Which Nigerian Governor does not fight his predecessor?

                                       Wike and Amaechi
Last week Saturday, I was greatly entertained by a drama piece I watched as a guest of my Bauchi State born colleague, Comrade Yakubu. The play, an exciting satire was about enemies who are fond of publicly professing friendship.

The brilliant way the intrigues in the scenes were arranged made me to ask Yakubu if aides of the present governor of his state would not introduce some of those intrigues to him in his fight with his predecessor, Isa Yuguda. Naively, Yakubu assured me that no such thing would happen in Bauchi because elders of the state would intervene to save the day.

This discussion and the play which propelled it immediately re-echoed in my mind 4 days ago when I read in the media; negative comments on the previous administration which Governor Mohammed Abubakar told State House Media Correspondents shortly after meeting Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja. The Governor revealed that following the activities of the committee he set up to recover property of government frittered away by officials of Yuguda’s government, about 72 cars and 60 generators have so far been recovered.  Abubakar also confirmed that his administration inherited five months salary arrears and N14bn unpaid gratuities.

The fight in Bauchi is easy to understand especially as those involved belong to two different political parties. It also does not quite fall into the class of the interesting drama referred to earlier where the fight was disguised. But Comrade Yakubu remains probably the only one that did not expect the Bauchi fight which was destined to happen everywhere including notorious areas like Rivers State where the current Governor Nyesom Wike came into office through a fight with the previous holder well before the election.

Incidentally the Rivers fight is still raging. If anyone imagines that there might be no fight where the candidate of a party was succeeded by another from the same party then such a person is yet to watch the drama on the disguised fight of giants.  For now let us pick two states where a party succeeded itself and see the pattern of the special fight we are seeking to describe.

Since Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of the All Progressive Congress (APC) succeeded Babatunde Fashola of the same party on May 29 this year, Fashola has been enjoying ample bad press. Is someone fighting him? Those who suspect his predecessor- Bola Ahmed Tinubu have been directed elsewhere by Tinubu himself who claims that the enemy action was the handiworks of mischief makers sponsored by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). While this is a possibility, the contents of the bad press seem to portray a different direction.

The allegations that Fashola spent N78.3m on his personal website, www.tundefashola.com and N139m to construct two boreholes at the Lagos House, Ikeja, when he was governor were allegedly found on the state government’s website. If the fight was not real or didn’t have official backing, the reactions would not have taken the same pattern of evasive denials. Government would have since refuted the allegations and publicized the true position. In the circumstance, Fashola is probably the only one who is free for strategic reasons to believe that the powers that be, are not against him.

The second state in issue is Kano where a governor, for the first time in the history of our current democracy, was succeeded by his erstwhile deputy. To the outside world, former governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso could never have found a more loyal follower than his deputy, Dr Umar Ganduje. The latter indeed served the former as deputy twice. Anyone who saw both men anywhere in white apparel matched with red cap and beaming with the philosophy of ‘Kwankwasiyya’ could swear that nothing can go wrong between them.

But, when the new governor, Dr. Ganduje recently hosted some Kano students abroad under the aegis of General Association of Northern Nigeria Students, he alleged that there was a distortion to the state scholarship programme and that it was the handiwork of Kwankwaso. In the words of the governor: “I’ve decided to let the cat out of the bag so that, as educated people, you would understand where your problems lie. For one year, Kwankwaso did not pay a single kobo as tuition fee for our students studying abroad. Right now, Kano State government owes those students N3 billion, and painfully, our revenue is dwindling and we would be cautious in handling the situation”.

Meanwhile a statement credited to the State Commissioner for Information, Youths, Sports and Culture, Mallam Mohammed Garba, has debunked speculation of a strained relationship between Governor Abubakar Ganduje and his predecessor, Rabiu Kwankwaso. According to the Commissioner, Ganduje recently led a powerful delegation from Kano to attend a dinner organized in honour of Kwankwaso.

This, according to the statement could not have happened if there was a conflict. Many people may have believed the commissioner’s statement. This writer would have been one of such early believers of the story because it was never in the character of the commissioner who is the immediate past National President of our professional body- the Nigeria Union of Journalists, to tell half truths.

I am however cautioned by 3 issues. First, the indictment of Kwankwaso by his successor was more real than the website one concerning Fashola as it was directly from the outburst of Ganduje that the nation learnt of the reported unwholesome act by his former boss. Second, the Information Commissioner merely dispelled a conflict without refuting the allegation that the former governor misapplied funds meant for students’ scholarship. Third, when I visited Kano last year, the official residence of Ganduje didn’t in my view befit a loyal deputy governor

So, is Ganduje fighting his former boss? Since the official answer is negative, who then is not fighting who?  In my state, Edo, I hear Governor Adams Oshiomhole and his deputy are pals but that the governor says both of them must leave office together because they started together. Should we expect any fight soon in the heartbeat of the nation? Time will tell.
Which Nigerian Governor does not fight his predecessor? Which Nigerian Governor does not fight his predecessor? Reviewed by Vita Ioanes on Sunday, August 30, 2015 Rating: 5

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