EXCLUSIVE: Why PDP May Lose 2023 Elections in Kano – Party Chieftain
Uba Magaji Abubakar is a prominent member of the Peoples Democratic Party in Kano state. A long-time loyalist of Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, he disclosed to POLITICS DIGEST, in this exclusive chat with Adnan Mukhtar Tudunwada some of the reasons why PDP lost the gubernatorial poll in Kano in 2019. According to him, those same factors are still present and could cost the party victory in 2023 as well.
You have had a remarkable career in Kano politics, spanning over two decades. How can you describe the journey so far?
I started party politics in 1997, as a member of Grassroots Democratic Movement (GDM) before I moved to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) when it was founded in 1998.
Therefore, I am a PDP founding member. I was supporting Mallam Abba Dabo for governorship until he stepped down for Engineer Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.
I was part of the committee that presided over the primary election of PDP at Goron Maje ward in Danbatta in 1999.
You supported Kwankwaso because of Mallam Abba Dabo?
Mallam Abba Dabo was very popular at that time and he had the support of all the stakeholders. If not because he was forced to withdraw, he would have won the primary election. As a loyal party man then and because of Mallam Abba Dabo’s support for Kwankwaso, I had no option than to work for Kwankwaso.
The success recorded was because of Mallam Abba Dabo’s support and other stakeholders like Alhaji Abubakar Rimi, Malam Musa Gwadabe, Senator Hamisu Musa, Dauda Dangalan and Ambassador Aminu Wali whose sacrifices and commitments to party unity brought Rabiu Kwankwaso to limelight in 1999.
Was Kwankwaso not politically strong enough that time?
You know Nigerian politics, you need someone to back you and these people I mentioned were instrumental to Kwankwaso’s victory in 1999 he himself cannot deny it.
This all happened because of unity and consultation among members. The Aminu Wali camp, the Rimi camp and the Aminu Kano camp led by Musa Gwadabe jointly made PDP a successful party. We won all senatorial seats, 23 House of Representatives seats andl state legislative seats.
But Kwankwaso parted ways with almost all of these people after he became governor, what happened?
This is normal in politics, there is no permanent friend or enemy but permanent interest. Kwankwaso was not listening to them and this cost the PDP the governorship seat in 2003 because some influential politicians were at loggerheads with the governor. Rimi, a former governor and founding father, Ghali Na’abba, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and Barau Jibrin as well as many others all fought Kwankwaso because the governor was not consulting the party men and women.
Why did they all team up against Kwankwaso?
He doesn’t want to be influenced against what he believes in. You know how power can easily change a person. He tried to override all the decisions and plans of the party. He made his own decisions and saw that as the best.
Many of these young Kwankwasiyya adherents Who Joined Politics between 2015 and 2019 were not there when all these happened and it would be good to point out that our leaders could change him for the better, but he kept on losing the best hands he came along with until he and the party crashed in 2019.
Did the above factors also rob the party of victory in 2019?
Yes, it contributed to some extent. Kwankwaso decides everything and never gave room for internal democracy. He imposed Abba Kabir Yusuf on party members. Someone who feels big and finds it difficult to relate with party men and women and who lacks respect for other leaders of the party. How do you expect most of us to work with him?
Are you saying there were other people that wanted to contest that time?
Yes, so many of them,those who bought forms are the likes of Professor Hafiz Abubakar, Jaafar Sani Bello, Ali Ibrahim Little and Salihu Sagir Takai among others but Kwankwaso annointed Abba. It was a unilateral decision that no one could challenge.
The PDP had 2 Senators and about 17 members in the House of Representatives from 2011 to 2015 until when Kwankwaso and all of his followers defected to APC. How will you comment on this?
If you remember APC won all elective seats this is the first time in the history of Kano politics,where no other party has won a single seat because we were united.
This is because there was unity that time. We made it happen. But selfishness and suppressive tendencies later took over and with these no group can succeed in a democracy.
Had it been Abba was produced through a democratic process, he would have made it in 2019. What we are saying is let the will of the party men and women be the driving force of any candidature.
There is a seeming crisis in the Kwankwasiyya movement to the extent that a committee was set up to investigate the duo of Dangwani and Yusuf Danbatta. Are you aware of this?
This is all happening because of allegations that both are eyeing the governorship seat and that they will challenge Kwankwaso this time for a primary election. Kwankwaso was dissatisfied with their moves, therefore he made those moves to frustrate them.
From the look of things, majority of the stakeholders are not being carried along by Abba because of his ambition.
Is it an offence for someone to pursue his or her ambition through legitimate means? True democracy allows for free expression of interest and abhors suppression.
The party leadership should understand that any attempt to suppress the party men and women will only bring further destruction to the party
Disunity brought the party down in 2003 and in 2007 we lost with some 40 000 votes because some party men and women opposed the imposed candidature of Ahmad Garba Bichi.
Likewise in 2019 some stalwarts like The deputy governor Hafiz Abubakar, Salihu Takai,Aminu Dabo,General Dambazau, and Bala Gwagwarwa who could have saved the PDP the inconclusive in Nassarawa.or more profoundly the 100,000 votes garnered by Takai could have been the winning votes.