By Desmond Mgbo
Members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kano State are back to a familiar path of intra party dispute. Two of its biggest wigs, the gubernatorial running mate of the party, Murtala Sule Garo and the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Ado Alhassan Doguwa, are at war with each other and are resolved to slide further in self- destruct.
The latest bust- up happened on Monday night at a caucus meeting initiated by the governorship candidate of the party, Nasuri Yusuf Gawuna, at his residence in Bompai area of the state capital.
The meeting, intended to strategise ahead of the 2023 elections, had in attendance the Chairman of the party, Abdullahi Abbas Sanusi, the Secretary of the party, Zakari Sarina, a former Secretary to the State Government, Rabiu Suleiman Bichi and the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Ibrahim Hamisu Chidari, among other top flight APC members in the state.
A peaceful meeting which began with banters here and there at the initial state, however morphed into a desperate gathering, ending up in a rocky fight between the titans.
Account of what exactly transpired, who initiated the first shot and who took the last blow is neither here nor there. But what is known in the public domain is that late on Monday night, Murtala Sule Garo or his proxies, leaked the encounter to the press, painting the Majority leader as the villain in the fight.
The morning after, the popular story in the ancient city was that Garo was attacked and injured by Doguwa, who was eventually chased out of the venue of the meeting by the governorship candidate of the party.
However, in a counter to this narrative, the Majority leader denied the allegations, recalling that he was at the venue of the meeting by chance and on the invitation of the party Chairman, Abbas Abdullahi Sanusi, and not as an uninvited guest as his detractors told the public.
He also explained that within minutes of his arrival, he jokingly inquired from the attendees why the entire members of the national assembly from the state were excluded from such an important meeting, only for Garo to yell at him.
He insisted that Garo poured aspersion at him, his father and his entire family, a situation which led to exchange of unpleasant words between them.
He denied assaulting his opponent, accusing him rather of initiating a failed attack on him. In his words, “As Garo furiously surged to grab my collar; he slipped and fell on a broken piece of mug that had earlier fallen from the dining table, a fall that led to his hand injury.
Ado explained that there was no way he would have engaged in a fight given his positions as a highly respected traditional title holder in Rano Emirate and a very senior member of the APC at the state and the national level.
Since the night of the alteration, a sneaky political tension has gripped the ancient city. There is a build-up of well- armed thugs loyal to both chieftains. A few skirmishes have been recorded in the state already. They include the attack on Ado’s loyalists around the Late Bashir Tofa’s House and another ambush against them around the airport area. In addition, political banners and posters belonging to both sides are being defaced or outrightly destroyed.
“My banners are being destroyed as I speak; I am being deliberately embarrassed by these people. I don’t deserve all this. I am a leader of the party at the state and national level; if they continue like this, I will be forced to pay them back in their own coin” the majority lamented in one of his cry for justice.
To understand the trajectories of the current dispute, one must go review the power configuration in the state. Both men are powerful in the state, no doubt. But like Oliver Twist, they want just more power. And more power. Hence, they are always clashing for space in the corridors of power.
Months ago for instance, the Majority leader hosted an empowerment programme in his constituency and invited the governor’s wife, Prof. Hafsat Ganduje. She was accompanied by Garo, who was then the Commissioner for Local government. When Garo mounted the podium to speak, he not only challenged Doguwa some sphere of influence but fouled the occasion with an unpleasant remark, a situation which snowballed into an open clash between their supporters. Since then, there has been no love lost between the duo. At every point of meeting, they are bound to disagree.
It is believed that the eruption at the meeting was a culmination of a bottled up anger and frustration at the Majority leader’s overzealousness and attempts to unduly drag attention to himself. His rivals accuse him of bulldozing his way at all functions. An insider told Daily Sun that the ill- feelings towards him only grew larger after he was singled out for mention by Bola Tinubu during his recent visit to Kano.
Meanwhile, many groups within the party have reacted to the development in a manner that best served their purpose. In a statement of condemnation, Kano State House of Assembly took side with the running mate of the party against the Majority leader, saying Ado’s action violated the ethics of the party.
The statement recalled that the Majority Leader had behaved in same manner to the former secretary to the state government, Rabiu Sulieman Bichi and on the member representing Wudil Garko Federal Constituency, Mohammed Ali Wudil while urging the state and national leadership of the party to sanction the Majority leader
With the outbreak of this fight, there is no doubt that the die is cast and the APC in the state is not only in a mess but might be the greatest loser. Already, the NNPP has set up a committee of four to cash in on the quarrel and woe the Majority leader to their party just as they have tendered a belated apology and condolences to him over the death of his father.
Should they succeed in luring him, the NNPP would add him to a long list of national legislators from the state who were denied their tickets by the APC and had decamped to other parties. And if the Majority leader decided to move, his departure would create a huge vacuum in the area of influence that cannot be easily substituted within the limited timeframe for the 2023 polls.
Abubabar Audu, a political commentator painted yet another possible scenario arising from the fight. He envisaged that both camps would now strategize to fall the other and have the last laugh, especially as Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has remained surprisingly silent over the whole development.
“While Murtala Sule Garo would work with some stakeholders in Tudun Wada/Dogowa Federal Constituency to ensure that the Majority leader is defeated in 2023 elections, the Majority leader would also withdraw his support for the party in the governorship elections probably leading to the defeat of their candidate. In the end, the party would suffer intolerably.
“Certainly, nothing good would come out of this unfortunate fight and there are bound to be consequences that would affect so many people, who have nothing to do with the fight, “he opined.