Kano — Senator Ibrahim Shekarau and Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, both former governors of Kano State, are believed to be sworn political enemies, people who cannot exist together in the same political setting.
Shekarau (then of the All Nigerian Peoples Party, ANPP) defeated Kwankwaso (of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP) in 2003 when the latter was seeking re-election as Kano State governor, but Kwankwaso got his pound of flesh eight years later when he defeated Shekarau’s protégé, Salihu Sagir Takai, to re-emerge as governor in the 2011 gubernatorial election.
Kwankwaso again came out on top in 2015 when his ‘appointed’ candidate, incumbent Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje defeated Takai.
Shekarau, a founding member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had to leave the party in 2014 for the PDP when the APC’s leadership in Kano was handed over to Kwankwaso, who was then the governor and had also crossed carpeted.
Four years later, the swap of party between the two would again take place when Kwankwaso, who had gone back to the PDP, was again given the leadership of the party, a decision that pushed Shekarau out and back to APC.
This development led many analysts of Kano politics to conclude that it was practically impossible for both of them to remain in the same party.
Shekarau would later replace Kwankwaso at the red chamber after emerging as the senator representing Kano Central, defeating Kwankwaso’s appointed candidate for the PDP, Ali Madakin-Gini, who many believed was only on the ballot paper as a proxy for the former senator who had lost the presidential ticket to Atiku Abubakar.
However, following the death of Kwankwaso’s father on December 25, a condolence visit by Shekarau on December 30 and several recent utterances have gotten political analysts in northern Nigeria’s commercial centre opining that the two might be planning to bury their hatchet to take control of the state’s political leadership from the current governor come 2023.
Daily Trust reports that there has been no love lost between Kwankwaso and his former deputy, Ganduje, since the latter succeeded him in 2015.
Responding to questions from journalists during a media parley in Kano on Sunday, Shekarau insisted there is no rivalry between him and Governor Ganduje on one hand, and him and Kwankwaso on the other hand, saying he maintains a cordial relationship with them.
“You may not be seeing us regularly now, because you sent me to Abuja and I am busy representing our people there.
“So, in short, my relationship with Ganduje has been very cordial.
“The same thing applies to Kwankwaso; we are in a good relationship.
“Our political differences have not, and will not, affect our relationship. I have never defected from one party to another because of him.
“When I was in APC, Kwankwaso joined the party, and I left, not because of him, but because of the leadership of the party.
“The same thing when I was in PDP; I later left, not because he joined the party,” he said.
But with permutations towards 2023 already gaining momentum, analysts are saying there may be more to Shekarau’s statements on Ganduje and Kwankwaso with many insisting they were mere political statements and insisting his visit to Kwankwaso may be a sign that Ganduje may have both former governors to wrestle with during the electioneering period.