorate, may be
relying on the Islamic sentiment being enjoyed by the party in Kano.
However, a total
reliance on such sentiments is not a guarantee for victory as he and his party
are expected to go all out to assuage the feelings of others who do not share
affiliation to the emirate in Kano municipal if properly handled could work in
his favour as any stance taken by the palace is considered with every amount of
seriousness among the mostly Hausa-Fulani electorate.
However, as a matter
of fact, the ANPP candidate is yet to commence his campaigns in the open as his
opponents in the PDP and the PSP have been doing.
If the present tide
of events with regards to the contest for the seat continues it would be safe
to predict that Shuaibu of the PDP will carry the day.