Kwankwasiyya Cult and the Underdevelopment of Kano State

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Mustapha Abdullahi, (rijayarzaki@yahoo.com) Rijayar Zaki Ungogo Local Government Area

Although this may not be a rejoinder to an earlier article titled ‘Shekarau and the underdevelopment of Kano State’, it is however still important to refer to it because of these two prominent actors in Kano State’s political development. These two individuals have dominated Kano politics since 1999 when Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso was elected the Governor of Kano State. Unfortunately their antagonism may not be in the interest of the state even though there is no vibrant civil society in the state to independently spearhead development. KAPEDI (Kano Peace and Development Initiative) which promised to be driving force has since dwindled into oblivion without even merely publishing the report of Kano Economic Summit, a simple thing to do. And sadly some of its members have taken up appointment in Kwankwasiyya Cultist government. They are watching on their very nose how Kwankwasiyya is dismantling the commercial credibility of Kano by destroying the ICT Park, one of the projects suggested by the Kano Economic Summit and which, they co-sponsored.



For proper comprehension of the present sorry state of Kano State there is need, to briefly explore the backgrounds of Rabiu Kwankwaso and Ibrahim Shekarau the dominant personalities in Kano politics. In this case we have to analyze the influence of their environments, families and friends in other words social milieu as the major factor in shaping their characters and ultimately their worldviews.

Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso hailed from Kwankwaso Village where his father was the Dagachi or Village Head until when Rabiu became the Governor and he sought the favor of the revered Emir of Kano who elevated him to the position of Hakimi or District Head of Madobi with the title of Majidadin Kano. Rabiu studied at Gwarzo Boarding Primary School, Wudil Technical (Craft) School, Kaduna Polytechnic and a University in the United Kingdom amongst others. In the sixties and seventies only intellectually less endured students usually go to technical schools and polytechnics and to this day HND is less prestigious than a bachelor’s degree. Some people like Rabiu go to the University for a Post Graduate Degree to redeem their image and in some cases some organizations still maintain that one must have a bachelor’s degree before they recognize him even if he had later acquired a masters or postgraduate diploma. One of Rabiu’s leading ideologues was withdrawn from BUK only for him to later obtain Master’s degree from Cardiff without a bachelor’s degree. The sadism of this ideologue is reflected in the kind of essays he writes and the nuances of the newspaper he heads using it purely for virulent attacks and not for information dissemination and education.

One would have expected Rabiu to be closer to the Emir of Kano than most other politicians having sought the Emir’s favor to elevate his father to the position of Hakimi (District Head) but this is not the case. The theory of inferior aristocracy articulated by Omar Faruk Ibrahim in Prince of the Times: Ado Bayero and the Transformation of Emiral Authority in Kano his authoritative biography of Emir Ado Bayero explains this behavior of Rabiu Kwankwaso and other politicians like him. The inferior aristocrats are the sons of Village Heads (Dagatai) who during the colonial period and earlier post colonial period were very repressive in their localities and were feared by the locals. Hence when they come into the larger society they feel that everyone must be under them with autocratic disposition and not persuasion. Rabiu has completely alienated himself from the Kano Emirate because the Emirate honored his arch enemy Shekarau with the title of the Sardaunan Kano, a title higher than that of Rabiu’s father for the first time in Kano history. There is no logic or even common sense in Rabiu’s behavior. The Kano Emirate is the most enduring and most respected institution in Kano because it is culmination of the cultural development of the people that began over a millennium ago. The institution has witnessed several transformations and it has been absorptive. Islam has transformed the institution and it has also absorbed modern technologies of social engineering since the colonial period from indirect rule and sole native authority position to present when it became the most respected in community leadership. The Emir, Alhaji Ado Bayero has carved a niche of integrity and dignity in Nigeria and beyond and is considered one of the most respected Muslim Leaders in the World by a recent study conducted by the Georgetown University.

Rabiu’s failure to comprehend the dynamics of Kano Society is as a result of combination of intellectual deformity and environmental liability from inferior aristocratic background leading him to challenge the very cultural foundation of the society he is governing. This is political alienation because no society can progress with this fundamental contradiction, with no harmony between culture and politics. Politics can change culture but at a cost. Rabiu is trying to perpetuate cultism through Kwankwasiyya Cult that uses Maguzawa Pagan symbols and rituals. Theorizing his paganism is a whole subject of an essay. The emphasis here is that he is not propagating any modern political culture that will enable democracy to flourish instead he is using the platform of the national ruling party, the PDP to entrench this cultism. Shekarau on the other hand is from a disciplined humble family with good home training hence through out his educational career he was adjudged to be the best behaved student while Rabiu was undisciplined he has ordered the removal of his school files. Shekarau grew up in Kano Metropolitan his father was a police officer who had worked under the then Native Authority Police Chiefs including His Highness Alhaji Ado Bayero who served in that capacity. Shekarau’s father was very close to members of Kano royalty and he had great respect for them including the revered Mai Babban Daki the mother of His Highness Alhaji Ado Bayero. This reverence and deep respect became established in his behavior and subsequent interactions. Shekarau was also associated with the Muslim Students Society, a society established by Dr. Lateef Adebegti and others committed to inculcating moral values and sense of purpose and patriotic citizenship in students. He attended Ahmadu Bello University for his degree in Mathematics and joined the teaching profession where he also excelled as a good teacher and school administrator. He became one of the most distinguished Permanent Secretaries in the history making key innovations wherever he was posted and he was very influential culminating in the cabinet office, the seat of power during the military era and the interface between the state and other elite groups hence he influenced the formation of Inuwar Jama’ar Kano through this network. Little wonder therefore his successful positive social engagements in his public service career that saw him participating in trade unionism, as the two term National President of the All Nigeria Conference of Secondary School Principals one of the organizations with the most educated members in Nigeria and civil society activism being one of the founders of Inuwar Jama’ar Kano the most successful NGO in Kano all these are facts that are known to people and are in the public domain.

When Shekarau became the Governor at the peak of Shari’ah agitation he was well qualified to give Shari’ah its correct interpretation and the result is there for everyone to see. A fundamental achievement has been inclusive politics and societal re-orientation program which earned recognition of UNDP that appointed Shekarau’s Director General of Societal Reorientation as its consultant for a similar program for another country. This is a great achievement had it been Nigeria is a normal country although Professor Dora Akinyuli Former Minister of Information and Communication acknowledged Shekarau’s prowess in peaceful social engineering when he visited her. All these were as result of Shekaru’s good family background, Islamic training and technocratic pedigree.

Rabiu has no parallel in positive social engagement with the civil society and technocratic elite as Shekarau. He only plunged into politics at the prompting of a local chieftain who claimed to have lost his secondary school certificate at Senate Confirmation hearing in 1983 when he was screened for ministerial appointment and in any case politics is a domain dominated by riff raffs hence our current predicament in Kano and Nigeria. We will remain backward if only few people with credible social antecedents join and they leave it for such people in Kwankwasiyya Cult. Any one in doubt of Rabiu’s disposition can go to YouTube and watch his Kwankwasiyya cultist outings, where he was chanting Pagan incantations of wuju-wuju, mahahaha, jaba, dan ujule etc.

As a result of this intellectual deformity and environmental liability Rabiu has not articulated his vision for Kano State apart from the fact that he wants to perpetuate his brigandage, in the name of his Kwankwasiyya Cult. People of little minds always push their communities and societies to hero worshiping to hide their intellectual bankruptcies. There is nothing in Kwankwasiyya apart from hero worship, brigandage and ineptitude. Rabiu and his propagandists have never been able to state their philosophy clearly for the people of Kano. For example no matter your hatred for Shekarau he had an operational philosophy, the first of its kind in Nigeria based on the culture of the people of Kano. In a democracy the benefit of such a manifesto is that people can easily judge the leadership. For Rabiu you have nothing to judge him with apart from incoherent statements recorded by Sa’a Babaji in Freedom Radio. This is intellectual regression for the people of Kano State.

Rabiu and his cronies always claim that he congratulated Shekarau in 2003 and therefore Shekarau is expected to congratulate him and at the same time they claimed in their website kwankwasiyya online that the contest between him and Takai was fierce. First of all in 1999, APP (now ANPP) lost to PDP in the Governorship election and the candidate and his deputy congratulated the PDP candidate therefore the PDP congratulation of Shekarau in 2003 was only a reciprocation of an earlier gesture. In 2007 when Ahmed Garba, who is a Rabiu, protégé ran against Shekarau, Rabiu did not congratulate Shekarau for defeating Bichi so Shekarau has no reason to congratulate Rabiu in 2011 for defeating Takai who is a Shekarau protégé. In both instances 2007 and 2011 the parties contested the results in court. In any case this is not even the issue it is good to be sportsmanly in a democratic competition but everyone knows that Rabiu is not a sportsman but rogue by his own acknowledgment which is well documented in his utterances during his campaigns available in YouTube and in Darikar Kwankwasiyya A Kano which is a detailed documentation of his campaigns around Kano State. He promised to terrorize his opponents if he looses. His sayings have now been popularized for the first time terrorism is given an official acceptance in Kano with the terminologies of wuju-wuju and goro dan ujule. In the first republic the slogans of NPC was salama and for NEPU it was sawaba and the second republic it was nasara for PRP and aminci for NPN which were Islamic terminologies whereas Kwankwasiyya terminologies (wuju-wuju and goro dan ujule) are pagan orientated, this is partly because Kwankwasiyya cultism is routed in Maguzawa (pagan Hausa traditional religion) syncretism. He has fulfilled his promise of reviving paganism by appointing a committee headed by a member of his cult to revive the pagan rites of kalankowa, sharo, karuwanci in form of various rural rituals. It should also be noted that most of those involved in these rites along with prostitutes and pimps celebrated his victory openly consuming alcohol with nudity. In fact when some of the non-indigenes visited him in Government House they congratulated him for making the price of beer to come down after his re-election.

Still on the issue of his re-election and the fact that ANPP did not congratulate him, it is a clear indication that Kano is deeply divided and even the web site of the Kwankwasiyya Cult acknowledged that the election was fiercely contested. Normal human beings will be expected to quickly extend hand of friendship in the interest of the state but Rabiu is not one, he immediately embarked on character assassination and smear campaign against his predecessor to extent of even lying on what was handed over to him. For example he falsely claimed that he inherited an empty treasury with foreign loan. As at May 27th 2011 there was a credit Bank balance of N4, 361,905,917.15 and Cash Book balance of N5, 932,341,273.19 in the different accounts under the Treasury which was handed over to him by Shekarau. There was the sum of 3,867,549,852.98 cash book balance at the state main account in Oceanic Bank. All the foreign loans, Rabiu is trying to blackmail Shekarau with, were at the instance of the PDP National Government yet Rabiu’s propagandists are castigating Shekarau for taking almost interest free development loans which were nationally coordinated. These loans were administered by the donors and the highest is commercial agricultural loan to be disbursed to farmers. After this smear campaign Rabiu directed that only Kwankwasiyya Cult members should be the beneficiaries of the commercial agricultural loan he is blaming Shekarau for processing.

Rabiu should have read the handing over notes of Shekarau and learn how Kano State co-existed with FGN even though from different party and how the state also worked with all the development partners in pursuit of reform. He belonged to the same party with the FGN and he has refused to embrace the reform agenda of Nigeria instead he is claiming to be following the footsteps of General Muhammad Buhari without any written plan but slogans and deceit. Even Buhari cannot discard the Vision 20:2020 because if he does that nobody will listen to him in any part of the world. A country must have a plan which cannot be discarded every four years because of change of persons in administration that is barbarism which is the correct adjective for Kwankwasiyya Cult as we shall see later in our series of articles. This is because the Kwankwasiyya Cult is about reversing all the good works of Shekarau except those that will give them access to political aggrandizement such as offices and positions in order to hero worship Rabiu using Maguzawa pagan cultist terminologies and symbols of wuju-wuju and goro dan ujule.

Rabiu has no parallel in the history of human leadership. Even negatively active leaders like Hitler and Saddam conveniently articulate their ideologies in clear communicative disposition. Rabiu has none of that, this is not an allegation, just listen to his statements and campaign ranting recorded in the DVD Kwankwasiyya A Kano which is available in the market and in the YouTube online. And even while celebrating his victory at the Elections Tribunal he continued with ranting of Maguzawa Pagan terminologies. Kano State is like a country therefore its leader or Governor should have a minimum level of decorum and maturity to address citizens not a group of gang members. A Governor should be a leader and not a gangster, Rabiu’s disposition is that of a gangster. Some will argue that it is a democracy and the people elected him even if he is a gangster. But we must not forget that the German Socialist Party (Nazis) also won elections and they plunged the human race into its worst disaster. Even in India the world’s largest democracy at one time one quarter of the parliament was dominated, by criminals, ex-convicts and rapists. The issue is, how did Rabiu, emerge as the Governor of a decent state like Kano that prides itself as a politically sophisticated state?

We have to turn to sociology and political science to give a simple answer to this complex question. The first issue is demography must of the young kids who voted for Rabiu were new voters who did not experience his first misrule of 1999 to 2003 and many of them were the victims of his bad governance. A senior member of his Government once informed two civil society activists in a private meeting when they sought for UBE consultancy that why were they wasting their time it was better to allow the kids to remain in Qur’anic schools as Almajirai because later they will be self employed as washmen or cap tailors and will not bother anyone but if you give them formal education you must get them employment or face social unrest. This is no longer a secret because Rabiu’s commissioner of education after imposing fees on poor parents publicly stated that whoever is not ready to pay should remove his daughter and get her married or let his son be a hawker. This is the philosophy of the Kwankwasiyya Cult. It is to make as many people as possible, illiterate and spread pagan symbols and rituals to ensure effective dominance of the Kwankwasiyya Cult making easily be acceptable amongst the many school drop outs. So the sacking of non-indigene contract teachers by Rabiu during his first term (1999 to 2003) was a deliberate action to breed easy prey for the Kwankwasiyya Pagan Cult. The failure of many students in core subjects was as a result of the sacking of experienced non-indigene teachers by Rabiu during his first term. Despite the recruitment of almost the number of teachers inherited by the Shekarau Administration (there were 4070 teachers in 2003 and Shekarau recruited additional 5040) these teachers will take time to gain experience and the fruit will only be ripe in years to come. It should also be noted that in a similar effort, no other Government in the history of Nigeria has sent medical doctors on training as the Shekarau Administration did in its eight years. Fifty nine medical consultants are undergoing training under this program while one state in the north-west zone has only one consultant in its medical service.

Another reason for the emergence of this character, Rabiu as the Governor of Kano is the political configuration. In most democracies hardly do parties get three terms people always want change as it happened in India when they eventually voted the extremist BJP and went in communal violence and sectarian strife that was never experienced in that country since the partition. Now the people have discarded those extremists hopefully the Kwankwasiyya Cult will be discarded in Kano. Rabiu’s strategists calculated and went for the easy prey and the gullible and they also cashed on the propaganda that Takai is Izala and got the votes of the extremists of the Tijjaniyya Sufi Order. Fortunately this Tijjaniyya people and other Sufi followers are now paying dearly because of their marginalization by the Izala people led by Abba Koki and Aminu Daurawa who are now closer to Rabiu. None of these two opportunists (Koki and Daurawa) have had any form of formal education Islamic or Western hence they equate the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW) with aggrandizement since Rabiu has given them positions he belongs to their sect even though he promotes Maguzawa Paganism in his Kwankwasiyya Cult.

Rabiu is a terribly vindictive person suffering from neurosis he never under rates an enemy even a child. While he was the Minister of Defense he directed the authorities at the Nigerian Defense Academy not to admit Shekarau’s son. During his first term he told a member of the State House that he passes enmity and hatred to his progeny implying that his progeny will also be enemies of that member of the state assembly. He has vowed to crush any opposition especially those who criticize him in the media once he wins his case at the tribunal. His fight with the media is no secret. He directs the transfer of principals of secondary schools and directors of personnel of Local Government Areas that do not belong to the Kwankwasiyya Cult or when a member of the cult needs the position. Even a junior officer in one of the ministries was transferred to less lucrative post because he was close to a former commissioner. One Permanent Secretary even complained that he was tired of transferring people on instructions from above. Rabiu’s ineptitude and lack of knowledge is clearly demonstrated in his elevation of a position that is not constitutionally recognized over those established by the constitution this will be treated later in our essay on his violation of the rule of law and administrative procedures.

Kano State being the most populous state in Nigeria is fit to be a country and it is more populated than many African countries. Yet its current Governor has no vision and he does not even understand his society. He is simply on ego trip to entrench the cult of Kwankwasiyya and perpetuate Maguzawa pagan rituals. His inaugural speech on May 29, 2011 is full of false allegations, incoherent and false promises that are yet to be fulfilled. He is on a vendetta mission hence his attempt to destroy all the good works initiated by his predecessor. He has maintained the offices and ministries established by his predecessor so as to extend patronage to his cronies. He once told his cabinet members that most of them were jobless until he gave them appointments, one of his commissioners used to sleep in ‘shago’ in the city because he was jobless and single from the village. He has retained the Ministries of Science and Technology, Higher Education, Rural and Community Development and Projects Monitoring Directorate all created by Shekarau. He also retained most of the offices of the special advisers including inter-community relations, inter-party relations, private and vocational education etc all created by Shekarau.

As with most intellectually deformed politicians, Rabiu retained these offices because he is concerned with the outward and not the essence. For example Kano State was the first to articulate an ICT Policy and then followed this endeavor with the establishment of the Ministry of Science and Technology headed by one of the most respected ICT experts in the country. The first thing Rabiu did was to destroy one of the foundations of that policy which was the ICT Park and retain the Ministry for his crony thus demonstrating to the world that he is a philistine. He promised to convert the ICT Park to a secondary school. It should be noted that Rabiu was the most destructive Governor in the history of Kano State because he demolished the foundation of the future of the state by sacking all contract teachers many of whom were science, mathematics and English Language teachers during his first term as the Governor. This has contributed more than any other measure to the mass failure of students in these foundation subjects. And now in typical politics of brigandage he is planning to convert ICT Park and property earmarked for five-star hotel to secondary schools, just to steer populism without any plan or even vision. The ICT Park is to generate revenue and employment and already foreign partners have shown commitment by investing their money and time. The five-star hotel is to attract more airlines to Kano because they complained on lack of decent hotel accommodation. Kano Airport has receded from being the second in Nigeria to the fourth because few airlines now patronize the airport. It is lagging behind Lagos (more than 5m passengers), Abuja (more than 2m passengers) and Port-Harcourt (about 1m passengers) while Kano is used by less than half million passengers in a year. These facts are unknown to Rabiu because he does not value knowledge. He has no plan of restoring Kano’s commercial glory of which the airport is an important key. This vision could be achieved by harnessing the limited resources available to the state as well as the competitive advantage it has over other states.

As a man who lacked vision and focus, Rabiu’s inaugural speech on the 29th of May 2011 did not address any of the fundamental challenges facing the state except false allegations and promises based on instincts and not knowledge. He made no mention of Vision 20:2020 which is the transformation document drafted by experts and stakeholders for his party and the whole of Nigeria. He has no idea of what Kano should become based on this National Vision, so such a person is not qualified to lead even a local government. As a Governor he is expected to have known this document and its relevance to his state. With deformed intellect, at least Rabiu can employ the services of more endowed persons to explain this document to him and chart the course of his state in the coming years. Most leaders are not super intelligent even though there is minimum level of knowledge they expected to possess so that they can have sound judgment in discharging the affairs of their state. Hence Sarkin Musulmi Muhammadu Bello in the 19th century put “craving for the company of the learned” as the third principle of politics in his Usul al-Siyasa. Knowledge of Vision 20:2020 is imperative and it is ilm hal (compulsory) for every leader in Nigeria and should not be avoided by any politician more so a politician from the ruling party. He needs to be sanctioned for this ignorance of party philosophy if he cannot be sacked since the people of Kano do not know what is good for them and they will remain behind.

As a man with deformed intellect, Rabiu is driven by instincts whenever something crosses his mind he immediately takes it. Nowhere in his campaigns or in his inaugural address did he ever pledge that he was going to build Kwankwasiyya cities and villages or to construct another Government House but now he has decided to do that. During his first term as the Governor of Kano State he spent about N2billion on three houses that have no economic value. These were the Aminu Kano House (Governor’s Lodge in Abuja over N790m), painting of Ado Bayero House over N700m and renovation of Government House N500m. The amount expended on these projects was more than his entire capital expenditure in agriculture for the entire period. We shall discuss how Rabiu is destroying agricultural foundation of Kano in one of our forthcoming essays.

Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso is committed to under developing Kano for personal hero worship through Kwankwasiyya Cult. Since assuming power he demonstrated this determination through socially and economically irresponsible policies. In this essay we have demonstrated the social disconnect of Rabiu and we shall elaborate in detail in our forthcoming essays on his adventure of retarding Kano and making it, fail in attaining the millennium development goals, fail in girl child education, fail in attracting foreign investment and his anti-rule of law postures. These essays will demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that Rabiu is a disaster for Kano State in particular and Nigeria in general because he is working against the philosophy of his party the PDP.


3 COMMENTS

  1. An excellent expose on a riffraf who consider himself as a warlord. But read my lips…Kwankwaso is heading for destruction. Kano and Nigeria shall survive him.

  2. The most mind-boggling thing about this villain-turned-governor is what he did to the plot belonging to the Libyan Govt. for the construction of the Manarah University. A staff there told me that they receiced a so-called court order on the 25th of October that Kano state Govt. has revoked the land. The following morning more than 50 heavily-armed mobile policemen along with some court officials and government functionaries swarmed the area and asked all the staff to immediately vacate the area. My friend told me that he was only able to come out with some of his books on identification. Everything else, including furnitures, computer sets, scanners, printers, photocopiers, carpets which are available in almost all of the more than fourty offices were stashed away by the officials. This is nothing short of official brigandage. These kwankwasiyya members are now making Allah, His Messenger (SAW), Shari’ah and devout scholars elements of mockery and caricatures. One was quoted as saying ‘Let prayer give the power to you if it can’ when a Takai supporter said that they would pray. A hardworking and dedicated headmistress at Fagge Special primary School was recently deposed for no reason other than that she has allegedly prayed for the Shekarau Administration. An amateur is now her replacement because he is a brother to the commissioner of information. They said that kwankwasiyya member, no matter how ignorant , is better and more deserving of any post than a non-member. Those who followed kwankwasiyya among the scholars are useless elements in the world of scholarship. Though Qadiriyya Sufi order is not his personal or family property the present khalifah thinks that whoever disobeys his commands loses his Qadiriyyah membership. Many Qadirawa discarded his command that Kwankwaso must be voted as Allah, His Messenger SAW, and Islam are dearer to them than a deviant, sentimental and greedy khalifah. We are optimistic that Divine punishment would soon befall the enemies of Allah and the people no matter who and what they are

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