13 February 2013

Nigeria: Merger and Kawankwaso's Romance With Opposition

Just last month, Governor Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso of Kano State appointed Action Congress of Nigeria, (ACN) chieftain, Alhaji Baffa Babba Dan'agundi as his adviser on empowerment. The governor had previously made it clear that his government will make efforts to carry the opposition along in the scheme of things.

Earlier, two CPC chieftains, Alhaji Kabiru Muhammad Gwangwazo and Alhaji Abba Sufi had also joined the Kwankwaso administration in its early days as managing director of Triumph Publishing Company (now closed down) and director general of the Hisbah Commission respectively.

Dan'agundi is not the only prominent ACN chieftain in Kwankwaso's government as the newly established Kano State Road Traffic Agency (KAROTA) is currently being manned by no other person than Engr. Muhammad Diggol, another strong ACN member in Kano. Both Dan'agundi and Diggol are close political allies of Kano's former deputy governor, Engr. Abdullahi Tijjani Gwarzo who contested the 2011 Kano governorship election on the ACN platform, but left the ANPP along with Dan'agundi and Diggol to join ACN in the build up towards 2011 general elections.

When Gwarzo lost, he and his team congratulated Kwankwaso, a gesture that made Kwankwaso to invite Gwarzo and his supporters to join his government. Gwarzo was said to be instrumental to the appointment of the two key ACN chieftains as Kwankwaso's aides though they've retained their membership of the ACN.

The integration of the opposition into Kwankwaso's administration is largely seen as a deliberate strategy by Governor Kwankwaso to nip in the bud all political problems and further maintain his grip as strong man of Kano politics all in preparation for 2015 general elections. It was also learnt that Gwarzo is one of Kwankwaso's right hand men from the opposition and the two may likely be in the same camp come 2015 polls. Kwankwaso was said to have appreciated Gwarzo's towering political profile and grassroots support since the time he became Kano ALGON chief when he held sway as chairman of Gwarzo local government.

Dan'agundi was Kano ANPP legal adviser in addition to being an adviser on youth affairs to former governor Ibrahim Shekarau. He is a young but vibrant politician who is still being loved at his Dan'agundi ward of Kano Municipal local government. He always delivers his ward when it comes to election having been a youth mobiliser. Dan'agundi was said to have played prominent roles in ANPP's success in 2003 and 2007 elections in Kano State in the area of youth mobilisation and campaign strategy, hence his appointment first as Shekarau's adviser on youths and later as local government sole administrator.

It was learnt that Dan'agundi's appointment by Kwankwaso as his aide on empowerment followed the work being carried out at Kano State Road Traffic Agency (KAROTA) by an ACN man. The newly established agency, which is similar to the Lagos Waste Management Agency (LAWMA), is working round the clock to ease unnecessary traffic congestion in Kano. Its painstaking effort to cleanse Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital adjacent to the famous Rimi market in Kano city is still being hailed. So it is expected that Dan'agundi will achieve same feat with his new appointment as adviser on empowerment.

Dan'gundi who spoke with Daily Trust in Abuja, called on all patriotic Kano people to support Kwankwaso's development agenda given the transformation that is currently taking place in all parts of the state. "You don't need to be told that Kwankwaso's government is working when you either come to Kano or you go to anywhere in the state; even his critics as you know agree that the administration is working for the good of the state generally", he said.

Asked why he is still in ACN when he has accepted an appointment in a PDP-led government, Dan'agundi said he and former deputy governor Gwarzo are still in ACN, saying however that they have "a strong political alliance with Kwankwasiyya and doing so is not an anti-party activity". He described Kwankwasiyya as an association and not a political party and so they wear red caps as did Kwankwaso and many others to show they are also part of the association.

Now that four opposition parties (ACN, ANPP, CPC and APGA) merged and became APC, only time will tell what will happen in Kano in the build-up towards 2015 as Kwankwaso is working in tandem with some opposition political parties by giving them the chance to work in his government.

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