27 January 2013

Nigeria: 'Kwankwassiya' Ideology Tears Kano PDP Apart

Kano and Abuja — Penultimate Saturday, some high-profile members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) converged in Kano to announce the formation of a new group that opposed the Kwankwassiya ideology of Kano State Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.

The breakaway faction, led by Nigeria's Ambassador to China, Amb. Aminu Bashir Wali, has other party bigwigs like Alhaji Aminu Babba Dan Bappa, Colonel Habibu Shuaibu, Akilu Sani Indabawa, and former Speaker of the House of Representatives Salisu Buhari in its fold.

They accused Governor Kwankwaso of suppressing PDP's founding principles through the introduction of his 'Kwankwassiya ideology' which they condemned as 'illegitimate and unconstitutional'.

At the meeting, a committee tagged 'PDP State Working Committee', chaired by Senator Aminu Inuwa, was set up to restore the party to its constitutional roots and bring back members who quit the party because of their alleged disagreement with the 'Kwankwassiya ideology' in government.

"We want to inform the chairman of our intention to re-launch the PDP in Kano State, following the bastardization of its principles and ideals by the Governor of Kano State and inexplicable and the indefensible registration and promotion of a new anti-PDP political movement called 'Kwankwassiya'.

"Since the success of the PDP at the polls and the subsequent swearing-in of Kwankwaso as governor, he has jettisoned both the symbols and ideals of the PDP and has been propagating a disrespectful and disreputable 'idea' of 'Kwankwassiya' in a manner that has negated the visibility of our party and confused the identity of its membership", a memorandum distributed at the meeting read.

The new group was particularly infuriated by the use of red caps instead of the party flag by members, saying the practice represented 'defiance and disrespect'.

It also questioned reasons why projects executed with public funds would be branded with the 'Kwankwassiya' insignia, fearing that the act could "squander the goodwill the PDP once enjoyed in the state".

"The governor and his group have even gone to the extent of registering 'Kwankwassiya' with the Corporate Affairs Commission, giving an indication of a sinister political motive," the group claimed.

The Chairman of the group's committee Senator Aminu Inuwa alleged that the current leadership of the party was unilaterally being run by Kwankwaso, saying the practice was detrimental to democracy.

"When last party congresses were held all over the country, the exercise was not held in Kano at all. Rather, the state governor arrogantly assembled his 'Kwankwassiya' clique for all the party positions at ward, local government and state levels. As such, all party stakeholders in the state were totally disregarded and this is a complete disregard to all basic tenets of democracy," Inuwa lamented.

He also claimed that the 'Kwankwassiya' faction had 'consistently' rebuffed attempts to reconcile differences between other members of the PDP who did not believe in the movement.

"Therefore, we will inform the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) about the development so that they will allow us to contest elections. Our immediate task is to ensure the formation of legitimate structure at wards and local governments, reach out to all estranged party members, and conduct free and fair primary elections for the forthcoming local government elections," he added.

Sunday Trust learnt that the formation of the new faction was sequel to earlier discussions on the future of the PDP. A voluminous document obtained by our reporter indicated that excerpts of the discussions were already forwarded to Wadata Plaza, the national secretariat of the PDP in Abuja.

The document, titled 'Our Position on the PDP Crisis in Kano state' and jointly signed by Senator Aminu Inuwa and Comrade Garba Ado, was addressed to the secretary of the PDP Reconciliation Committee.

How the crisis began

According to the document, three major political blocs merged together to form the PDP in Kano state in 1999. The blocs were the SPP Group (PRP Imoudu Faction called Santsi) led by late Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi, ANC Group (defunct NPN/NRC) led by Ambassador Aminu Bashir Wali and the PDM Group (comprising Aminu Kano Faction of PRP and loyalists of the late General Shehu 'Yar'adua) led by Malam Musa Gwadabe and Alhaji M. D. Dangalan.

The fusion of these three powerful political blocs that became the PDP gave the party outstanding successes during the 1999 general elections in which Kwankwaso emerged as the state governor.

But according to Kwankwaso's critics, the party's popularity and support began to decline when Kwankwaso as governor sought to seize the party from its founding members by "unilaterally relocating its secretariat and filling the party's executive committee slots at ward, local government and state levels with his cronies", thereby upsetting the initial agreements between the three groups.

This, according to the critics, led to mass disaffection that forced the late Rimi to formally disagree with how the party was being managed. Following the disagreement, an accord was signed between all PDP stakeholders with the aim of averting a looming crisis. But Kwankwaso allegedly refused to implement the resolutions in the agreement.

The governor's opponents also claimed that "unilateral actions in administering the party without recourse to its constitution or respect for the consensus arrangement between party leaders continued unabated while Kwankwaso was governor from 1999 to 2003, Minister of Defence from 2003 to 2007, and de facto leader by proxy from 2007 to 2011".

This trend, they said, led to the losses of political positions, including the governorship seat by the PDP to the All Nigeria People Party (ANPP) during the last decade. The critics claimed a majority of those who defected to the ANPP and won elections were PDP members who were disenchanted by the way PDP was run.

"Kwankwaso's intransigence, gross disregard and disrespect to the PDP constitution, rules and procedures, traditions, values and principles, forced key and invaluable leaders and members such as "Rimi, Musa Gwadabe, Speaker Ghali Na'Abba, Umar Yakubu Dan-Hassan, Usman Riruwai, Dauda Raula, Hamisu Danwawu, Hon Ibrahim Muazzam Bichi, etc., to decamp to other parties. Rimi, Na'Abba and a few returned at the instance of late President Umaru Yar'adua.

"Others like Musa Gwadabe, a seasoned strategist and respected elder did not return on account of their belief that, Kwankwaso will never change; that he will neither accept to be guided by democratic norms and procedures, nor will he ever respect the PDP constitution or indeed work as a team-player. Sadly, they seem to have a strong case - but they remain PDP's big losses and are yet to return", Kwankwaso's rivals lamented in the document.

'Kwankwassiya' as a disease that will destroy PDP

The introduction of the 'Kwankwassiya movement' as a different structure, according to the new PDP group, is nothing but an attempt to obliterate the PDP and to run the party like a personal fiefdom.

According to the group, "Kano's political waters became muddy by the odour and pollution of 'Kwankwassiya' chemical infusions - which have been simply choking.

"To further isolate PDP and confine it to the dustbin of history, the governor has been deliberately taking many anti-people measures that portray PDP to the Kano State electorate in bad light. The governor, with counterpart funding from the Federal Government's 'Education Trust Fund', has built a number of school classrooms on the roof of which, 'Kwankwassiya' was boldly inscribed.

"The governor, however, wants to take the whole credit for building such classrooms. He does not want to share it either with the Federal Government (that provided the counterpart funding) or the PDP, which controls both Kano and Federal Governments. If he is sincerely committed to the PDP, he should boldly identify with it as he does with the Kwankwassiya cult. One expects, if the governor insists on such personalized credit-line, a fair inscription such as: 'Goodluck-Sambo/Kwankwassiya' on the roof-tops instead of the 'Kwankwassiya' inscription alone.

The faction told the PDP national headquarters to take its explanations into account and "make recommendations with regards to banning of subversive groups within PDP like the Kwankwassiya sect before this disease becomes a cancer that will completely destroy the party".

Kwankwaso's reactions

Speaking with Sunday Trust, Kwankwaso's media aide Jafaar Jafaar, who said existence of a body within a political party was not harmful, stated that the Kwankwassiya movement was established for development.

"I don't think there is any harm in establishing a movement within a political party because in your own way, you can have 'Youth Wing Alliance for PDP', 'Youths Advocacy for PDP'...all these are political organizations. They are lawful. You can see 'PDP Youth vanguard' and the likes being supported by the party. It's the same thing. It has no difference. It's a movement to just develop the party".

On the rationale behind the naming of government projects after the movement, the media assistant explained: "On the logics behind that decision of giving most of our projects 'Kwankwassiya' label, the major reason is that there are some projects executed by his Excellency in his first tenure, when he left office, the succeeding administration claimed credit for those projects. So, in order to avoid that, there is need to bear in mind that this or that project is executed by Kwankwaso. I don't think there is any harm in that".

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