Kwankwaso, ethnic sentiment and 2019 ambition

The dominant consensus of most Nigerians and members of the international community with special interest on Nigeria’s political development is that leadership is at the centre of the country’s underdevelopment.

As Nigeria’s leadership question rages on, political pundits are already searching ahead for the appropriate person that would be suitable to be entrusted with the presidency of the country in the coming general election slated to hold in 2019.

Already, a number of politicians have overtly or covertly indicated their interest for the number one political seat in Nigeria. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, a former governor of Kano, is one of such individuals.

Of recent, Kwankwaso has been making headlines, in respect of what most of his supporters described as his well-constructed response in support of the ‘Arewa Youths Quit notice’ given to the new Biafra agitators led by Nnamdi Kanu.

Although a section of the Nigerian political pundits are trying to connect his latest pronouncement made from his new political base in Kaduna, where he tactically withdrew to as result of the on-going face-off between him and his successor, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, people who understand Kwankwaso’s style of politics would not be surprised at his stand on the Biafra agitation.

From every indication, the stand taken by Kwankwaso on the new Biafra agitation has not fallen short of his known mannerism of political behaviour which is a brand of grandstanding and exploitation of tribal inclination for political gains.

With the unfolding development, what most Nigerians are interested in knowing is the strength of Kwankwaso, as the nation approaches the 2019 presidential race which his body language has clearly shown that he is interested in.

Observations have shown that the major political strength of Kwankwaso is his smart ability to leverage on contemporary national discourse which in most cases, as a result of the state of underdevelopment nature of the nation’s politics largely driven by primordial sentiments to which he is good at exploring to fuel his acceptance, politically.

Precisely, this is the same kind of political sentiment that he explored in his own state prior to his second coming as the governor of the state, when he, along with the incumbent Governor Ganduje, formed the Kwankwasiyya political structure on primordial issues surrounding Kano society which they used to gain access to Kano Government House.

It is on record that Kwankwaso and his cohorts successfully constructed the kinship and tribal narratives of being more Kanawa than the then out-going governor of the state, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau’s candidate Sagir Takai, who he defeated in the poll that brought him as governor for the second term.

On attaining power as governor, Kwankwaso then strengthened his followership under Kwankwasiyya Ideological Movement, by exploring what seems to be an ideological fault-line of Kano politics – Talakawa versus Shurata blocs to stamp his hold on Kano electorate.

One of the things he did to achieve this objective was cultivation of the support of the young folks in the state, through conceiving some populist policies, programmes and projects such as the 21 institutes established by him with special goal of gaining the support of the youth population in the state that is mostly the Talakawa political class.

According to analysts, apart from such political strategy, Kwankwaso is bereft of any political strength that he could leverage on to catapult himself to Aso Rock in 2019.

Looking at the spread of his acceptance in Nigeria, apart from Kano State where he still commands some measure of acceptance, there is no other state in the federation that one can clearly say he commands huge followership.

Even in Kano, the measure of his acceptance is being challenged by the incumbent governor, who has succeeded in dividing his Kwankwasiyya group, with a sizable number of group members now ready to work along with Ganduje for any other candidate.

According to observers, another factor that could act as an impediment to his ambition is funding. It is believed that having been out of executive power where opportunity is very much available to appropriate public resources to finance one’s ambition, for now, it might be a bit difficult for him to mobilise adequate finance for large scale election activities.


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