“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, notto praise him. The evil that men do lives after them”. -Marc Anthony in Julius Caesar
The above lines by Marc Anthony are one of the most famous lines in all of William Shakespeare’s works because the hunters eventually became the hunted like Jafar Jafar has become since he doctored a video of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje to achieve political objectives for political enemies of Ganduje. Before the Marc Anthony speech, Brutus had managed to demonize Julius Caesar and the crowd had accepted as gospel truth the categorization of Caesar as highly ambitious. Marc Anthony was, however, to turn the table against the conspirators once Given that opportunity, that the crowd literally begged him to read Caesar’s will. Once Anthony successfully rebutted the notion that Caesar was ambitious, the poor took it upon themselves to avenge the death of Caesar a man that immensely loved them.
Like Marc Anthony, top officials of the Kano State Government have Been virtually on all available means of communication to save the reputation of their principal Abdullahi Ganduje, who is obviously a victim of a “party coup” instigated by forces bent on giving him the “Rotimi Amaechi” treatment. In 2007 Rotimi Amaechi had won the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primary, but “Saint” Olusegun Obasanjo was to forcefully snatch the ticket from Rotimi Amaechi and “dashed” it to Celestine Omehia over unproven allegations of corruption. The same scenario that the forces opposed to Ganduje had hoped to re-enact by alleging that Ganduje had collected $5million (United States dollars) bribes from contractors. Though no evidence has been provided, there have been calls on Muhammadu Buhari to stop him from running in the 2019 general elections, which confirms that it is all politics.
Like Brutus, the mistake the Kano coup plotters made is in going after Ganduje in bits and pieces while tantalizing Nigerians with tales of videos of Ganduje collecting a whopping $5 million dollars, which when it became public had nosting, because the videos were doctored to achieve political objectives. Like Brutus this was a fatal error of judgement on the part of Jafar Jafar, that has clearly given Ganduje adequate time to turn the table on their conspiracy. The failure of those behind the bribe allegation to make public their evidence in a timely manner despite the wide publicity is fundamentally fatal to their case. The indications were that they held on it to either negotiate or to force Ganduje out, and the timing lends credence to these. By the timetable of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), this week being the last week for the submission of names of candidates for the elections was critical to the stop-Ganduje campaign, hence the release of the video was so timed for maximum effect.
The timing of the “expose” makes it manifestly clear that it is All politically motivated and the objective was to damage Ganduje and the All Progressives Congress which has made the war against corruption its cardinal programme beyond recognition. In essence, what the conspirators led by an Executive Secretary of an educational agency couldn’t achieve within the political space, they so desperately want to achieve by hook or by crook. Ganduje having seen off Rabiu Kwankwaso from the All Progressives Congress, clinching the ticket for a second term wasn’t an issue. Since they couldn’t fight him within the party, they resorted to fighting him in the open and the dirty. With some good luck their calculation was that Buhari would have moved against Ganduje. But that’s where they got it wrong because Buhari is not Obasanjo.
Like Marc Anthony would have said corruption is corruption and can’t be justified on any ground and if Ganduje is guilty, he should face The consequences. Unfortunately, the facts about the alleged act are not adding up. His political enemies allege that they have at least 15 videos of him collecting kickbacks amounting to about 5 million United States dollars, roughly about 1.9 billion naira. Over what period was the governor collecting the money? Who counted the money – is it the giver? Did Jafar take any step to cross-check the claims of the maskers? Was the transaction not a normal business transaction? Definitely, the source of the video isn’t the contractor! Because no contractor can turn against a governor without repercussions. How come the governor was consistently videoed without him knowing? Tons of questions and questions that don’t add up, and painfully, we will never get the answers.
If truly Governor Ganduje was the one captured on tape collecting 10%, he must be out of tune with reality or is it that he has remained the modest man that he is, with little needs for money because public officers, especially civil servants, are not known to accept or ask for 10% commission on contracts. This shows how bizarre and unbelievable the allegations against Ganduje are. And rather than the Jafar Jafar home videos destroying the reputation of the governor, it has portrayed him in a different light. So, rather than seeing a corrupt Ganduje, what Nigerians saw in the home videos, was the desperate corruption of a video by desperate politicians. The boundaries of corruption are very elastic and it doesn’t preclude tampering with video or lecturers sleeping with their students for grades.
The plot of some APC elements who are beneficiaries of grade “A” appointments, in cohort with PDP chieftains has nothing to do with the common man. The common man has never mattered to them and would never matter to them. But thankfully they know that Ganduje is their friend who in spite of the economic downturn has never owed them their monthly salary, or leave grants. And this explains why the orchestrated agenda of bringing the governor down has failed woefully.
Thankfully, the governor has rightly faced the task of governing Kano State, which the conspirators had attempted to derail. The governor has shown focus, character and courage in spite of an orchestrated campaign of calumny. And the people of Kano deserve praise for believing in the incorruptibility of their governor and for seeing that the plot was targeted at the governor and Muhammadu Buhari. Moving forward, it is clear that the forces of darkness will not rest on their oars to precipitate crisis in Kano State knowing that the State has promised 2.9 million votes for the President in the 2019 General Elections.
Usman Rano wrote in from Abuja