AHEAD of the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections that will be holding on Saturday, March 18, here are the options before Kano voters as they go to the polls to elect a new governor.
The current governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje’s second term ends on May 29.
Seventeen candidates will be vying for the office of governor; however, there are only three front runners among them.
Top 3 candidates
Deputy Governor of Kano State, Nasir Gawuna (APC)
Gawuna won the ticket after defeating his only challenger Sha’aban Sharada, during the All Progressives Congress (APC) primary.
He was a two-time chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) in Kano State and a former commissioner for local government.
He has promised to improve the state’s education sector if elected.
He has also promised to build on the successes recorded in the sector by two previous administrations in the state and the current Umar Ganduje administration if he wins.
Gawuna has hinged his campaign on providing infrastructure like new classrooms, furniture, and accessible and compulsory primary and secondary education.
He is an experienced politician, having served at the grassroots as local government chairman.
In Nigeria’s politics, the power of incumbency is always an advantage.
NNPP candidate, Abba Kabir Yusuf
Abba Kabir Yusuf, known as Abba Gida-Gida, is the governorship candidate of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP).
Following the gubernatorial primary election of the NNPP, Yusuf, a loyalist of Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, emerged as the party’s governorship candidate for the 2023 general elections.
Yusuf has previously worked with the Kano State Water Resources Engineering and Construction Agency (WRECA) and the Kano State Water Board.
He was later moved to the state Ministry of Water Resources.
Between 1999 to 2003, he served as Kwankwaso’s assistant and afterwards as a special assistant (administration).
He once served as the State’s Commissioner for Works, Housing and Transport under Kwankwanso.
He was the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 governorship election.
He contested against the incumbent Ganduje in an election declared inconclusive but later lost after a rerun.
He has promised to end the persistent scarcity of potable water in Kano State if elected in the forthcoming election.
The NNPP is a very popular party in Kano, and winning the Presidential race in the State is an added advantage.
The towering influence of the Party’s presidential candidate in the just concluded Presidential election, Kwankwanso, is also an advantage.
Sadiq Aminu Wali of the PDP
Sadiq Aminu Wali won a parallel governorship primary of the PDP, held at Sani Abacha Youth Centre, Kano, to emerge as the party’s candidate.
Wali beat other contestants, such as Ibrahim El Amin Little.
He is a former commissioner for Water Resources.
Wali is the eldest son of a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aminu Wali.
His candidacy has been plagued by litigations.
He has been in and out of court since the primary in 2022 after a Federal High Court in Kano declared Mohammad Sani Abacha, the son of former military dictator late Sani Abacha as the duly-elected governorship candidate of the PDP in Kano State.
He was only officially affirmed as the party’s authentic candidate by the Supreme Court on March 1, 2023.
His strength lies in the popularity of the PDP in Kano. The goodwill and experience of his father and his youthful look are added advantages.
The trend of Kano politics in recent years
The political tendency concerning governorship elections has never been steady in Kano State.
Since the restoration of democracy in 1999, no party has held complete power over the top position in Kano State.
Since 1999, the State has been led by the ANPP, PDP and APC.
In 1999, Kwankwaso was elected on the PDP platform.
In 2003, he was defeated by All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) candidate Ibrahim Shekarau.
Kwankwaso won again in 2011 under the PDP.
In 2015, Ganduje of the APC took over.
How Kano voted in recent elections
In the Presidential and National Assembly elections held on February 25, the presidential candidate of the NNPP, Kwankwaso, polled a total of 997,279 votes, according to the results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) in the State.
The APC candidate, now President-elect Bola Tinubu, came second in the state with 517,341 votes.
The candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, scored 131,716 votes while the candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, got 28,513 votes.
In the national assembly elections in the State, the NNPP won two of the three senatorial tickets and 17 of 24 House of Representatives seats.
According to INEC, around 5.9 million voters were registered in the state, and 1,769,525 were accredited.
There were 1,702,005 legitimate votes cast, while 44,405 ballots were rejected,
Kano residents react
According to a resident of Kano, Hassan Kurewa, the governorship election would differ from the presidential and national assembly elections.
He affirmed that elections in Kano always followed different patterns.
“The election will be distinct compared to the presidential election. There is the power of the incumbency (Ganduje) and the strong effect of winning the last election. It is a fight to finish between Gawuna (APC) and Gida Gida (NNPP); let us see how it goes.
“We are all looking forward to it, Insha Allah, we pray for peace,” he said
Another resident, Onileowo Dauda, on his part, said the election might throw up a surprise.
He said the APC and NNPP are the two parties to slug it out on Saturday, but according to him, PDP might pull a surprise.
“The battle for me is between the NNPP because they won the presidential election and the APC due to the power of the incumbent, but please don’t rule out the PDP. The party is very popular here, too,” Dauda said.