‘Our kwankwasiya ideology improved the lot of Kano indigenes’
IMMEDIATE past Kano State governor who now represents the central Senatorial District of the state at the upper legislative chamber, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso has explained the reasons for the adoption of the kwankwasiya ideology, which his administration introduced to, in his words, “enhance the wellbeing of the citizenry in the polity”.
Speaking with The Guardian in Abuja, he disclosed that Kwankwasiya was an offshoot of the ideological leanings of the defunct Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) founded by the late Malam Aminu Kano who was preoccupied with the empowerment of the downtrodden in the society.
Kwankwaso whose 59th birthday coincides with the sixth anniversary of the kwankwasiya ideology marked on the 21st of October, expressed happiness that he is leaving no stone unturned in living up to the expectations of the citizenry not only in Kano but in Nigeria as a whole.
According to him, “I am happy that we came up with this ideology where we can have the identity; the red cap on white gown or jumper and of course the black shoe. It was the colour and identity of the defunct PDP, which late Aminu Kano was noted for and we were his students politically.
“We learnt so much from him and we believed in his ideology. Not only that we believed it was the ideology that would help not only Kano but our society to move forward.
“The ideology is simple. We call it democratic humanism; an ideology that gives priority to the needy, the very young, the very old, the poor and the sick. That was our top-most priority. Ours was an ideology aimed at supporting them; support their children to go to school; create employment for them; provide them with basic amenities and give them a sense of belonging and capacity to participate in the modern economy.
“And you know the poor are in the majority; and politics is a game of number which is why the ideology is good for all. So by the time that we were able to convince the masses of our state, get their trust and support based on our integrity, that was why we were always wining at any given time irrespective of the platform we chose to use.”
While urging those entrusted with positions of responsibility to be just and fair to the citizenry, Kwankwaso, whose mandate was validated by the Court of Appeal in Kaduna, shed light on how he was able to mobilize support for the red cap revolution in Kano State.
He said, “For me, leaders must have good intention and good heart. You don’t assume that everybody should think they way you are thinking and you have to look at so many differences that exist between individuals in terms of age, educational background, family background, etc. So having the big heart is very important and the ability to accommodate people is also very important. Even when you think they are doing the wrong thing, you have to accommodate them and make sure you put them on track.
“Over the years we met so many people not only in Kano but across the country and even beyond. But if you take Kano for example, when we started, we started with our very senior people in the game. In the days of Aminu Kano, we were very young in the primary and secondary schools and even during the PRP days, I was President of the Students Union in Kaduna Polytechnic in 1978 and we learnt so much from them. And then we had the second group of RImi’s era and so on so forth.
“They were our seniors and our leaders. We related well with them and managed them. Today Aminu kano and Abubakar Rimi are no more. When we started in 1991 when I retired from the Civil Service to join politics, I was a very young man. I told myself at the time that the game of politics is a game of number not a game of quality and I had to tolerate people because I cannot just come overnight to say I have to change people and their ways of thinking.
“But with time many people will understand and join you and that was why we are where we are today. By the grace of God we would continue to attract more people to salvage our country.”
Asked whether the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration would live up to the expectations of Nigerians, he said, “Of course there is hope. All that we want is to bring in the change that we promised during our campaign. We have tried so many ways that did not work in the past. People were worried and today everybody is interested in doing the things that would improve their welfare. A key thing that government must do is protection of lives and properties. Then followed by welfare for the people.
“Nigerians want to send their children to schools; they want to get jobs; you notice our people are very hardworking. All you need do is go to villages and see how people are using primitive tools on their farms twenty-four hours of the day working hard to eke out a living. All what they need is guidance and support. And once any government can do that for them, I can assure you they will glue themselves to that government as we have seen in our state.
“We have the time to put things together to build confidence in the citizenry and deliver democracy dividends. I have never seen a country in this world that has the opportunity we have today. We succeeded in sending almost all our children to school in Kano in the last four years. We succeeded in changing the attitude of our people to governance. So I keep telling people that our people are good. All what they need is a very serious leadership that would improve their welfare and security.”
Reminiscing on his tenure in office, Kwankwaso, who came second in the last All Progressive Congress (APC) presidential primaries in Lagos said, “If you look at our first term, we did so much in terms of infrastructure and human development, among others. And even when after I left office for eight years, the good people of Kano decided to vote for me again in the same party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) through which I lost in 2003. Of course in 2003, we had a lot of challenges especially sentiments.
“I remembered in the election of that year, it was the only time the presidential and governorship elections were fixed for the same day and it was the era of Sharia in the Northern part of the country when people whip up a lot of sentiments. Our presidential candidate at the time was a Christian from the South and that of the opposition who incidentally is our president today was somebody from our backyard in Katsina. So you can understand why I lost the election in 2003.
“That was used effectively against us but we stood by our candidate and party. That is all history now; we reorganize ourselves again and re-contested on the same platform of the PDP in 2011 and despite all the challenges at the national level against us from the leadership our party, and of course the sitting government at that particular time, we won the election due to the support we got from young men and women and people with good intentions.
“From 2003 to 2011, I was opportuned to be the Minister of Defense. I was also opportuned to be member of NNDC representing the North-West and I was able to do so many other things within the period. But above all, I was able to reflect on what we did wrong and right when we were in government and try to avoid areas of weaknesses of our first term. I’m very delighted that so much has been achieved.
“So far in four years we were able to do over 6,000 projects and programmes and if you divide that number by four years you will know the arithmetic on what was done on the average on daily basis. We thank God for the opportunity to go back to Kano and above all at the end of it, people appreciated to the extent that we now have 484 councilors, which is 100 percent. We have 100 percent in the state assembly; we have 44 local government chairmen; all 24 House of Representatives seats; we have governor and deputy and of course, a president elected on the platform of our party.
“During the 2015 elections what came from Kano was so significant in terms of support for President Buhari being in power today. So we did a lot for the people of Kano State and they appreciated by voting us again because I was one of the three senators that were not only elected but I got the highest number of votes, 760,000. So I will continue to be grateful to the people of Kano and we will continue to support them and the entire people of our great country so that we can have lasting peace. We have touched lives in all sectors in Kano state but we are particularly proud of what we did in the area of education.
“I remember I contested 14 elections; I lost two-the 2003 governorship election and presidential primary that I contested with President Buhari in Lagos. Yes I didn’t get the ticket but I believe if you look at the figures, it was a big a victory for myself. Nobody expected that I will come second under our circumstances but from the result, you can see that our support cut across not only Kano but also the country.”