A few weeks ago, there were speculations online that President Bola Tinubu intended to appoint the 2023 presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Rabiu Kwankwaso, as a minister.
However, Kwankwaso’s name could not be found on the list, which was submitted to the Senate for screening and eventually confirmed.
There were claims that the differences between the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abdullahi Ganduje and Kwankwaso could have hindered his ministerial appointment.
According to sources who spoke with The Guardian, President Tinubu jettisoned the idea of appointing Kwankwaso into his cabinet because he believed there was no sense in empowering the opposition, who would eventually use the resources to fight back.
Besides, it was gathered that the president was equally discouraged by the demolition of public property constructed by the Ganduje administration by the new NNPP government in Kano.
The Director of Publicity at APC national headquarters, Bala Ibrahim, had last weekend stated that the persistent attack on Ganduje’s legacies in Kano may have cost Kwankwaso a position in Tinubu’s cabinet.
Ibrahim said: “Kwankwaso is a force to reckon with in the politics of Kano. But the way and manner his Kwankwasiyya Movement goes about conducting itself has made the support for Kwankwaso wane gradually. This is because of the brigandage the movement is bringing into the politics of Kano, and, by extension, Nigeria.
“The president must have felt the pulse of the public and weighed the relevance and implementation of his policies, particularly his effort to win the hearts of the Kano people. There is no way you will dismiss the political maturity, sagacity and experience of Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje when it comes to the way he plays politics in Kano. If you weigh the two on a calibrated scale, the political weight of Ganduje is by far higher than that of Kwankwaso.
“I believe the President must have listened to people who will give him honest and sincere advice, people who read the political temperature of the state very well, not those who are misguided by the hullabaloo of the commotion caused by the brigandage of the Kwankwasiyya Movement. It is in that direction I think the President took the decision not to treat Ganduje lightly.”
However, the Chairman of NNPP in Kano, Dr. Hashim Suleiman Dongurawa, refuted the claims, saying there wasn’t an official statement from the Presidency where Kwankwaso was promised a ministerial appointment.
Although he acknowledged that Tinubu and Kwankwaso held a series of meetings towards forming a government of national unity, he insisted that Kwankwaso must not necessarily be a member of Tinubu’s cabinet before rendering his support.
Dongurawa said: “There was no occasion where Kwankwaso had solicited to be appointed as minister in Tinubu’s government just as no official statement was released through APC promising Kwankwaso any political appointment. What actually brought about the speculation was the meeting that Kwankwaso had with Tinubu on the issue of unity and Tinubu’s willingness to incorporate competent hands, irrespective of political affiliation.
“Quite alright, Kwankwaso was ready to support Tinubu not because of any political gain but for the unity, development and growth of our dear nation. Don’t forget that Kwankwaso is a former governor, former minister, former senator and former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, with requisite competence and a wealth of experience.
“He’s also a man of repute and a political leader who understands the dynamics of the political economy of this country. He understands very well the system of national unity and competence and is full of capacity to contribute his quota to national development. You are talking of ministerial appointments in the face of a man who has contested the presidential election but lost gallantly.
“Let me also remind you that Kwankwaso and Tinubu are long-time friends. They were both class of 1999 governors. They had a common interest when they formed APC in 2014. He contested the APC presidential primary in 2014 alongside President Buhari and even won the senatorial seat of Kano Central under APC in 2015.
“So, Kwankwaso and Tinubu are close friends right from the formation of the party. If Kwankwaso today come out to support Tinubu’s government, people should not be worried about that. It is not until Kwankwaso is offered a ministerial appointment that he would support Tinubu, and for those insinuating such, it is quite unfortunate that I cannot help them out of their ignorance.”
Meanwhile, a reliable in Kwankwanso’s camp stated that he communicated his rejection of a ministerial appointment to Tinubu as a strategy to secure his political dynasty.
According to the source, Kwankwaso was clever enough to quickly withdraw, realising the political calculation of Tinubu to gag his influence in Kano politics tactically.
The source also maintained that rejecting the ministerial appointment alone has altered Tinubu’s early scheming for the 2027 elections.
The source said, “For anyone to have thought President Tinubu would ever think of withdrawing Kwankwaso’s ministerial appointment means either the person is a mischief maker or totally ignorant of the entire game. How would Tinubu reject Kwankwaso because of Ganduje when the same Tinubu ignored Ganduje and still went ahead to invite Kwankwaso to France? You should first ask yourself who is looking for whom and at what cost.
“The crux of the matter is that Kwankwaso, at the late hours, expressed his kind rejection of the appointment for obvious reasons. Kwankwaso understands the need to be extra careful with Tinubu, who knows and understands political mathematics so well. Whether you like it or not, Kwankwaso has built a strong political landscape in the most populous state in the country. He’s a political force you must reckon with as far as northern politics is concerned today.
“Kwankwaso realised that coming to join Tinubu’s cabinet was simply surrendering his empire to a bigger emperor. He realised that such an offer was a potential threat to his political dynasty and so, he quickly watched his back. Another basic reason Kwankwaso turned down the ministerial offer was the emergence of Ganduje as APC national chairman. We also realised that he cannot work for Tinubu without fully surrendering to instructions from Ganduje.”
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