Opinion: New Kano Emirates and 2023 Gubernatorial Election
By Abba Ibrahim Gwale
To the new emirates and their beneficiaries, the creation of the new emirs in Kano by the state governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, is a good development especially for people who used to find it difficult to reach the main Kano Emirate.
There are both positive and negative sides to the creation of the new emirates in Bichi, Gaya, Rano and Karaye local government areas of the state.
But the way and manner these emirates were created has raised suspicions that our politicians may use the opportunity to create more divisions in the state within the political arena.
There were worries when the creation of new emirates in Kano was first announced, but after some months many people that are now direct beneficiaries of it are celebrating and predicting the outcome of the gubernatorial election in the state considering the number of votes from each local government or senatorial zone.
Kano currently has at least 5,457,747 estimated votes according to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
But before 2023 general election the commission will conduct further registration for new voters and existing ones who might have lost their voter cards. That means there would be more voters than we have now.
Kano Municipal, Tarauni, Dala, Nassarawa, Fagge, Gwale, Ungoggo, Kumbotso, Dawakin Kudu and Minjibir local governments are all situated within the domain of the main Kano Emirate under Emir Muhammad Sanusi II. These local governments have more votes than Bichi, Gaya, Rano and Karaye emirates combined.
It could be safely speculated that the local governments in the domain of the main Kano Emirate could be deciding factors in 2023 elections due to their numerical strength, political awareness and sophisticated voter education.
It’s too early to start thinking about who will be the next governor of Kano from the main political parties but there seems to be an urgent need to make calculations on how to fill the void created by the inconsequential new emirates.
The notion of “We vs Them” is already in the people’s mind and any party that presented a candidate from the urban area will get a lot of votes from the people in the city while those from the suburbs will also rain their votes to the person that comes from their own domains.
The “Sarkin Birni and Sarakunan Kauye” names-calling will play a notorious role in many people’s mind while the ongoing political crisis that is brewing between Mr Ganduje and Emir Sanusi may intensify.
There are speculations that people who live in the urban areas, will not vote any candidates that come from rural areas as governor while those that live in the city may also support only candidates from the metropolis.
I am optimistic, but the potential pitfalls of these new emirates are alarming. Elders and opinion leaders have a role to play in shaping people’s minds before and during elections’ processes to inform people on the importance of unity and voting for the right candidate. .
But, still, we see the creation of the new emirates as a huge liability as the state government is spending millions of naira for building palaces, buying new cars for the emirs.
Also many people that are working closely with the emirs are now on government pay roles while the government will also provide money for events especially during sallah celebrations.
Many people have criticized the government for deploying huge resources on the new emirates rather than using it for the well being of the masses.
This is especially true considering that there are several communities across the state that lack school buildings, furniture and learning materials as well as decent hospitals, medical equipment or drugs.
Kano state is still lagging behind in agricultural sector despite the fact that the government claims to invest more on agriculture, health and education.
The government is still insisting that the emirates are here to stay despite the court saga, but the fear is the next governor of the state might not be more concerned about the emirates and may continue to recognize the number one emirates even if he is from the same party with the incumbent unless he has the same grudges with the incumbent which is unlikely.
As a result of these new emirates many local governments could not benefit from infrastructural development, loans for farming, proper consideration and benefit for employment and many policies from government that can directly affect the people.
Curiously, people are asking why Governor Ganduje appears to give more priority to Bichi emirate led by Aminu Ado Bayero despite the fact that among the newly created emirates only Bichi did not have a history of being an emirate.
Is it because Aminu Ado Bayero, the son of the late Alhaji Ado Bayero is the emir of Bichi? Or is it true that the governor wants to dethrone Muhammad Sanusi II so that Aminu can replace him as the Emir of Kano?
Regardless of what will happen in 2023 general elections, the new emirates and in fact the whole emirates saga will play a major role in the state’s politics during campaigns and on elections day, especially the gubernatorial poll.
*Gwale can be reached at Abbalggwale18@gmail.com