A Kano based group has urged Nigerian politicians to campaign on issues to ensure a peaceful electoral process in the 2023 gubernatorial elections in Kano.
The group, Kano Youth Support Group, which claims to be a non-partisan, also said in a statement it was alarmed over “clandestine social media attacks on some prominent indigenes of the state over their perceived political aspirations.”
Although the group did not identify any group or institution behind such activities, its chairman, Balarabe Jeje, named a prominent indigene of the state and Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Shipping, Inuwa Waya, as one of the victims of the sponsored campaigns.
Although Mr Jeje said Mr Waya has not indicated any interest to vie in the race to succeed the incumbent state governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, come 2023, he said “some unknown persons apparently threatened by his rising political profile are suspected to be behind the character assassination campaign.”
“It is sad to observe that some politicians riled by the bourgeoning popularity and personal goodwill of Waya among locals and elites in Kano, are taking surreptitious steps to eliminate perceived threats to their ambitions via sponsorship of phantom stories in social media against them,” Mr Jeje said.
The group described the alleged attacks by the unnamed groups as part of a grand plan “to intimidate, harass and totally browbeat the NNPC chieftain out of contention.”
‘’They know that Waya is a good material for the governorship of the state. They know that he has what it takes to perform and lift the people of the state out poverty based on his track record in the public service.
“Rather than wasting their energy to wage a campaign of calumny and character assassination, our advice to the sponsors is for them to dedicate and focus same on the promotion of issues of development that would guarantee the welfare of the people of the state and the electoral process,” Mr Jeje stated.
He implored Kano indigenes and residents, particularly politicians, to desist from character assassination “and allow every Nigerian who has met the requirements to exercise their rights to participate in the electoral process”.
During the week, the social media was abuzz with reports that Mr Waya, a former Managing Director of Duke Oil, the oil trading subsidiary of the NNPC, plans to use the monies he made through the handling of NNPC’s crude oil exporting and refined products importation programme “to buy his way into the Kano Government House.”
The reports also said Mr Waya plans to peddle his alleged closeness to both the late former Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Maikanti Baru, and the late Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, to influence the electorate in the state.
But, Mr Waya told PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday in a telephone interview that such negative rumours were the handiwork of “idle political adversaries”.
He did not, however, confirm or deny any ambition to be the Kano governor.