by Citizen Reporter, Kano State
Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano State may be having the greatest regret of his life as the much awaited talks between the NLC/TUCand Civil Society representatives on one hand and the Federal Government ended in deadlock. Kwankwaso’s regret has nothing to do with the suffering the continuation of the strike may inflict on the hapless Nigerians, but his main concern was his fast eroding political profile. He faces a political extinction.Continuation of the protests, mass rallies and strike action may spell doom for him as he knew from personal experience that furious and angry Kano protesters could not be contained by all the combined security forces stationed within the state as January 9th Mass Protests had revealed. On that day,Kwankwaso was nearly captured by the protesters when they besieged the Government House and in the process pulled down the fence of the heavily fortified Government House.
Kwankwaso’s blunder arose from his administration’s open support of the much condemned subsidy removal when on January 3rdhis deputy; Abdullahi Umar Ganduje arrogantly announced Kano State government’sbacking of the inhuman fuel subsidy removal. What follows that infamous political suicide was a series of disaster for Kwankwaso and his administration culminating into his escape by the whiskers from the hands of angry protesters on the afternoon of Monday, January 9th, 2012. He made history by been the first Nigerian governor to have been nearly captured by angry demonstrators. Kano protests revealed that Nigerian masses could overcome their differences and face a common enemy.
His government’s open support of the subsidy removal and the backlash that followed clearly exposed Kwankwaso as anti-people and a coward.First he tried bribing the media from carrying the story but the highly credible Daily Trust resisted his entreaties and did publish the story titled,“Kano Govt backs FG on fuel subsidy removal” in its edition of January 4th,2012. Kwankwaso panicked and sent thugs to raze down the offices of the Media Trust, publisher of the Daily Trust. Again it backfired and one of the thugs was captured and exposed the government as responsible for their dastardly act.The public was enraged.
Then the unwarranted killing of a protester on January 5th,2012, in a pre-dawn assault on students demonstrating against the fuel subsidy removal. The demonstrators had camped since Wednesday January 4th,at Silver Jubilee Square (variously renamed as Tahrir Square or Liberation Square) to stay overnight until the subsidy removal is reversed, but Kwankwaso Ordered the raid in what many described as extremely callous. A team of heavily armed anti-riot police and government sponsored thugs known as vigilantes were sent to brutalise the peaceful demonstrators. The police stormed the place and used tear gas and gun butts against the demonstrators while the vigilantes used cudgels and a van belonging to the vigilantes, bearing KNSG registration number drove into the crowd, running over the demonstrators resulting into the death of one protester while injuring over 40 protesters in the process. The public was incensed.
The nationwide strike declared by the Labour that took off on Monday January, 9th brought the opportunity for the public to express its anger at Kwankwaso for supporting what many believed as “callous and insensitive” removal of fuel subsidy. The whole of Kano poured out and while Labour leaders were at the Race Course ground making speech (after striking a deal with the governor not to proceed to the Govt House), the mammoth crowd heads for Government House demanding for Kwankwaso’s head while condemning him for betraying the people of Kano and pitching his tent with what many perceived as responsible for their excruciating poverty and hardship. But for the timely intervention of the military, it would have been an entirely a different story by now. Kwankwaso had to be bundled out of the Government House through a backdoor.
The diminutive governor who is widely known to be a junkie was rattled and visibly shaken for narrowly escaping the people’s wrath.Initially he and his handlers came up with an unintelligent reaction that it was the opposition who organized the whole protests, especially the attempt to capture him. But he was advised by the security agencies to desist politicizing the issue as it was obvious that the mammoth crowd was beyond been manipulated by any group, and ascribing the opposition as responsible for mobilization of the crowd would portray him and his administration as lacking any support. He Therefore changed tactics and initiates reaching out to hitherto abandoned groups of people, including the Ulama, traditional rulers and some militant groups within his Kwankwasiya movement.
It is equally uncovered that Kwankwaso had perfected a plot to unleash mayhem on his political enemies if the protests continue to threaten his political fortune. There is at present, a mass exodus of Kwankwasiyya Faithful who now realized that Kwankwaso has become a political liability.Aligning to him is now regarded as a political suicide of sort as followers and chieftains of Kwankwasiyya are dumping the movement by the day. A chieftain from Bichi, a hometown of the SSG, Rabiu Sulaiman Bichi who was the leader of the fanatical cult, recently made an announcement denouncing the movement and bidding it good bye, for good. There are also a clandestine meetings going on with some MPs and Commissioners, considering impeachment process against Kwankwaso for unilaterally supporting the fuel subsidy removal,disregarding the untold hardship that the scheme would unleash on the people.
To stem the apparent extinction that threatens his political fortune, Kwankwaso has been busy doling out tons of money to these groups including the media in order to downplay his open support of the subsidy removal and hoping that the imbroglio would come to an end soon. However, the inconclusive meeting of the Labour with Government had struck Kwankwaso with fear as he knows that he cannot continue to hide the fact that Kano State recorded the highest number of death. So far, 12 protesters have been confirmed to be killed by the police shootings including a 14 year old Abba Muhammad and several dozens injured. He is afraid to show his face to the public and he is equally afraid of what may become of him and his shaky government in the coming week when the protests are expected to be unpredictable and devastating.