The Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, on Tuesday gave reasons he is at loggerheads with his godfather and former Governor of the state, Rabiu Kwankwaso.
Mr. Ganduje, who barred his mind to newsmen at the Presidential Villa Abuja, said the disagreement between him and Mr. Kwankwaso resulted from attempts to control his actions as governor.
He also accused his estranged godfather of being behind the trending photos and videos of children voting in last Saturday’s local government elections in the state.
While the governor insisted his politics is not complete without Mr. Kwankwaso, he also maintained that the politics of his former boss too, cannot be complete without him.
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“I cannot be controlled,” he told newsmen but noted his relationship with Mr. Kwankwaso has come a long way.
However, he added, “Somewhere, somehow, things went wrong. But one important thing is that you cannot rule and manage a state and you are being controlled from outside.
“You know that one is very difficult to happen if you look at the psychology of leaders. That is the issue,” he said.
On the trending videos and pictures of under-aged voters participating in the council polls in the state, Mr. Ganduje said the materials were “propaganda” tools by his political opponents.
His party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) swept the chairmanship and counsellorship election in the 44 local government areas of the state.
But just as the election was taking place, the social media became crammed with images of children waiting on lines to vote; a situation which led to national outrage.
Mr. Ganduje said the images were orchestrated by politicians loyal to his estranged godfather, adding the pictures were assembled to embarrass the government.
He said, “Ask the international observers who went there, they held a press conference after they went round. All those pictures of children are pictures of assembled children they took, so it’s not true, it is part of the propaganda.
“Ask them, did they go back to the state to queue up and take part in the election? They were not able to do so, so we don’t even need to respond to such falsehood.
“What is important is to ask those who are credible and who witnessed the election; that is what is important than relying on the social media where things are crafted, we don’t rely on that,” he said.
He said Mr. Kwankwaso and his supporters resorted to propaganda because of his failure to return to the state and participate in the election.
As the controversy over the under-aged voters in Kano continues to rage, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has come out to allay the public on the matter.
INEC said the Kano situation would not apply to any of the elections conducted by the commission.
Observers, including the Centre for Information Technology and Development, CITAD, and Action Aid International Nigeria, said they witnessed voting by underage persons during the elections.
But in a statement by its spokesperson, Oluwole Uzzi, the commission said the disturbing pictures do not relate to any election it conducted or had responsibility for, thereby allaying fears over its capacity for credible elections.
While acknowledging the pictures of the underage voters, INEC stated: “as far as we can ascertain, they (the pictures) relate to a local government election conducted at the weekend (in Kano)”.
“While the Commission remains resolute in our commitment to sanitise the nation’s electoral process and deliver free, fair and credible elections, we cannot be held directly or vicariously liable for a process outside our legal purview,” INEC said.
“Our part, INEC assures the public that we are doing all we can to ensure a credible election.”