KANO HOUSE: THE ELITE CLUB OF KWANKWASIYYA
IN the beginning, Kano State House of Assembly was not designed to play the role of check and balances in a democracy going by the number of 'yes men', and quality of individual elected into the hallow chamber as legislators.
From the onset in 1999 to the Seventh Assembly, nothing has changed and what we have witnessed in the last 12 years of participatory democracy is the avowed willingness by the successful bench of lawmakers to sacrifice its vibrancy in the name of pursuing collective interest with the executive arm.
It poses no surprise therefore that the Seventh House, as constituted presently, is peopled and ruled by Kwankwasiyya elements of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which controls an overwhelming majority in the 40-man legislative House with a retired headmaster, Yusuf Abdullahi Falgore as the Speaker.
Until lately, the All Nigerian Peoples Party, ANPP, controlled the hallow chamber for eight years, but lost the vantage position to PDP in the just conducted April 2011 general elections. The party now boasts of 30 members as against 10 of the ANPP.
The PDP's overwhelming dominance of the legislative House in Kano, the second within the last 12 years, signaled a likely repeat of Fourth Assembly where attitude of the lawmakers reduced them to the appendage of the executive arm.
From1999 to 2003, the PDP dominated House settled for Abdullahi Ibrahim Gwarmai as Speaker under the party's local zoning policy. Gwarmai's dexterity in the art of pivoting the Assembly was considered 'dishonourable' and he was removed for alleged 'bleaching.'
Unlike the previous experience, the current members of the PDP in the House are essentially Kwankwasiyya die hard, with cult like attitude especially with their quasi approach to legislative business. Besides, they tend to be more inclined to their brethren outside the hallowed chamber in the pursuit of collective goal.
Nearly all the 30 PDP lawmakers played significant role in the second coming of Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso to the seat of power in May 2011. This further lend credence to the fact that the present crop of the Assembly is set to sustain the tradition of sacrificing its status for the wish of the personality that controls the executive arm of government.
Interestingly, Kano Assembly has a history of conformists as legislators with little or no pedigree in the art of making laws. Legislative businesses are conducted in local dialect, emphasis is on political survival and anything that will set them against the crushing power of the Governor is avoided like a plague.
The tradition was basically the same during Malam Ibrahim Shekarau's eight years administration. The House under Shekarau was worse than a rubber stamp. Balarabe Saidu Gani, the first ANPP speaker did not bother to seek re-election after a clash of interest with the former governor.
In 2005, the House passed a resolution calling on Shekarau to remove Alhaji Sani Rogo as Commissioner for Local Government over an alleged 'act of misdemeanor' that was neglected by the former governor.
Similarly, the 40 man House at the twilight of the Sixth Assembly passed a resolution calling on the Governor to recognize its role in the composition of an Interim Management Officer for Local Councils. The Governor swore in the 44 local officers a day after and nothing happened.
Onlookers had wondered why a powerful arm of government could be so compromised to the point of felony in the discharge of their duties, but the reasons are not far fetched.
From the onset, nearly all those that emerged as principal officers of the Assembly were loyal to the former governor. The imposition of leadership on the lawmakers had in no small way, affected them as a group.
The Kano Assembly like its counterparts elsewhere in the country depends on the executive for day to day running of its activities. In most cases, the Governor 'hired and fired' Principals officers the moment he noticed signs of disloyalty.
They had in the past, served as a tool to teach erring lawmakers a lesson.
The Assembly has never witnessed opposition to check it from derailing from its statutory functions, and as it stands, the present crop of opposition elements in the House are expected to reverse the trend.
So, Kano is now looking out for few vocal elements in the likes of Yusuf Babangida, PDP, Gambo Salawu, PDP, AbdulAziz Gafasa, ANPP, and Danladi Isa Kademi to provide the independent platform that will check the likely excesses of the executive arm.
Whether that will work in favour of the downtrodden will be seen in a matter of months to come, but the speed with which the House screened and cleared Kwankwaso's commissioner nominees, left mouths agape.