OPINION: An Evening With Senator Kwankwaso

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When I intended but discarded the idea of writing an open letter to Senator Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso few days before his botched visit to Kano, little did I know

that I was few days away from meeting him for the first time.

One of the reasons why I didn’t write that open letter was because many of my very good friends and associates who happen to be his followers mostly consider

whatever I write on him as animosity towards him irrespective of my justifications. I don’t know of any political figure that has many followers among my friends,

relatives and associates like the Kano Central Senator.

I have often asked myself why virtually all Kwankwaso followers do not tolerate criticism or take it lightly, no matter how constructive and well-intended and

even if from people who have proven to be neutral or something close to such. I got a clue to my answer when I finally and unexpectedly met him over the weekend in his residence.

Our group’s visit was official and not political but going to Kwankwaso without discussing politics is like going to the ocean and not finding water.

Before the end of our short meeting, he discussed some very significant and current political issues.

My major takeaway was that Kwankwaso himself, like most of his supporters don not take criticism lightly, for he narrated to us how he had read newspaper articles

completely critical of him and his movement; he referred to such criticisms as lies.

Though he said, it was sometimes a political success to be in the news even for negative but not so damaging reasons, for it gives you the free publicity which

others will kill to have, but I observed from his body language, the discomfort he has towards criticism. At a point, I was so uncomfortable myself that I was

afraid he was going to make reference to me, only to be calmed when I was able to convince myself that I must have been too tiny for his notice.

One other question I have kept asking since 2012 was how Kwankwaso keep getting more mass and organic followership amidst all odds.

I got my answer the moment we were ushered into his waiting room.

People from diverse demography, statuses and backgrounds sat there waiting for him. I don’t know of any elite of Kwankwaso’s calibre or even below it who

accommodates close to that.

May be there isn’t much or perhaps because I’m not used to visiting politicians, I don’t know. But the truth is that, Kwankwaso has long been known for giving the

lowest of people access to him even amidst the busiest of schedules. The people who appear to be closest to him in Abuja are the same local politicians I see in the streets of Kano.

One good thing about people coming to him is that unlike in other cases, many of them are not coming to receive gratification, but rather coming to pay gratitude.

While waiting to see him, we heard discussions with others who were beneficiaries of his scholarship programmes.

One of whom we met in the room, who is now an Air Force Officer dressed in his uniform, was so excited and happy with Kwankwaso that he stood up and greeted

everyone who came to see the Senator. When we spoke to Kwankwaso about the young lad, he grimed with smile, the kind of which expresses a deep sense of happiness

and fulfilment. The former Kano Governor may have his flaws, but you can’t deny his passion for human development.

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