Kano 2023: Who wins the ‘ego war’ between Kwankwaso and Ganduje?

With hostilities renewed between Governor Ganduje and his predecessor, Kwankwaso; this piece examines the chances of the NNPP and APC gubernatorial candidates
adminDecember 12, 20224 min

As one of the top two states in the country with the highest number of registered voters, Kano State will definitely be one of the key states to watch out for in the March 11 2023 Governorship election. With hostilities renewed between Governor Ganduje and his predecessor, Kwankwaso; this piece examines the chances of the NNPP and APC gubernatorial candidates


Northern Nigeria’s Centre of Commerce, Kano, is on the march again ahead of the all-important 2023 gubernatorial elections.

To shore up support for their respective candidates in the March 11, 2023, Governorship election, the political class in Kano appear to be making last-minute preparations and consultations. For keen observers of Kano politics, the contest is largely a continuation of the ‘ego war’ between former governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, who is also the Presidential Candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples’ Party (NNPP) and the outgoing governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, who is all out with his support for the presidential candidacy of Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The governorship candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples’ Party (NNPP), Abba Kabir Yusuf, is buoyed by the support he enjoys from his principal, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, a personality with a cult-like followership standing across the Kano political landscape. Yusuf has been around Kano’s political circle since the first coming of Kwankwaso as Governor in 1999, playing behind-the-scene roles in government.

He was later brought out of his cocoon when he was appointed as Commissioner of Works during Kwankwaso’s second coming, where he was entrusted with the onerous responsibility of supervising the massive infrastructural drive that greeted the administration. He was initially shortlisted as one of the favourites to succeed Kwankwaso in the run-up to the 2015 elections but was later ditched for Ganduje, then deputy to Kwankwaso.

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Ostensibly learning from the fate that befell him shortly after Ganduje’s assumption of office that led to an irrevocable breakdown in their once yummy-chummy relationship, Kwankwaso anointed Abba Yusuf to run under the platform of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in 2019. Although, Yusuf was defeated by Ganduje in the election that many still hold the belief was won by the then Kwankwaso led-PDP at the time; but for the alleged thuggery and ballot box snatching that characterised the exercise.

This time around, however, Yusuf will have to contend with Nasiru Gawuna, Ganduje’s Deputy and flagbearer of the governing APC, who conversely also enjoys the support of the outgoing governor and the APC-led federal government.

Like Yusuf, the former Agriculture Commissioner now Deputy Governor, Gawuna also owes his phenomenal rise in Kano politics to Kwankwaso’s influence as he was Local Council Chairman of Nassarawa Local Government Area under the Kwankwaso administration before he pitched tents with Ganduje after they both fell out with their former principal.


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A plus to Gawuna’s bid considering Nigeria’s highly monetised elections, is the fact that he definitely has sufficient resources and the machinery of government as incumbent Deputy Governor to prosecute his campaign. Unlike Yusuf who has invested significant resources in previous elections.

A major flaw, however is that he is accused by his critics of not being sufficiently educated to govern a complex and highly sophisticated state like Kano. They further accuse him of struggling to speak English, which is the country’s official medium of communication; wondering how he would be able to project the state positively before the International Community.

It would be difficult for anyone to describe Gawuna’s quest to return to the Kano Government House in 2023 as Chief Executive as a smooth ride. If not for anything, it is clear as sunlight that the Kwankwasiya movement will not be leaving anything to chance in a duel many describe as a make or mar election.


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