BY VICTORIA N. IKEANO
Sometime ago, in a piece titled, ‘’Here they go again, our politicians’’, I wrote inter alia, “Why is it that whenever an election date is drawing near, we see our politicians exhibiting their shenanigans, intrigues, vile characteristics to undo one another, even for those of them in the same ‘family’, nay party?” As it is, this trait of our politicians is not only evident during pre election period but also post election even for those that are seemingly the best of friends. For, who would have thought that a governor who literally fought tooth and nail to have a particular person succeed him as governor braving all odds to have him elected as his party’s gubernatorial candidate of all the many others that jostled to be the party’s flag bearer, would later become an arch enemy of his successor. The legendary case between former governor of Kano state, Rabiu Kwankwanso (now a senator) and the current helmsman Abdullahi Ganduje is well known. Suffice it to remind readers that the two great Kano personalities were like Siamese twins so to speak, as Kwanwaso carried Ganduje along with him every step of his political ladder as his assistant, deputy, etc. One could say that Kwankwaso was/is Ganduje’s benefactor. Indeed, Ganduje taking over from his boss Kwankwaso as governor of Kano state some six years ago was a historical first because it was rare then for a governor to be succeeded by his deputy. It had never happened in Nigeria. That in itself goes to show that there is no love lost between governors and their deputies. Thus one is wont to believe that nothing could separate them, that their political marriage is one made in heaven. Alas, months after Ganduje assumed office as governor, cracks began to appear in their once solid relationship. Clashes between supporters of both camps began to occur. Today, all traces of ‘Kwankwasia’ have literally been effaced in Kano state. Kwankwaso appears to have retreated and all is seemingly quiet in his camp. It is not impossible though that the veteran politician is restrategizing and gathering his arsenals for the political battle of 2023.
Former Osun state governor Rauf Aregbesola now Minister of Interior is apparently a veteran of many political battles having retrieved his mandate through the Supreme Court from the PDP and won reelection subsequently after another fierce battle. At end of his mandatory two terms, he picked current governor Agboola Oyetola his former chief of staff to succeed him, against the array of other notable politicians observers believed would clinch the ticket. The governorship election between the ruling APC and the opposition PDP in Osun was fierce and bitter with Aregbesola in the thick of it all. The result was declared inconclusive and a rerun ordered. In the rerun the APC managed to win and Oyetola declared winner. His election was challenged up to the highest court of the land and he still won. There is no doubt that Aregbesola, a veteran of court battles would have played no less a significant role in that case too. One could see how elated Aregbesola was at inauguration of Oyetola as governor. He was apparently excited that he had succeeded in ‘installing’ a governor of his choice who would continue with his legacies. However, just months into his tenure the two men clashed over selection of commissioners. Today, some of Aregbesola’s policies in Osun are being dismantled. The fight between both men is being waged by their proxies on social media. There are two distinct camps now in Osun. Speaking shortly after revalidating his APC membership card recently, Minister Aregbesola took an indirect swipe at the governor by reportedly warning of 9APC members dancing on Bola Ige’s grave. He stated that people that lacked his political pedigree could not displace him in the APC fold in Osun state. Where this confrontation which seems to be growing by the day would lead as the build up to 2023 gathers momentum, one cannot say as yet.
In Nasarawa State there are murmurings of subtle moves to ‘dismantle the political structures that brought Governor Abdullahi Sule to office as well as retire/disgrace some powerful figures in the state from partisan politics’. Critics allege that the governor is sidelining the southern senatorial zone in terms of appointments and siting of social amenities while paying more attention to the other two zones. The governor hails from the northern zone. The two Nasarawa state former (living) governors both of whom are now senators are from the southern and western zones. According to the critics, all of the political appointees from the northern and western zones inherited by Sule from his predecessor retained their positions while some 70 percent of those from the southern zone did not. They further allege that the appointment of John Mamman (a special adviser to the governor who is also from the same northern zone as him) as Nasarawa state Caretaker committee Chairman of the APC is part of the moves to do away with aforementioned political structures. So far though, this seeming animosity between the former governor and the incumbent has not burst into the open. However, political analysts say it is only a matter of time for it to happen.
In Imo state the raging feud between former governor now Senator Rochas Okorocha and Governor Hope Uzodinma which started during last year’s primary election to pick the APC gubernatorial flag bearer for Imo state took on a dangerous dimension at the weekend with clashes between supporters of both personalities, leading to damages to cars and injuries to persons. The senator reportedly attempted to unseal a property sealed by the government on recommendation of a panel of Inquiry. He was subsequently invited to the police station and some of his allies has now been arraigned in court for trespass, among others. They have the chance to defend themselves in a law court.
Former President Jonathan is reportedly not happy with his party, the PDP, alleging that he is not being fairly treated by the party. Indeed, he avers that the party is neglecting him. As a former president should he not be chairman of the party’s board of trustees? In the south west zone former governor Ayo Fayose apparently wants to torpedo the PDP’s rule which implicitly states that the highest elected officer should be the leader at any level. Oyo state Governor Seyi Makinde is the only PDP governor in the zone and so should be the leader. Fayose attempts to override this, asserting that Makinde is inexperienced. There are factions in the PDP southwest zone. Attempts to reconcile the warring camps are yet to yield positive results.