Leading peacebuilding NGO – the Center for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) says the security situation in Kano is deteriorating fast and would want Kano elders; traditional and religious leaders; business and academic communities; the Kano Election Peace Committee; politicians and their supporters/followers and youth; security agents; media and members of civil society groups as well as professionals from different disciplines to support creative efforts that would make peaceful conduct of the rerun election scheduled for March 23rd, 2019 peaceful.
This is the second of such a statement coming out of Kano since Tuesday. Earlier on, 21 members of the Kano Peace and Development Initiative, (KAPEDI) issued a statement Tuesday calling for calm. Made up of the crème de la crème of Kano, the statement was one major indicator that Kano could plunge into chaos. Obviously conscious of the damage such an all-out violence could inflict on Kano economy and society, the elite observed the prevalence of an atmosphere of apprehension in the state in the aftermath of the collation of results, especially how many have taken to various social media platforms to broadcast unofficial results thereby contributing to the heightened tense atmosphere.
Among signatories in that statement are former ministers, established professors, notable businessmen and technocrats. They include Dr. Shamsudden Usman, OFR, CON; Engineer Ibrahim Khaleel lnuwa, OFR ; Prof. Munzali Jibril, OFR; Alh. lsyaku Urnar Tofa Dan Ada la, OON; Alhaji Aliko Dangote, GCON; A.B Mahmoud, SAN, OON; and Prof. Bello Ahmd Salim, OFR.
Others are Alh. Arninu Sani; Engineer Mansur Ahmed; Ambassador Bala Sani, mni; Alhaji Rabiu Gambo; Mallam Gidado Mukhtar; Alh Mukhtar Dangana; Alh. Rabiu Muhammad Gwarzo, OON; Prof. Auwalu Yadudu; Alhaji Bashir Borodo, MFR; Sheikh Ibrahim Khaleel; Alh. Halilu Ibrahim Dantiye, mni; Hajia Rakiya Sani Ahmed; Hajia Safiya Yara and Garba Aliyu Gezawa.
Now, it is the city’s leading NGO in a statement signed for CITAD by Hamza Ibrahim, Coordinator of its Curbing Hate and Dangerous Speech Project, calling on elders of Kano in particular to take a very serious view of the matter, complete with immediate, necessary actions that would ensure the planned election takes place peacefully and violence does not occur before, during and after the election. It said in a statement March 14th, 2019 that certain named politicians were making very volatile statements, citing a 58 seconds video clip by Hon. Abdullahi Abbas, the Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), basically telling youth “in a clear, inciting and dangerous manner” that they were licensed to beat up anybody they so wish because soldiers and the police will do nothing to them. The remarks, said CITAD, constitute serious danger to the election and period beyond, more so that it also said the rerun election would be won by the APC in chaos or conflict. “We regrettably condemn these remarks”, added CITAD which is insisting that “no election should cost the life anyone in the state” as far as CITAD is concerned, elections come and go and no citizen or body, no matter how highly placed, should be allowed to jeopardize its conduct if democracy is to be safeguarded and strengthened in Nigeria.
In the statement titled “Give Chance to Peaceful Rerun Election in Kano and Elsewhere”, the NGO is calling on security agents to be professional and neutral in the discharge of their duties; the media should support and strengthen awareness creation on peaceful conduct of the election; professionals and all members of the society to support the peaceful conduct of the rerun. It is particularly appealing to the youths to understand the hope society placed on them and resist any provocation to cause chaos before, during and after the rerun election.
Kano appears to be contending with consequences of multiple elite split, most notable of which are the Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso – Governor Ganduje split and the Kwankwaso – Ibrahim Shekarau split. This is apart from the broader APC versus PDP contestation. While Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje is fighting back against being disgraced from power as it is called in Nigeria, he lacks the Philosopher-King stature and power is rapidly slipping off his hands.
On the other hand is a Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso fortress well located in youth, women and semi-skilled elements such as the Keke NAPEP constituency. As such, it is not a push over even as it doesn’t have incumbency advantage. At the moment, this group feels it has won the election and it should be given the floor or it would assert itself.
This ‘balance of terror’ has complicated the inconclusiveness of the Kano gubernatorial election into a dangerous fight to finish. To these splits would be added the phenomenon of ‘inconclusive election in the state.
Like most other states in Nigeria, Kano has no central authority with the moral high ground that can calm a situation described as absolutely volatile. The Kano State Government is, ordinarily, the central authority but, this time, it is the object being competed for. Every other groups, including the religious leaders CITAD is appealing to, is polarized.
Groups are meeting here and there on how best to resolve the looming showdown that platforms such as KAPEDI and CITAD are referring to. How quickly their appeal to various levels of power translates into a calm Kano is what is at issue.