The recent ruling of Kano state election petition tribunal that sacked the Governor of Kano state,Abba Kabir Yusuf (popularly known Abba gida-gida) was received with mixed feelings by different strata of the society. Despite the mixed feeling, there was almost a unanimous consensus that the new Kano state Governor was undoubtedly unable to manage his political victory as well as the enormous solidarity and support he got from the good people of Kano state.
When in march 2023 Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf was elected as the Executive Governor of Kano state, he had huge popular support and tremendous goodwill of not only the people of Kano state but the entire country as well.Nigerians view his election as the Governor of Kano state as true manifestation of democracy where the choice of the people should always prevail in any electoral contest. Nigerians were therefore expectedly happy for the people of Kano state in particular and for democracy as a system that confers citizens with the right of deciding who should govern them. The election of Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf was therefore seen as a great triumph for democracy not only in Kano state but in Nigeria as well considering the strategic importance of Kano to the politics of Nigeria.It was widely assumed by most Nigerians that the good people of kano have made a very wise choice of a Governor that would bring succour to the talakawas(poor and downtrodden members of the society) and put the ancient commercially inclined state on the path of sustainable growth and development.
Unfortunately and regrettably, Governor Abba Yusuf failed woefully to efficiently manage his success at the polls and within one months of his assumption of office,his public approval rating and goodwill capital plummeted to a very low ebb.
On his assumption of office,the Governor embarked on a senseless,abnoxious and highly vindictive mission against some of the policy decisions taken by his predecessor and former Governor of Kano state, Abdullahi Ganduje. He accused Ganduje of allocating choice commercial parcel of lands to himself and members of his family without providing any convincing proof to support his claim. This made him to embark on series of demolitions of commercial plazas without instituting any form of investigation to ascertain the veracity or otherwise of his claims against Ganduje and his family members. Thus, Governor Abba Yusuf accused the former Governor Abdullahi Ganduje and his family members,adjucate and determine the “appropriate” penalty to be applied. In his own skewed mind, the penalty is to misuse his powers as Governor to ordered the immediate demolition of the said properties without giving Ganduje and those he accused of owning them the right to depend themselves on the allegations he leveled against them. The Governor therefore became a judge in a case that he is clearly an interested in. This is clearly against the principles of law and natural justice. Governor Abba Yusuf therefore clearly erred by not adhering to the proper application of the rule of law and also in the court of public opinion.
The massive demolition embarked upon by the administration of Governor Kabir Yusuf resulted in destruction of properties worth hundreds billions of Naira and rendered several shops business owners and their workers to lose their sources of livelihood.Considering the several value-chain of business and commercial activities, the senseless and lawless demolition had made thousands of business owners to become jobless with the possibility of pushing them into poverty.
The excuses advanced by Governor Abba Yusuf that security considerations are the reason behind the decision of the state Government to embark on the demolitions are not tenable. This is because it was not based on professional security assessment and recommendations by competent security experts. The action can best be described as senseless political vendetta and vengeance against the administration of former Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.
It is very instructive to know that it is not only the ordinary non partisan talakawas of Kano that were disappointed by the highly destructive and needless demolition of properties in kano but the Kwankwasiya supporters as well.Multitude of the red cap wearing Kwankwasiya supporters in kano were terribly disappointed with the way and manner Governor Abba Yusuf approach the business of governance with vengeance and lack of focus despite the massive support they gave him at the 2023 Governorship election. The Kano people have high expectation that Governor Abba Yusuf will harness the enormous human,natural and financial resources of Kano to turn around the fortune of the state. They were however terribly disappointed and let down.
His priorities in the first three months after he assumed office as Governor of Kano state were terribly mundane and wasteful.He embarked on demolitions that deprive thousands of business owners their source of livelihoods, he also embarked on needless changing of the paint and colours of chairs in the government house from green to red and inappropriately directed the hanging of the portrait of former Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido in government House.He also demolished an architectural master piece erected close to government house to commorate the golden jubilee anniversary of creation of Kano state.The hight of the clueless actions of Governor Abba Yusuf was his senseless plan to waste 854 Million Naira of Kano people tax payers money on mass wedding.A more focused leader would have invested the close to one billion Naira in improving primary healthcare or basic education infrastructure in several villages and hard to reach areas in kano state hinterlands.
The clear lack of well articulated strategic plan and focus that can positively impact of the lives of ordinary people of Kano made Governor Abba Yusuf to lose the massive support and goodwill he once enjoyed during the electioneering campaigns.It is therefore not suprising that only few citizens of Kano care about his sack by the Kano state election tribunal that directed INEC to issue certificate of return to the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Nasir Yusuf Gawuna. Infact, there was wide jubilation in parts of Kano Metropolis and villages in several local government councils when the news of the sack of Governor Abba Yusuf by the tribunal broke out.
Governor Abba Yusuf is clearly the architect of his own problem with regard to the massive loss of popularity and approval rating that he suffered as the Governor of Kano state. This clearly result from his inability to manage the tremendous support and goodwill that gave him political victory which resulted in his successful emergance as the Governor of the most populous and highly politically enlightened state in Northern Nigeria.
Governor Abba Yusuf failed woefully to meet the needs, yearnings and aspirations of the people of Kano state as well as that of the political and business Elites by his actions and inactions in the last three months. His political godfather and leader of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) did not rise up to demostrate purposeful leadership when Governor Abba Yusuf was galloping without direction and focus. As a more experienced politician,he ought to have guided and call him to order when he embarked on his senseless demolition spree. Instead, he publicly supported the demolitions that are clearly act of impunity being executed out of vendetta to pounce and hurt a perceived political enemy. Immediately Governor Abba Yusuf assumed office,it became apparent and clear to political analysts and people of Kano state that both the NNPP as a political party and Abba Yusuf as the Governor are bereft of ideas that would usher in good governance. The party and the Governor do not have any articulated strategic development plan to diligently implement for the common prosperity and accelerated development of Kano state.
It was obious that Governor Abba Yusuf and his red cap wearing principal are only after vengeance against the land administration and physical development planning of former Governor Abdullahi Ganduje which resulted in unprecedented collateral damage that negatively impacted on the livelihoods of middle level business owners and their lower level employees. This also had a direct impact on the common talakawas in Kano because of the intricate relationship between commercial activity and logistics especially transportation and haulage services.
These initial missteps and numerous policy blunders of Governor Abba Yusuf made Political and Public Policy analysts to assert that he lacked the requirement administrative,policy and intellectual capacity to successfully pilot the affairs of a complex and politically enlightened state like Kano
In the same vein, the Presential candidate and leader of the NNPP, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso was also not strategic in the negotiations initiated to bring in his party into President Tinubu’s Government when the President invited him to France before his swearing in as the President of Nigeria. Kwankwaso was said to have approached the political negotiation with rigidity and uncompromising attitude with regard to his demands and conditions for the inclusion of his Party into Tinubu’s Government.This made the President to ditch him and decided to instead continue to deal with the the more loyal and submissive former Governor Ganduje who is currently serving as the chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Governor Abba Yusuf and his party, the NNPP have made it clear that they will appeal the ruling of the state election petition tribunal. The Nigerian constitution has confer on him the right to appeal the judgment to the court of appeal and up to the supreme court. The outcome of the rulings of the appellate courts will certainly define the political future of Governor Abba Yusuf and his political godfather, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.
In the event that the appellate courts affirmed the decision of the Kano state election petition tribunal and reaffirmed that Nasir Yusuf Gawuma is the duly elected Governor of Kano state in the 2023 Governorship election, the political influence and relevance of both Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and Governor Abba Yusuf would substantially diminish in the coming years.If that happens, it is highly likely that Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Governor Abba Yusuf and their red cap cult-like followership will all be buried politically bringing their relevance and influence in Kano politics to a tragic end.
*Dr Mijinyawa Bashir Bello is a Consultant Physician and Public Policy analyst. He can be reached via email@example.com