Tuesday 17 June 2014

Jonathan Vs Kwankwaso: A Dance In Disrespect

Like most dances that occur in Nigeria, many people are just watching the dance between President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano state. Like two testosterone-strung alpha monkeys trying to outdo themselves, the president and Mr. Kwankwaso seem to be trying to see who has the highest ability to cause
the most damage and still remain standing. 

It is said that they were never warm to each other in the way friends are, but what warmth was there was swiftly converted to the coldness of a witch’s tit when Kwankwaso left the auspices of the PDP. That seemed like the thin line that was finally crossed. From that point on, the president and governor have been trading shade shots at each other. 

The president has been more civil in the epic dance between them, but it seems Kwankwaso is set to continually draw blood. A massive smear campaign in Kano is being done against the PDP on various radio stations in Kano, and it is most especially geared at the president. It then feels as if Kwankwaso has a personal grudge to settle. What could the president have done to warrant this deep disrespect of his person by the governor of Kano state? It must be the president that is in the wrong because he always seems to be trying to extend a hand of friendship (albeit a desperate one at that) to the governor and the governor seems to derive ecstatic pleasure in rebuffing the white flags raised. 

When the president visited Kano for the presidential rally of the PDP, all Nigerians knew he had done wrong. This was a few hours after the Nyanya bombing and no one expected the president to be in any celebratory mood. The backlash was terrible. Truth is, many Nigerians were disappointed with the decision of the president to act a fool in the very glare of the media. While most Nigerians lambasted the president, Governor Kwankwaso went further to add insult to the wave of injuries the president was contending with. Taking up brooms to sweep up the venue of the stadium was the way Kwankwaso felt he could show his displeasure at the president. Now, not only was it a blatantly childish act which showed just how unreasonable the governor of Kano is, it was also a lesson in poor manners and knowledge of right social and hierarchical behavior when one is an office holder. Though Kwankwaso denied that he had done any wrong, the photos of his cabinet sweeping after the president are as incriminating as the photos of the President dancing in jubilee after the insurgent attack in Nyanya. 

The most recent parley between the President and Kwankwaso came on the brink of the emergence of the new emir of Kano, in the person of the embattled former CBN boss, Sanusi M. Sanusi. Most Nigerians saw the tweet that allegedly came from Sanusi declaring Sunusi Ado as the new emir. When that happened, it was of course expected that the President would be happy. When later that day, Sanusi was declared the new emir, it came as no surprise that that news was met with less than happy acceptable in some quarters. That set the stage for more show of drama from the Kwankwaso camp. They alleged that the President, and by relationship, the PDP were fomenting trouble in Kano by creating unrest. This in essence meant that the governor believes his people do not have the basic human attribute of difference in opinion. It would have been completely crazy if the entire town of Kano accepted the new emir. Anyone who knows the city of Kano knows that it is a very highly opinionated town whose citizens can protest or take up violence for ANY cause they firmly believe in. To then accuse the President of trying to incite trouble just because of a certain 'beef' between them is nothing short of surprising and totally inappropriate for one in leadership position.

When a governor shows such disrespect to a president, it goes a long way to show the decay with which the nation is characterized. Nowhere in the world will an appointed governor deliberately throw shade at the president to the tune which Kwankwaso has done and is doing. A governor has no right to refuse to receive the President when he makes a visit to his state. Just the knowledge of hierarchy tells you that the president should be received by the highest ranking officer of the state: the governor. Even Admiral Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State, who also has as much axe (if not more) to grind with the president as Kwankwaso, respected the laid down leadership and socially accepted hierarchy by receiving the president when he visited adamawa state to commission the newly established Air Force Comprehensive Secondary School in Yola. He might have been frowning all through, but he will never be faulted for not following protocol. The disrespect in Kwankwaso's behavior to the president is a disrespect of everything ethical in leadership.

Now, Kwankwaso is an APC stalwart, in the very same party as Major General Muhammadu Buhari. Over the recent months, Buhari has been the epitome of a good statesman, attacking (correctly) the poor policies of the administration and not the individual themselves. He channels his comments to mentioning what is wrong and not who is wrong. At a point, he realized that continually attacking the government about the issue of insecurity was not in any way helping the issue. He, like all true leaders, decided that if one is not providing solutions to a problem, it is best that one should shut up. It wasn't a wonder then that he said Nigerians had to join hands with the present administration to ensure that the issue of insurgency was cut at its head. He still went further to attend the All Political Parties and Political Stakeholders Summit held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, held on the 13th day of June, 2014; an event called for by the President. Based on political troubles, no one in the entire country has as much issues to sort with the PDP as Buhari. If Buhari can bury his hatchet for the greater good of Nigeria, why can't Kwankwaso do so too (even if it is just for the cameras)? 

It is quite surprising that the APC has not called Kwankwaso to order. This, and other rantings from the APC camp, is beginning to make Nigerians a bit wary of the newest political party. Is this the ideology on which the party is built on? Is the party a tear-down-the-person-instead-of-the-policies kind of party? Why are they not curbing this continual disrespect of protocol shown by their card-carrying member? Are Nigerians to expect similar show of disrespect when the APC takes over the helm of affairs? And if the PDP is receiving a lot of backlash for breaking protocol, what difference is there between the PDP and the APC? Why should Nigerians trust that the APC, who allows such blatant disrespect, will show some form of respect to the Nigerian populace? These are burning questions that need to be answered by the APC to calm the nerves of the everyday Nigerian.

The latest Kwankwaso arrow fired is the statement he made where he blatantly accused the President of attempted murder. That is a statement that shouldn't be made lightly, but that didn’t stop him from making it. When he made this statement in an exclusive interview with PREMIUM TIMES, he must have known that many Nigerians would take him seriously and literally. This in turn would mean that if anything happened to him in the near future, whether natural or otherwise, the President will be blamed. He extended this blame to cover anything that happens to his family or even the people of Kano state.......a broad responsibility for one shoulder to carry. And knowing the people of Kano, if anything does happen to Kwankwaso, his family or as he said, the people of Kano, there will be bloodletting in retribution against the President. Is that what Kwankwaso is gunning for? One cannot help but ask this question.

When politicians are sworn to office, they should make it their point to study the rules of engagement and hierarchical protocol before they even take up residence in their official houses. A governor shouldn't show such disrespect to a president, especially not in the glaring eyes of the public. It sets a reciprocal tone of disrespect from the populace. No one is asking that the governor be friends with the president but he must show decorum when addressing the president. Many people are tired of the ineffectiveness of the president but you do not see them taking up brooms and sweeping after him. A governor is suppose to diffuse the tension when his people are pissed, not build them up by uttering statements that can only be termed as inciting. Politicians are the ones who should have control of all they say because they are in the glaring eyes of the public. When politicians let their utterances run with the wind, they leave their followers in a state of confusion and eager anticipation of violence.

Nigeria needs to be a country whose leaders tackle problems not people. And since newspapers are reporting that Kwankwaso is aspiring for president, he should remember that karma has a way of throwing a person’s face in the dung, just when the public is watching.