Full Name: Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso
Date of Birth: 21 October 1956.
Place of Birth: Kwankwaso, Northern Region, British Nigeria.
Marriage status: Married.
Spouse(s): Salamatu Rabiu Musa
Alma mater: Middlesex Polytechnic Loughborough University of Technology.
Occupation: Politician, civil servant and engineer.
Position(S): Governor of Kano State In office (29 May 2011 – 29 May 2015), Senator of the Federal Republic In office (11 June 2015 – June 2019), Minister of Defence; In office (July 2003 – May 2007)
Political party: New Nigeria People’s Party.(NNPP)
Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso is a prominent Nigerian politician who has served in different political spheres of the country. He served as the Governor of Kano State from 1999 to 2003. He lost the election in 2003 which denied him from returning to office but was appointed the Minister of Defence by former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He was re-elected as the Governor of Kano State from 2011 to 2015. He has also served as the Senator representing Kano Central. In 2022, Kwankwaso declared his ambition to contest during the 2023 presidential election under the New Nigeria Peoples Party(NNPP).
Early Life & Education
Rabiu Kwankwaso was born on the 21st of October, 1956, in Kwankwaso village, Madobi. His father held the position of Sarkin Fulani, Dagacin Kwankwaso, the title for the head of Kwankwaso village. His father was later appointed as Majidadin Kano, the District Head of Madobi. Kwankwaso had most of his education in Kano State. He attended Kwankwaso Primary School, Gwarzo Boarding Senior Primary School, Wudil Craft School, and Kano Technical College for his primary and secondary education.
Kwankwaso went to further to Kaduna Polytechnic where he obtained his National Diploma(ND) and Higher National Diploma(HND) certificate. During his time in school, Kwankwaso was a prominent student leader and a chosen representative of the Kano State Students Association. He also pursued postgraduate studies at Middlesex Polytechnic in the UK from 1982 to 1983, as well as at the Loughborough University of Technology, where he graduated with a master’s in water engineering in 1985. In 2022, he graduated from Sharda University in India with a Ph.D. in water engineering.
In 1975, before Kwankwaso joined politics, he worked at the Kano State Water Resources and Engineering Construction Agency of the Government of Kano State. After his seventeen years of working experience, he became the principal water engineer.
Rabiu Kwankwaso started his political career in 1992 as a member of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). In the same year, he was elected as an honorable representing Madobi Federal Constituency in Kano State. He gained national recognition when he became the deputy speaker of the House of Assembly. As a representative of the People’s Democratic Movement, led by Yar’adua, Kwankwaso was chosen as one of the delegates from Kano during the 1995 Constitutional Conference. Later, as part of General Sani Abacha‘s political transition plan, he joined the Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN).
On the platform of the People’s Democratic Movement in Kano, which was headed by Mallam Musa Gwadabe, Senator Hamisu Musa, and Alhaji Abdullahi Aliyu Sumaila, Kwankwaso joined the PDP in 1998. He ran in the PDP primary elections in 1999 alongside Alhaji Kabiru Rabiu, Mukthari Zimit, and Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. He defeated them in the primary elections.
Kwankwaso replaced Theophilus Danjuma as Minister of Defense in President Olusegun Obasanjo‘s second government from 2003 to 2007. He withdrew from his ministerial position in 2007 to run for Governor of Kano State, but he was defeated. Later, the party’s candidate for governor, Alhaji Ahmed Garba Bichi, took his place.
Kwasnkwaso was appointed by President Olusegun Obasanjo as the Special Envoy to Somalia and Darfur after his party’s failed bid to run in the 2007 gubernatorial elections. President Umaru Yar’Adua later made him a board member of the Niger Delta Development Commission, a position he held until resigning in 2010. From 2015 to 2019, Kwankwaso served as the senator for the Kano Central Senatorial District in the Nigerian Senate.
Together with fourteen other APC senators who were still in office, Kwankwaso defected to the PDP in July 2018. The PDP presidential primaries was held in October 2018 and featured 12 candidates, including Kwankwaso, he finished fourth with 158 votes, following Atiku Abubakar (1,532), Aminu Tambuwal (693), Bukola Saraki (317), and Kwankwaso (158). Later, Kwankwaso endorsed Atiku Abubakar as the winner and decided not to run for re-election to the senate, allowing Ibrahim Shekarau to take his place. Abba Kabir Yusuf, his son-in-law, was heavily backed by Kwankwaso in his attempt to become governor of Kano State. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, the incumbent, won the race.
Governor of Kano State
Kwankwaso was elected for his first term as the governor of Kano State from 29 May 1999 to 29 May 2003. His first tenure as the governor of Kano State was very eventful because of several other groups who were opposed to his high-handed governorship and his attempt at supporting Yoruba President Olusegun Obasanjo. In 2003, he lost re-election to his rival Malam Ibrahim Shekarau.
Kwankwaso was re-elected for a second term in office as governor of Kano State from 29 May 2011 to 29 May 2015. During this time, he set out to rejig the political structure of Kwankwassiya: building roads, hospitals and schools and sending residents to study abroad.In August 2013, Kwankwaso was amongst seven serving governors who formed the G-7 faction within the Peoples Democratic Party. In November 2013, Kwankwaso, alongside five members of the G-7, defected to the new opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In June 2014, Kwankwaso was at loggerheads with long-time Emir of Kano Ado Bayero over his appointment of Waziri (Vizier) of the Kano Emirate Council. On 6 June 2014, Ado Bayero died and a succession crisis loomed amongst the royals. On 8 June 2014, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi suspended Central Bank governor and Dan Majen Kano (Son of Emir-Maje) emerged as the new Emir of Kano. His accession led to widespread protests from supporters of Sanusi Ado Bayero son of the late Emir and Chiroman Kano (Crown Prince), and allegations that Kwankwaso supported Sanusi because of the 2015 presidential election.
2015 presidential campaign
In October 2014, Kwankwaso used his large political following in Kano to contest the APC presidential primaries. The presidential primaries results held in Lagos were: Muhammadu Buhari with 3,430 votes, Kwankwaso with 974 votes, Atiku Abubakar with 954 votes, Rochas Okorocha with 400 votes and Sam Nda-Isiah with 10 votes. Coming in second, Kwankwaso endorsed the winner Muhammadu Buhari.
From 2003 to 2007, Kwankwaso appointed Minister of Defence in President Olusegun Obasanjo’s second cabinet, replacing Theophilus Danjuma.
Governorship election of 2007
In 2007, Kwankwaso resigned his ministerial position to contest the Kano State governorship election but he lost because he had been indicted by a Government White Paper. Alhaji Ahmed Garba Bichi later replaced him as the governorship candidate of the party. After losing the bid from his party to contest the 2007 elections, he was appointed as the Special Envoy to Somalia and Darfur by President Olusegun Obasanjo; and was later appointed by President Umaru Yar’Adua as a Board Member of the Niger Delta Development Commission, a position he resigned from in 2010.
Crowd of supporters (distinguished by the red hats) at the inauguration of Kwankwaso as Governor of Kano state and supreme leader of the Kwankwasiyya ideology, 29 May 2011
Kwankwaso represented Kano Central Senatorial District at the Senate of Nigeria from May 2015 to May 2019.
2019 presidential campaign
In July 2018, Kwankwaso alongside fourteen serving senators of the APC defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In October 2018, Kwankwaso contested the PDP presidential primaries. At the presidential primaries held in Rivers, amongst twelve presidential aspirants Kwankwaso came in fourth behind Atiku Abubakar with 1,532 votes, Aminu Tambuwal with 693 votes, Bukola Saraki with 317 votes and Kwankwaso with 158 votes. Kwankwaso later endorsed the winner Atiku Abubakar and refused to seek re-election into the senate, with Ibrahim Shekarau replacing him. Kwankwaso campaigned heavily for his son-in-law Abba Kabir Yusuf to emerge as the governor in Kano State. The election was later declared inconclusive in favour of incumbent Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.
Establishing the National Movement
On 22 February 2022, Kwankwaso set up the National Movement as a political movement against the staying power of the two major political parties the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party. He co-opted the New Nigeria Peoples Party as the political wing of the movement and became the national leader of the party on 30 March 2022.
In July 2022, Rabiu Kwankwaso was declared the presidential candidate under the New Nigeria Peoples Party(NNPP), which would be contesting against other parties in the 2023 presidential election.
Rabiu Kwankwaso is happily married. In 1999, he divorced his first wife and got married to another woman. He has eight children from both his first and his new wife.
Influence & Impact
Rabiu Kwankwaso established the Kwankwasiyya Development Foundation (KDF) after leaving office as governor to aid the people of Kano state and all of Nigeria. Through the organization, Kwankwaso provided ongoing financial support to numerous young people so they may complete their education. After successfully finishing their degrees, the first group of 370 recipients of the foundation’s foreign scholarship returned to Nigeria in 2021. Many of the scholars were able to get employment after completing their studies with numerous national and international companies, including Dangote and Bua.
The Kano State Pension and Gratuity Law of 2007 was allegedly broken by Kwankwaso just before he departed from office earlier that year, according to a petition submitted in 2015 to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. The group claims that Kwankwaso instructed pension transfers to be spent for housing development but that he instead interfered in a housing project to assign homes to his colleagues.
EFCC’s investigation into Kwankwaso’s suspected theft of N10 billion pension funds while serving as governor of Kano State was halted on July 2, 2015, by Justice Mohammed Yahaya of the Kano High Court. But on July 16, 2015, the same judge in the Kano High Court reversed his earlier decision and gave the EFCC a ruling allowing it to look into Kwankwaso’s case, make an arrest, and bring charges against him. Kwankwaso was also cited by Justice Muhammed Yahaya and fined N50,000 for “time-wasting.”
The EFCC denied and dismissed accusations that Kwankwaso was the subject of any ongoing corruption investigations and prosecutions later in 2016. Kwankwaso himself has categorically refuted and rejected any claims of corruption against him, calling them political blackmail, malicious, and inaccurate, and supported by his adversaries and political competitors in an effort to damage his name. Through his attorney, Kwankwaso brought a claim in court for compensation for ruining his reputation.