Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, the Senator representing the Kano Central constituency has built a formidable political machine that is waxing strong by the day.
In Kano politics, Kwankwaso is a force to reckon with. He controls a large chunk of followers who believe in him and who are ready to work for him anytime, any day to achieve his political ambition.
The big issue now is that political giants are anxious to know if Senator Kwankwaso will contest to be the next President of Nigeria. He is currently an APC Senator but there are strong rumours that he may decamp if he cannot realise his ambition in APC.
Though, he is currently at loggerheads with the incumbent governor, Ganduje, who is his political godson, Kwankwaso’s influence within the party is still very strong. It’s because of his political machine called The Kwankwanssiya Movement. He didn’t just set up the group. When Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, the then Governor of Kano State initiated the Kwankwassiyya Group as a distinctive group within the PDP then, not many people knew the reasons behind this.
They assumed a distinct way of dressing. They wear red caps and have a badge of their own as well as their own logo. They have also been registered as a political organization. By the time the former Governor came out to vie for the presidency in 2014, it was obvious that a brand had emerged within the APC. It was the Kwankwassiyya brand.
Like Atiku before him, the Kwankwassiyya has not been limited to Kano. Indeed, there are rumored to be many more members of the group outside of Kano than inside the State. At airports in both Lagos and Abuja, it is not uncommon to meet young men wearing the Kwankwassiyya badge.
What is Kwankwassiyya, you may ask? It is coined out of Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso’s surname and it is a movement that claims to share and believe in the doctrine of Kwankwaso. Up North, it is not uncommon to have groups like that especially religious groups sharing the same philosophies, bearing the names of its founders.
And so, when the APC primary elections came in 2014, the Kwankwassiyyas were not a pushover. They were defeated quite all right but they came second, leaving Abubakar Atiku in the third place. That was the strength of the Kwankwassiyya then.
Things have changed since then, Kwankwaso has left office as Governor and gone to the Senate. He has fallen out with his erstwhile deputy who he single-handedly installed as the Governor of Kano State and he has also been severally shown that he is persona non grata in Kano, a state he had ruled for eight years.
Despite all these, his footsoldiers have continued to show that he is still on ground. Indeed, all efforts by Ganduje, who has also created the Gandujiyya to position himself for his reelection to rubbish Kwankwaso, has met a brick wall. They have used security issues to keep him out of the state but they have not been able to stop his supporters. Many of his activities and his achievements while in power have continued to stand him out. The students he sent abroad for training, who were abandoned by the state government, the mass weddings he conducted which gave many poor people a sense of fulfilment are all legacies that the Ganduje administration have tried but they have not been able to wish away.
To cap it all, he has been moving round other states of the Federation especially the South East and South South, rallying supporters for his presidential ambition. He is believed to be one of the major targets of the Tinubu reconciliation attempt within the APC. There have been talks of Kwankwaso crossing over to PDP where he formerly belonged and the undercurrent facts of the collaboration with the PDP in Kano is also there.
The noise generated by the videos of kid voters in Kano has not died down, and these voters are the ones Ganduje banks upon to give Buhari 5 million votes in 2019 that is based on the promise that Kwanwkwaso would not come out to contest or he would be stifled out of Kano. But the former Governor has a strong backing in the Emir as well as other top opposition figures in the state. To assume that he is a pushover simply because he has left power is to refuse to face the obvious. Even though he is in Abuja, his footsoldiers have continued to keep the flame of Kwankwassiyya fire burning in Kano despite all efforts to douse it. While many are still dilly-dallying over what to do in 2019, Kwankwasiyya movement has launched his campaign for the Presidency in Anambra State in October last year, while many in his party are still keeping their ambition under wraps.