Today's by-election into the vacant seats for Gaya and Garko constituencies in the Kano State House of Assembly will be a test of might of the Kwankwasiyya political vanguard of incumbent governor, Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) and the main opposition party in the state, the All Nigeria Peoples' Party (ANPP), led by the immediate past governor of the state, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau.
The by-election for the two vacant seats in the state assembly follows the assassination of the members representing Gaya constituency, Hon. Danladi Isa Kademi of the ANPP and Alhaji Ibrahim Abba Garko of the PDP.
The electoral umpire, the National Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) said yesterday that it was ready to conduct a hitch-free poll in the two constituencies.
However, the Kano state police command has restricted movement in and out of the two constituencies from this morning to forestall the breakdown of law and order.
The police have also banned the display of insignia, posters, banners and other campaign materials, vehicles painted in party colours during the duration of the polling exercise.
LEADERSHIP WEEKEND investigations however revealed that the election into these two vacant seats in the state assembly have pitted the leading political figures from the two opposing parties in the state against one another.
Incumbent Governor Kwankwaso and the PDP heavyweights in the state would want to win the two seats as a confirmation of the administration's popularity, while the likes of two-term ANPP senator, Alhaji Kabiru Ibrahim Gaya and three-term member, House of Representatives on the platform of ANPP, Hon. Kawu Sumaila, LEADERSHIP WEEKEND learnt want to show that they can deliver their constituencies.
The security situation in the build up to today's poll has been tense. Earlier in the week, a scheduled campaign in Garko town by the ANPP led by Shekarau was attacked by suspected thugs. Some vehicles in the convoy were reportedly damaged in the said incident.
Malam Sule Yau Sule, an aide to Shekarau told LEADERSHIP WEEKEND the convoy was attacked 'by thugs hired by PDP, despite the permission we got from the police'.
Sule said that more than 150 persons were injured in the attack, while about 100 vehicle screens were allegedly smashed.
A renowned politician in Gaya local government, Pa Alhajiji said the political turmoil in the area was a testimony to the fact that democracy had come to stay.
He viewed the development as ever changing. "This is the first time in the political history of the zone electorates will vote for a particular party or candidate based on what development brought to them and by who".
However, LEADERSHIP WEEKEND reports that Governor Kwankwaso was in Gaya on Thursday to commission three renovated hospitals. The event was well attended by party faithful.
INEC Disqualifies CPC Candidates
Ahead of the by-election, INEC yesterday disqualified the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) candidates for the contest.
A statement signed by INEC acting secretary, Alhaji Mustapha M. Kuta, which was made available to LEADERSHIP Weekend in Abuja, explain that the CPC candidates were disqualified because their names were not forwarded to the commission by the CPC national chairman, Prince Tony Momoh.
The statement maintained that INEC took the action because the candidates' names were sent by Sen. Rufai Hanga, who is not competent to sign in such capacity or forward the names of the party's candidates to the commission.
Alhaji Kuta noted that a similar letter signed by one Alhaji Ahmadu Haruna Zago as state chairman of CPC was earlier submitted to the Kano State office of the commission last month contrary to the procedure of forwarding such list through the national chairman of the party.