Fresh facts emerged, on Tuesday, as to why the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, met separately with former Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso and former Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, in Paris, on Monday.
ABN TV had earlier reported that Tinubu met with Kwankwaso during which he extended a hand of friendship with a view to working together after he takes over from President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29.
However, credible sources told our reporter that it was a tripartite meeting in Paris as besides the one between Tinubu and Kwankwaso, another one was held between the president-elect and Sanusi and then another one between Kwankwaso and the former emir.
READ ALSO: Kwankwaso Meets Tinubu In France, May Work Together
“The three separate meetings were meant to strengthen ties. The president-elect seriously needs the support of the two leading personalities from Kano,” one of our sources said.
“While Kwankwaso is a politician in his own right who has a large followership not only in Kano but across the North, the former emir is a technocrat who knows the economy very well as evident in how he handled the Central Bank of Nigeria,” another source said.
The first meeting
According to sources, Tinubu and Kwankwaso met for hours in Paris, the capital of France.
The former Lagos governor reportedly told Kwankwaso to reach out to his political associates on the need to work together.
The incoming president and his guest were said to have agreed to hold subsequent meetings.
But beyond that, it was gathered that the president-elect had offered a ministerial position to Kwankwaso.
“He told the NNPP leader to choose between the Ministry of Agriculture and that of Education,” one of our sources said.
It is not clear whether Kwankwaso will accept to serve as a minister in the event they sealed the partnership or he will give the slot to one of his loyalists.
“The meeting was attended by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila. Kwankwaso was accompanied to the meeting by member-elect from Kano, Hon Abdulmumin Jibrin,” the source said.
“Sen Oluremi Tinubu was also there to receive Kwankwaso’s wife, Hajia Salamatu who came with her husband. Discussions were centered around their long-term friendship since their days in the National Assembly in 1992, national unity and development, priorities for the new government, National Assembly contests, and the plan by the president-elect for a government of national unity, which Kwankwaso has in principle accepted to join.”
The source said Tinubu also hinted at reconciling Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano and Kwankwaso. Ganduje had succeeded Kwankwaso in 2015, but the duo fell apart shortly after.
ABN TV reports that Tinubu had defeated Kwankwaso and other 16 presidential candidates in the February 25, 2023 elections.
Kwankwaso, who ran on the platform of the NNPP, placed fourth in the election, winning only Kano State, a stronghold of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) came second while Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) came third.
Soon after his declaration, Tinubu extended an olive branch to those he defeated but Atiku and Obi rebuffed the call and headed to court calling for his sack. Both of them had claimed victory in the polls and alleged that they were rigged out by the ruling party in connivance with some vested interests.
On the other hand, Kwankwaso did not go to court.
Besides winning Kano in the presidential election and producing the governor, Kwankwaso’s NNPP had won two senate seats in the state, cleared 17 out of the 24 House of Representatives seats and 26 out of 40 seats of the State House of Assembly.
It was gathered that despite losing Kano in the presidential election to Kwankwaso, Tinubu believed the votes he got from the state and the North West played a key role in his emergence as president and working hard to maintain a positive disposition in the region.
The North West gave Tinubu 2, 652, 235 votes, which is over 30 per cent of the total votes he garnered across the country.
Our correspondent reports that the relationship between Tinubu and Kwankwaso is not new. They collectively formed the APC with other like-minds ahead of 2015.
The meeting between Tinubu, ex-Emir Sanusi
There were no details of what Kwankwaso and Emir Sanusi discussed but a source said they met for two hours and the discussion may not be unconnected with the recent political developments in Kano.
However, ABN TV reports that there were rumours that the incoming NNPP government in Kano will revisit the dethronement of Muhammadu Sanusi.
Recall that Ganduje dethroned Sanusi, who served as the 14th Emir of Kano, in 2020, over allegations of insubordination.
In his place, Aminu Bayero, son of the late Ado Bayero and Emir of Bichi, was installed as Sanusi’s replacement.
However, in a viral video posted on social media in April this year, Kwankwaso said he was confident that Abba Yusuf, governor-elect of the state, would have the wisdom to resolve “challenges” in the state.
“We campaigned and we are well-known in Nigeria, especially in Kano. What we showed the people is by God’s grace all the good projects we started when we were in government. This governor (Abba Kabir Yusuf) and his team will pick up from where we left off,” Kwankwaso said.
He said the opportunity to revisit Sanusi’s dethronement has presented itself and that he would advise the incoming government on what to do as an elder.
“We, as elders in the movement, will continue to advise them to do things that are proper,” Kwankwaso said.
“We tried not to talk about whether the emir would be removed or not, but now you see, the opportunity is there.
“Those who God made leaders will now decide on the next step and decision to take. They will review it and determine the right thing to be done.
“Apart from the issue of changing the emir, the emirates have now been divided into five. All of that will be reviewed too. When a leader comes into power whether in a country, state or local government area, he inherits things that are good and things that are difficult and challenging.
“We are confident God will give the governor (Abba Kabir Yusuf) the wisdom to come and resolve the challenges planted in Kano State so that everyone will live peacefully in Kano State,” he said.
But Ganduje had fired back the salvo saying the new emirates had come to stay.
Speaking during the Workers’ Day celebrations held at Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano, Ganduje said God will not bring anybody that will destroy them.
“Any of you that visits the headquarters of these new emirates will believe me that we have brought development to these places. These emirates were created for unity, progress, history, and also for the recovery of the reputation of the traditional institutions. We created them to honour the people of these regions.
“I want to assure you that these emirates are permanent, they have come to stay. And anybody that will destroy them, God Almighty will not bring him to Kano State. We assure you that these emirates were created because of you, because of your progress.
“Even if we are not in government, we are praying and we will keep praying for God to protect these emirates from all evils. I thank you all,” Ganduje said.
Details of Kwankwaso, Sanusi meeting sketchy
Our correspondent reports that even though the meeting between Kwankwaso and the former Emir of Kano had been confirmed, the details of what transpired have not been made public. But sources said Kwankwaso and Sanusi had been there for each other for a very long time. Kwankwaso was instrumental in the selection of Sanusi as Emir of Kano. This was soon after he was removed as CBN governor by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Tinubu is expected back in Nigeria ahead of his inauguration on May 29.