From Maduabuchi Nmeribeh, Kano
Even his worst political enemies have come to agree with the fact that Kano state Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje is wielding strong power in the national political landscape. This is showcased in his growing popularity within and outside the power brokers in the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC). More of the glaring prophesy of Ganduje’s future political fortunes is revealed in his admirable closeness with the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a political heavyweight and influential presidential hopeful, come 2023.
Tinubu’s admiration of Ganduje’s leadership style and political sagacity did not come from the blues. The Jagaban Borgu himself who ruled and transformed Lagos state for eight years, has agreed, at different occasions, that Ganduje remains not only an achiever, but a leader with sterling qualities who have the interest of his people at heart. For instance, on Sunday, 16 July, 2017, Tinubu visited Kano to commiserate with Ganduje on the death of elder statesman, Dr. Yusuf Maitama Sule (Dan Massanin Kano) and also on the death of the governor’s younger sister. During that trip, he also visited his friend and associate, an elder statesman, Malam Yusuf Ali who also lost his son. It was at the residence of Malam Yusuf Ali that Tinubu predicted, very correctly, Ganduje’s return to Government House, for the second term.
In his remarks at the residence of Malam Yusuf Ali, Tinubu who has been following the landmark achievements of Ganduje, spoke glowingly on the governor’s performance. In the words of Tinubu: “Our brother, Ganduje, Your Excellency, you are saying eight years, some people are saying twelve years; but if you put coma in any line of the constitution, that is an amendment. So, I endorse eight years. We will work for it with all our body and soul. You are a great man–and you are a very very loyal man. One thing that we must note in His Excellency, Governor Ganduje, is this–he is one of the most straightforward, dependable individual. When you agree on something, or in the words of Donald Trump, ‘do a deal with him,’ you can go to sleep because you will be the one to break that accord, not him. Ganduje, I want to say thank you. You are so humble, so dependable. You are a friend that is completely flexible. You have the understanding of family and friendship. So, if you say eight years, yes; before you add the other four years, I say watch–that other four years, maybe, as a governor, maybe, as a president. So, we will wait; let us amortize the eight years first.”
Tinubu repeated such accolades on during his 69th birthday celebrations which held in Kano at the instance of Ganduje. According to him, Ganduje is a transformative and reformative leader. The Asiwaju who was impressed by the leadership style of Ganduje confessed that the Kano Governor has a serious role to play towards national unity and integration. The former Lagos state Governor was moved at the way Ganduje manages and accommodates different ethnic nationalities with love and patriotism.
At the eve of his 69th birthday, during his meeting with leaders of ethnic nationalities, held at Africa House, Government House, Kano, Tinubu described Ganduje as a bridge-builder. Tinubu was touched by the avalanche of encomiums showered on Ganduje by leaders of ethnic nationalities who expressed joy on how Ganduje handles all issues related to all Nigerians residing in Kano, irrespective of ethnic or religious differences. Leaders from Igbo, Yoruba, and other ethnic nationalities challenged other political leaders in the country to borrow a leaf from Ganduje.
Speaking during the occasion, Tinubu said: “His Excellency, the Governor of Kano state, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje is indeed a transformative and reformative leader. I am moved by his character, not because of his education and not because of his profiles, but because there are so many politicians without character and there are those with character but they are still worthless. He is of good character with worth. This character and worth from this gentleman, is just like what we read in history, about men and how they behaved during turbulent times.”
He further stated that, “For his (Ganduje) Cabinet, from the Deputy Governor to all other members of his Cabinet, we can say Kano state is lucky to be exceptional. We always appreciate Ganduje and his amazing Cabinet. This is what we need in all states of our dear country,” adding that, “May God help Ganduje. He is a good patriot. Kano is a microcosm of Nigeria, as Lagos is. There is no ethnic nationality that is not in Kano. It is a mini Nigeria.”
While at the Palace of the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, Tinubu insisted that Kano and Lagos has serious roles to play towards ensuring national integration. According to him, “Kano and Lagos states are promoting peace and stability together.”
Tinubu also revealed why he chose to celebrate his 69th birthday in Kano, saying it was designed to strengthen brotherhood among Nigerians of different ethnic background. Speaking at the event of the 12th Bola Tinubu Colloquium to mark his 69th birthday, Asiwaju said: “Why are we in Kano? It is to demonstrate to Nigerians at this critical time that we are one. It is because there is a Fulani man, a herder (man) who gave his daughter to a farmer, (a) Yoruba man… and some people are agitating wrongly. I was encouraged to go and spend a couple of days with my brother and in-law in Kano and demonstrate that he has not quarreled with me, he has not seceded from Nigeria, I didn’t need a passport or visa to get to Kano, maybe others will have peace of conscience, live in peace and harmony and be loving to one another. That is what Ganduje and I are showing to Nigerians and that is the purpose of this colloquium end of story. All of you here should thank Ganduje for what we have been able to show Nigerians together. That a Fulani man and a Yoruba man can show the entire nation that in harmony, we can show Nigerians that perseverance creates understanding. It is a common blood that flows through our veins.”
During his three days stay in Kano between Sunday and Tuesday, Tinubu was conducted round numerous projects carried out by the Ganduje’s administration from road construction, health, education, agriculture, physical infrastructure, skills acquisition to human development. He also commissioned the rehabilitated Kano state Anti-Corruption Commission headquarters on State Road which given a face-lift with world-standard modern facilities. He commended Ganduje for his unrelenting fight against corruption, saying, “my dear Nigerians and the lots of us, who are looking forward to a prosperous corruption-free and accountability in Nigeria and Africa, today is dedicated to that objective.” Tinubu maintained that there is need to have structures that, “frees us from the burden of corruption, this and similar edifices could play an important role in that. This is a welcome development indeed. And we salute the governor for this encouraging effort.”
However, analysts have continued to view Tinubu’s latest visit to Kano from different perspectives. But what has continued to dominate discussion in the public domain is that the latest romance of Asiwaju and Ganduje, captured in the just concluded 12th Bola Ahmed Tinubu Colloquim to mark his 69th birthday organized by Ganduje, is an indication that the Kano state Governor would not only remain political relevant, but will play a major role in forming the team that will struggle for political power and leadership, from the APC side, come 2023 and beyond.