Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso, FNSE, FNIQS is a Nigerian politician who was the Governor of Kano State from 1999 to 2003 and 2011 to 2015. He was elected to the Senate in 2015, under the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, representing the Kano central senatorial district. After he lost his re-election in 2003, he was appointed the first Minister of Defence of the Fourth Republic with no prior military background from 2003 to 2007.
Kwankwaso enjoys widespread support in Kano, he has been viewed as a charismatic populist. In 2011, he was re-elected governor of the state and went on to join the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014. In 2015, Kwankwaso unsuccessfully contested the presidential primaries nomination under the opposition All Progressive Congress, but lost to Muhammad Buhari. In 2018, he returned to People's Democratic Party (PDP) and contested the presidential primaries losing out to Atiku Abubakar.
Kwankwaso was born on 21 October 1956 in Kwankwaso a village located in Madobi. He attended Kwankwaso Primary School, Gwarzo Boarding Senior Primary School, Wudil Craft School and Kano Technical College before proceeding to Kaduna Polytechnic where he did both his National Diploma, and Higher National Diploma.
He also attended postgraduate studies in the United Kingdom from 1982 to 1983 at the Middlesex Polytechnic; and Loughborough University of Technology where he received a master's degree in water engineering in 1985. Kwankwaso was an active student leader during his school days and was an elected official of the Kano State Students Association.
Kwankwaso started work in 1975, at the Kano State Water Resources and Engineering Construction Agency (WRECA). He served in the civil service for 17 years in various capacities and rose through the ranks as the principal engineer.
Early political careerEdit
In 1992, Kwankwaso was elected as a member of House of Representatives representing Madobi Federal Constituency. His subsequent election as deputy speaker in the House brought him to the limelight of national politics. He belonged to the People's Front faction of the SDP led by General Shehu Yar'adua made up of other politicians such as his former boss former boss Senator Magaji Abdullahi, Babagana Kingibe, Atiku Abubakar, Bola Tinubu, Tony Anenih, Chuba Okadigbo, Lamidi Adedibu amongst others.
During the 1995 Constitutional Conference, Kwankwaso was elected as one of the delegates from Kano, as a member of the People's Democratic Movement led by Yar'adua. Kwankwaso joined the PDP in 1998 under the platform of People's Democratic Movement in Kano led by Mallam Musa Gwadabe, Senator Hamisu Musa and Alhaji Abdullahi Aliyu Sumaila.
Governor of Kano StateEdit
In 1999, he contested the PDP primaries alongside: Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Mukthari Zimit, Alhaji Kabiru Rabiu. The Santsi/P.S.P. were behind the candidature of Abdullahi Umar Ganduje but they lost to Kwankwaso in the primaries. The committee that conducted the primaries included Tony Momoh as Chairman other members were Abdullahi Aliyu Sumaila and Senator Bala Tafidan Yauri. Kwankwaso was elected as the Governor of Kano State on 29 May 1999. His first tenure as the governor of Kano State was very eventful because of several other groups who were opposed to his high-handed governorship and his attempt at supporting Yoruba President Olusegun Obasanjo. In 2003, he lost re-election to his rival Malam Ibrahim Shekarau.
In 2011, Kwankwaso was re-elected for a second term in office as Govenor of Kano State from 29 May 2011 to 29 May 2015. During this time, he set out to rejig his political structure of Kwankwassiya: building roads, hospitals and schools and sending residents to study abroad. In August 2013, Kwankwaso was amongst seven serving governors who formed the G-7 faction within the PDP. In November 2013, Kwankwaso alongside five members of the G-7 defected to the new opposition party the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In June 2014, Kwankwaso was at loggerheads with long time Emir of Kano Ado Bayero over his appointment of Waziri (Vizier) of the Kano Emirate Council. On 6 June 2014, Ado Bayero died and a succession crisis loomed amongst the royals. On 8 June 2014, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi suspended Central Bank governor and Dan Majen Kano (Son of Emir-Maje) emerged as the new Emir of Kano. His accession led to widespread protests from supporters of Sanusi Ado Bayero son of the late Emir and Chiroman Kano (Crown Prince), and allegations that Kwankwaso supported Sanusi because of the 2015 presidential election.
Minister of DefenceEdit
From 2003 to 2007, Kwankwaso appointed Minister of Defence in President Olusegun Obasanjo second cabinet. He replaced General Theophilus Danjuma, and with no prior military background used the influential ministry at the federal level to undermine his opponents especially the Kano State Government.
In 2007, Kwankwaso resigned his ministerial position to contest the Kano State governorship election but he lost because he had been indicted by a Government White Paper. Alhaji Ahmed Garba Bichi later replaced him as the governorship candidate of the partyt. After losing the bid from his party to contest the 2007 elections, he was appointed as the Special Envoy to Somalia and Darfur by President Olusegun Obasanjo.
In 2011, Kwankwaso was re-elected for a second term in office as Govenor of Kano State from 29 May 2011 to 29 May 2015. In 2014, Kwankwaso used his large political following in Kano to contest the APC presidential primaries. The presidential primaries results held in Lagos was: Muhammadu Buhari with 3,430 votes, Kwankwaso with 974 votes, Atiku Abubakar with 954 votes, Rochas Okorocha with 400 votes and Sam Nda-Isiah with 10 votes. Coming in second, Kwankwaso endorsed the winner Muhammadu Buhari and later secured nomination to the Senate of Nigeria representing Kano Central Senatorial District from May 2015 to May 2019.
In July 2018, Kwankwaso alongside fourteen serving senators of the APC defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In October 2018, Kwankwaso contested the PDP presidential primaries. At the presidential primaries held in Rivers, amongst twelve presidential aspirants Kwankwaso came in fourth behind: Atiku Abubakar with 1,532 votes, Aminu Tambuwal with 693 votes, Bukola Saraki with 317 votes and Kwankwaso with 158 votes. Kwankwaso later endorsed the winner Atiku Abubakar and refused to seek re-election into the Senate, with Ibrahim Shekarau replacing him. Kwankwaso campaigned heavily for his son-in-law Abba Kabir Yusuf to emerge as the Governor in Kano State. The election was later declared inconclusive in favour of incumbent Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.
On the 9th of March 2004, the chief judge of Kano state swore in the six-member commission of inquiry which was headed by Hon. Justice Ahmed Badamasi as chairman to inquire the activities of Kwankwaso. The commission commenced sitting on March 19, 2004 and made its report available and for the government to issue the white paper by November 2004, when he was indicted.
On the 2nd of July 2015, justice Mohammed Yahaya of the Kano High Court had restrained the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) from arresting or restraining Kwankwaso in its investigation for alleged misappropriation of N10 billion pension funds while serving as Kano State governor. But two weeks later on the 16th of July 2015, the same judge in the Kano High Court voided his earlier order and granted the EFCC a judgement to enable the commission to investigate, arrest and prosecute Kwankwaso. Justice Muhammed Yahaya also fined N50,000 against Kwankwaso for "time-wasting."
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