Ahead of Saturday’s National Assembly election in Kano South Senatorial District, this piece takes a look at the chances of the two leading candidates, NNPP’s Suleiman Kawu and incumbent Senator Kabiru Gaya of the All Progressives Congress (APC)
With barely seven days to the 2023 National Assembly elections, the battle for the Kano South Senatorial seat is definitely one of the keen races to watch for a couple of reasons, including two major candidates seeking the seat who are by no means, strangers to the National Assembly.
Leading the offensive against Kabiru Gaya, the incumbent lawmaker is Suleiman Kawu, a former Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives and immediate past aide to the President on the National Assembly (House of Representatives Liaison).
A well-grounded grassroots politician, Kawu is attempting to leverage his contributions to the Senatorial District when he served as a Member of the House of Representatives. Some analysts say he is one of the most consequential politicians to have bestrode the Kano South political landscape as projects he facilitated abound in the zone. Another plus for the lawmaker is the perception that he has the people at heart given the presence of his privately-owned Al-Istiqamah University in his hometown of Sumaila, which boosts business activities in the town and provides employment opportunities for the youths.
His party, the New Nigeria Peoples’ Party (NNPP), is also currently enjoying positive ratings in the state due to the influence of a former governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, who to a large extent, dictates the political direction in the state.
On his part, the 70-year-old former governor and incumbent lawmaker is an Architect by profession.
A veteran lawmaker who has been at the Senate since 2007 currently chairs the Senate Committee on Electoral Matters, he anchors his campaign on the years of experience he has garnered from being in the National Assembly, particularly the Senate, where he says another term for him portends positive omen for the Senatorial District.
For Senator Gaya, he believes he has been able to attract life-changing projects for the people spread across the nook and cranny of the zone. This, he says is what he will use in marketing himself for another term in office and not necessarily pulling out large crowds during rallies which the lawmaker alleges are mostly driven by technology.
Pundits however opine that in spite of Kabiru Gaya’s years of experience in the National Assembly, his deliverables are not commensurate with the years he has spent in parliament, leading to talks about the constituents being tired of his representation and yearning for a change.
Senator Gaya’s critics also opine that the submission about him being a seasoned legislator does not hold water as Kawu, his opponent, is no stranger to the institution of parliament, having served as a principal officer in the House of Representatives for two terms.
However, the consensus appears that his membership of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) will confer some leverage and advantage on him as resources and paraphernalia of government will be effectively deployed in his favour.
Notwithstanding these projections, as the date for the elections draws closer, the people will ultimately decide between the seasoned politician-cum legislator with executive experience and the University Proprietor, legislator cum grassroots politician.