By Shettima Mai Ungwa
It is no longer news that my dear friend Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje is playing host to my brother from the west, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for his yearly Colloquium where the master politician gathers intellectuals and politicians to discuss on contemporary political and social issues, while proffering solutions where necessary.
Asiwaju means well when he hosts these events yearly. But he is a man with methods. He does not just come out dancing, except he has gathered the drummers and informed them the rhythm they must play.
This year’s Colloquium would not be different from the many others the South West’s leader has hosted. But it would have a significant touch of the master planner’s road to achieving his presidential ambition for 2023.
The most significant reason that this colloquium would be the most political, if I may use that word, is that it is being hosted in the seat of the North’s machinery for churning out votes—Kano State. And to embellish this fact, is the fact that the host, my friend, Dr. Ganduje, has been given promises, and he has made his too.
Kano State gave President Buhari over 77% of the votes cast in the last election. A whooping 1.4 Million votes. This is the equivalent of the total of votes from three to four South Eastern States. All handed to Mai Gaskiya. Asiwaju knows that to fulfil his 2023 ambition, he must earn the love of the North, and their votes, too.
His choice of Kano is not perchance. It is a calculated selection. But there are many other reasons that Kano has become the darling of the West’s master planner.
*The Dollar Connection*
Dr. Ganduje owes a lot to Asiwaju. His life in fact is owed to Asiwaju.
When the embarrassing video of Ganduje showing off his babariga stashed with dollars from an alleged bribe he was seen collecting, the man’s career was in the mud. He became a pariah at once. He was the symbol of stark naked corruption. Ganduje, notorious for his AIKI! AIKI! AIKI! did not make any appearance on this matter, and kept mum for weeks.
His re-election at the primaries was only a few months away. The party was worried about the perception crisis this ugly scenery was going to give to the party. There were one or two alternatives being propped up here and there, and Ganduje’s life and career were about to be cut off.
Then came Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Asiwaju was quick to rally those he could and sent gifts to those he could not. He is reported to have provided the needed funds that Ganduje’s pockets could not provide, and paid off the media, the noisy politicians and their social media warriors.
Ganduje made it to the primaries, pumped Asiwaju’s dollars into the delegates stomach’s and moved to round two, where he got stuck at with a re-run.
He tactically manoeuvred the system and emerged the winner of the elections. But that was not the end for Ganduje.
*Asiwaju Comes Through Again!*
With a very suspicious win, Ganduje was in the court rooms defending his Asiwaju-earned electoral victory. This was too much a burden for him. My friend did not have enough friends to pull an Wike-Odili-card that would ensure a smooth ride in the courts.
Then again, Dr Ganduje turned to the West. Our brother Asiwaju came through again. During the 2019 Colloquium, he showered Asiwaju praises from heaven to earth. Called him all sort of sweet names, that a man wooing a woman would use. Asiwaju deserved it, he had literally made Ganduje all that he was!
*The Promise of a Vice President*
Asiwaju is a taunter. He throws a promise here and there to his friends and makes them happy. If you think I am lying ask Rotimi Amaechi. In 2015, under the bunkers of the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Asiwaju promised that if Amaechi could rally all the Governors to support Buhari in the primaries, he would give him the slot for the Vice Presidential candidate.
Ganduje has been offered this same promise. It is not surprising that Ganduje is mobilising all resources available to deliver Asiwaju in 2023.
He is heard to have promised to finance Asiwaju’s campaign for the 2023 elections.
Now he is setting the campaign mood for his benefactor.
*The Emirs Are Gathered*
On Monday the 29th of March 2021, Dr. Ganduje would gather a host of Northern bigwigs and kingmakers to come and pay homage to the man he is sponsoring for President.
Among these wide range of Northern elites would be several Emirs. They would come and bless Asiwaju’s 2023 ambition with their presence and their sweet words.
Ganuje’s Colloquium for Asiwaju Tinubu indeed tells the story of the Common Bond between the two, more than it is of Nigeria.
Shettima Mai Ungwa is a political activist, commentator and lives in Kano State