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Ojukwu tasks kinsmen on presidential bid

LogoDaily Independent Online.         * Tuesday, March 25, 2003.

Rivals dare Shuaibu in Kano Senate race

By Bassey Inyang, Kano

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).

The interesting 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 members.

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 their sentiments.

Aside, Madaki’s 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.





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