The rift between two former governors of Kano State; the immediate past Governor Abdullahi Ganduje and his predecessor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, further escalated on Friday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, when they paid separate visits on President Bola Tinubu.
It would be recalled that the two Kano political leaders had been at daggers drawn for more than five years over what has been explained to be a war of supremacy.
However, the old wound was reopened on Friday when both men, who had separately visited President Tinubu, decided to also address State House Correspondents separately, each one accusing the other of wrongdoings and throwing expletives and threats at each other.
Former governor Ganduje, who was the first to address correspondents after his meeting with the President, accused Senator Kwankwaso of being the mastermind of a series of building demolitions being executed by the new Kano governor, Abba Yusuf.
Ganduje, who dubbed his successor, Yusuf, as a stooge of Kwankwaso, however, threatened that, being within the walls of the Presidential Villa with his predecessor (Kwankwaso), he could have been tempted to slap him if he had run into him.
“I know he is in the building, but we have not met. Probably if we had met, maybe I could have slapped him”, Ganduje had said.
The former governor said he was in the Villa to brief President Tinubu on the heat that the actions of Governor Yusuf’s administration was generating in Kano, warning that if he was not curbed, the situation might degenerate into something of a religious crisis.
Ganduje lamented the fact that the shopping complex around the New Daula Hotel developed under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement and approved by the state’s executive, was demolished on the directive of Kwankwaso, without any investigation, without any notice, by the Yusuf administration.
“We appointed a technical committee right from the beginning. They submitted a report to the executive council. The executive council approved the PPP project. The PPP project is 90% executed, but now without any investigation, without any notice, this new government under the directive of Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso demolished the building. The issue is in a court of law,” he lamented.
It would be recalled that Ganduje was the deputy governor under the Kwankwaso’s administration between 1999 – 2003 and 2011 – 2015.
Reacting to Ganduje’s claims and allegations against him, Kwankwaso, who emerged from the President’s office along with Senator-elect Jubril Abdulmumin, also accused Ganduje of abusing office while serving as governor, alleging several cases of land-grabbing.
Kwankwaso, who said they were both summoned to the Villa by President Tinubu over the tension being generated by the demolition in Kano, disclosed that the President was shocked when he was informed about Ganduje’s alleged misdeeds as governor of the state.
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The New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) candidate in the 2023 Presidential election, who in turn labelled his former governor as “number one stooge”, alleged that Ganduje illegally acquired the demolished properties.
“The President was shocked. Are you not shocked that somebody will sell university? Are you not shocked that he demolished the only university? Daula Hotel, for those of you who are in Kano, you know the old Daula, demolished to zero and that is a faculty under the university of science and technology. He demolished that one. Are you not shocked?
“The President was shocked. He didn’t know. He even mentioned that he talked to somebody to go and find out for him. But when I told him, I said you are a Muslim, very soon you are going for Sallah. How can you go under that circumstance and pray in that place? And even the Triumph place he is talking about. You are journalists, you should be angry because that’s your constituency, he demolished it completely and put shops everywhere,” he said.
According to Kwankwaso, his party, under Governor Abba Yusuf, was only fulfilling the campaign promises to demolish such structures.
“You see the governor is doing what we campaigned with. I wanted to be president, I campaigned also. And I went to Kano and told them that these places, schools, in fact most of our schools in Kano were being encroached on and it is our policy to make sure that the land they encroached on are returned to them,” he said.
But also speaking to correspondents after his separate meeting with the President, Kwankwaso dismissed his successor’s claim, accusing him of appropriating government property for himself and family members.
He revealed that the issue of a ministerial post for him in the Tinubu administration came up during his discussion with the president.
He conceded that he was open to work with the president to move the nation forward, adding that discussion on the issue was ongoing.
While noting that himself and the president had come a long way, Kwankwaso affirmed that he would not join the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as Tinubu was only looking at a government of national unity.
Asked whether the issue of a ministerial appointment for him was discussed, he said: “The issue came up but we are still discussing. We will see how it comes to fruition. We will be very happy to see how we can move the country forward.”