By Hassan Umar Dumbulun
Death, the Grim Reaper, is a bitter visitor. When it comes it leaves in its wake bitterness, melancholy and deep scar in the bereaved family. These are the feelings expected to be shared by all loved ones and friends who visit the bereaved family to identify with them. In fact, condolence visit, because of the sombre nature of it, is not an occasion for one to wear one’s best attire or seen to be in anywhere flamboyant. But these basic cultural and humane etiquettes were thrown to the winds on Monday by Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, the senator representing Kano Central Senatorial District at the Senate.
Kwankwaso turned an otherwise sober and simple visit of empathy to a big roadshow, a fiesta of sorts and an opportunity to massage his ever garrulous ego.
The occasion was the sad death of the mother of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. Death of a mother is not just any other death because one’s mother is indeed one’s closest and most affectionate relation. It must therefore be a sober moment for Ganduje and his siblings.
However, Senator Kwankwaso, felt it presented him an opportunity to fly his political flag and once again drum his dream-like presidential ambition, irrespective of the supposed essence of such visits.
Well, for Kwankwaso the visit was a forced one in the first place which was necessitated by a rousing public outcry over his intent to snob the governor as he did many important Kano persons. This says a lot about the person.
Some bit of history will illuminate here. Kwankwaso and Ganduje have come a very long way. First, the two aspired for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governorship ticket in 1998. Ganduje had tons of advantages over Kwankwaso, as at the time.
Ganduje was this aspirant who had retired as a permanent secretary, served as commissioner in Kano State and equivalent of that in Abuja, has a PhD and, by his antecedents, was richer than his opponent, Kwankwaso. However, by some political twists, Kwankwaso emerged winner at the primaries. This is where the close relationship that by now spanned close to two decades began.
Ganduje was prevailed upon to deputise for Kwankwaso, at the end of the contest. He reluctantly accepted and has never turned back to the circumstances of a contest that he was schemed out. He served Kwankwaso as a very loyal deputy that the governor often said he was comfortably sleeping with both eyes closed.
After their first tenure, Ganduje still followed Kwankwaso to wherever he was, maintaining a close relationship built on submissive loyalty. It’s the testimony of Ganduje’s good conduct and loyalty that Kwankwaso again drafted him to run on the same ticket in 2011. But of course tolerating Kwankwaso for this long time is a virtue only a few could imbibe.
During their second coming, Kwankwaso was having amiable and trustful working relationship with Ganduje that he was sending him to important meetings in Abuja, including council of state meetings or leaving the state to him while he goes on his pilgrimage to Morocco or India.
Though it was obvious that Kwankwaso had not wanted Ganduje to succeed him, the sympathy that forced him to succumb was generated from the fact that Ganduje had served him for so long and so well.
Now, this was the man that lost his mother. However, Kwankwaso did not find it expedient to abandon whatever he was doing and rush to Kano!
The death occurred on Friday. The burial rite was delayed by some hours to enable people come from far and near. Well-wishers from all over the country travelled to Kano. A federal government delegation comprising of four ministers flew from Abuja to be at the funeral prayer but Kwankwaso did not deem it necessary to identify with his friend and political associate of twenty years, at such hour of bereavement.
After when was eventually compelled to at least come and condole with the governor, Kwankwaso now decided to create a scene out of the whole thing. Ideally for someone coming on a condolence visit, more so a person that claims he wouldn’t want to be seen in Kano (this is a subject for another day!), one would expect Kwankwaso to saunter into Kano airport unannounced and proceed to Ganduje village, as many a VIP have done since the Friday of the funeral, to condole with the Ganduje quietly and head back.
But first, he gave elaborate notice, like someone coming to celebrate something or some candidate on a campaign train. He and his associates therefore mobilized massively to receive him at the airport. There are videos of vandalism at the airport currently circulating. But let’s leave that to Kwankwaso and FAAN to sort it out.
From the Kano airport, Kwankwaso moved in huge motorcade in buses adorning his posters, surrounded by young drug addicts in branded t-shirts brandishing cudgels and cutlasses. It was an embarrassing scene!
Had Kwankwaso, while enjoying the razzmatazz that he instigated, paused to search his consciousness to put himself in the shoes of Ganduje, what would he have felt in the event of roles reversal? Frankly, what Kwankwaso has done was to organise a dance of feast, of personal aggrandizement and ego-massaging over the grave of an innocent matriarch of the extended Ganduje family.
This whole irresponsible and needless show is condemnable not because it happened to Governor Ganduje, but because it was a crass display of indifference to humanity’s age-old feelings of empathy towards the bereaved.
Where we want to see Kwankwaso muscle his flesh is at the National Assembly where we the voters of Kano Central sent him to represent us, not at supposed condolence visits in Kano. It is ironic that Kwankwaso is loud and bold where it doesn’t matter but at the critical junctions that matter, mum is the word from him. Kwankwaso has come full circle. He should reinvent himself.
Dumbulun writes from Hotoro, Kano.
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