Rabiu Kwankwaso

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Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso

Dr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.jpg
Senator of the Federal Republic
In office
11 June 2015 – June 2019
Preceded byBasheer Garba Mohammed
Succeeded byIbrahim Shekarau
ConstituencyKano (Central Senatorial District)
Governor of Kano State
In office
29 May 2011 – 29 May 2015
DeputyAbdullahi Umar Ganduje
Preceded byIbrahim Shekarau
Succeeded byAbdullahi Umar Ganduje
In office
29 May 1999 – 29 May 2003
DeputyAbdullahi Umar Ganduje
Preceded byAminu Isa Kontagora
Succeeded byIbrahim Shekarau
Minister of Defence
In office
July 2003 – May 2007
Minister of StateRoland Oritsejafor
(2003 to 2006)
Thomas Aguiyi-Ironsi
(from August 2006)
Preceded byTheophilus Danjuma
Succeeded byYayale Ahmed
Personal details
Born (1956-10-21) 21 October 1956 (age 64)
Kwankwaso, Northern Region, British Nigeria
(now Kwankwaso, Nigeria)
Political partyPeople's Democratic Party (1998-2014; 2018–present)
Other political
Peoples Front of Nigeria
Social Democratic Party
All Progressives Congress (2014–2018)
RelationsAbba Kabir Yusuf
Alma materMiddlesex Polytechnic
Loughborough University of Technology
OccupationPolitician, civil servant and engineer

Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso, FNSE, FNIQS is a Nigerian politician who was the Governor of Kano State from 1999 to 2003 and 2011 to 2015.[1] After he lost his re-election in 2003, he was appointed the first Minister of Defence of the Fourth Republic with no prior military background from 2003 to 2007. He was later elected to the Senate in 2015, serving one term under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) representing Kano Central Senatorial District.[2]

Kwankwaso enjoys widespread support in Kano; he has been viewed as a charismatic populist.[3] In 2011, he was re-elected governor of the state and went on to join the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014. In 2015, Kwankwaso unsuccessfully contested the presidential primaries nomination under the opposition All Progressive Congress, but lost to Muhammad Buhari. In 2018, he returned to People's Democratic Party (PDP) and contested the presidential primaries losing out to Atiku Abubakar.


Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso was born on 21 October 1956 in Kwankwaso, a village located at Madobi, to a Sunni Muslim Fulani family. His father was the village head of Kwankwaso with the title of Sarkin Fulani, Dagacin Kwankwaso; he was promoted to the District Head of Madobi with the title of Majidadin Kano, Hakimin Madobi by the Kano Emirate Council of Emir Ado Bayero.[4]

He attended Kwankwaso Primary School, Gwarzo Boarding Senior Primary School, Wudil Craft School and Kano Technical College before proceeding to Kaduna Polytechnic where he did both his National Diploma, and Higher National Diploma. He also attended postgraduate studies in the United Kingdom from 1982 to 1983 at the Middlesex Polytechnic; and Loughborough University of Technology where he received a master's degree in water engineering in 1985.[5]

Kwankwaso was an active student leader during his school days and was an elected official of the Kano State Students Association.[6] Kwankwaso started work for the Government of Kano State in 1975 as a civil servant at the Kano State Water Resources and Engineering Construction Agency (WRECA). He served 17 years there in various capacities and rose through the ranks to become the principal water engineer.[7]

Early political career[edit]

In 1992, Kwankwaso made his entry into politics on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). He was a member of the People's Front faction of the SDP led by General Shehu Yar'adua and other popular politicians such as his former boss Senator Magaji Abdullahi, Babagana Kingibe, Atiku Abubakar, Bola Tinubu, Tony Anenih, Chuba Okadigbo, Abdullahi Aliyu Sumaila, Abubakar Koko and Lamidi Adedibu amongst others.[8]

In 1992, Kwankwaso was elected as a member of the House of Representatives representing Madobi Federal Constituency. His subsequent election as deputy speaker in the House brought him to the limelight of national politics. During the 1995 Constitutional Conference, Kwankwaso was elected as one of the delegates from Kano, as a member of the People's Democratic Movement led by Yar'adua.[9] He later joined the Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN) in the political transition program of General Sani Abacha. Kwankwaso joined the PDP in 1998 under the platform of People's Democratic Movement in Kano led by Mallam Musa Gwadabe, Senator Hamisu Musa and Alhaji Abdullahi Aliyu Sumaila.[8]

Governor of Kano State[edit]

In 1999, he contested the PDP primaries alongside Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Mukthari Zimit, Alhaji Kabiru Rabiu. The Santsi/P.S.P. were behind the candidature of Abdullahi Umar Ganduje but they lost to Kwankwaso in the primaries. The committee that conducted the primaries included Tony Momoh as chairman; other members were Abdullahi Aliyu Sumaila and Senator Bala Tafidan Yauri, amongst others. Kwankwaso was elected as the governor of Kano State on 29 May 1999. 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.[10] In 2003, he lost re-election to his rival Malam Ibrahim Shekarau.

In 2011, Kwankwaso was re-elected for a second term in office as governor of Kano State from 29 May 2011 to 29 May 2015.[11] During this time, he set out to rejig the political structure of Kwankwassiya: building roads, hospitals and schools and sending residents to study abroad.[12] In August 2013, Kwankwaso was amongst seven serving governors who formed the G-7 faction within the PDP.[13] In November 2013, Kwankwaso, alongside five members of the G-7, defected to the new opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).[14]

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)[15] emerged as the new Emir of Kano.[16] 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.[17]

Minister of Defence[edit]

From 2003 to 2007, Kwankwaso appointed Minister of Defence in President Olusegun Obasanjo's second cabinet, replacing Theophilus Danjuma.


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.[18][19] Alhaji Ahmed Garba Bichi later replaced him as the governorship candidate of the party.[18] 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.[20]

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

In 2011, Kwankwaso was re-elected for a second term in office as governor of Kano State from 29 May 2011 to 29 May 2015.[11] In 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 and later secured nomination to the Senate of Nigeria representing Kano Central Senatorial District from May 2015 to May 2019.[21]

In July 2018, Kwankwaso alongside fourteen serving senators of the APC defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).[22] 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.[23] 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.[24]


2004 Commission[edit]

On 9 March 2004, the chief judge of Kano state swore in the six-member commission of inquiry which was headed by Hon. Justice Ahmed Badamasi as chairman to inquire into the activities of Kwankwaso. The commission commenced sitting on 19 March 2004 and made its report available and for the government to issue the white paper by November 2004, when he was indicted.[25][26]

2015 pension misappropriation allegations[edit]

In 2015, the Concerned Kano State Workers and Pensioners group filed a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission claiming that Kwankwaso had broken the Kano State Pension and Gratuity Law of 2007 right before leaving office earlier in 2015. According to the group, Kwankwaso had directed that pension remittances be used for housing development but supposedly intervened in a housing project to allocate houses to his associates. Ultimately, the housing allocations and alleged misappropriation of funds reached around 10 billion naira according to the Concerned Kano State Workers and Pensioners group.[27]

2015 court cases and 2016 EFCC denial[edit]

On 2 July 2015, Justice Mohammed Yahaya of the Kano High Court had restrained the EFCC from arresting or restraining Kwankwaso in its investigation for alleged misappropriation of N10 billion pension funds while serving as Kano State governor.[28] But two weeks later on 16 July 2015, the same judge in the Kano High Court voided his earlier order and granted the EFCC a judgement to enable the commission to investigate, arrest and prosecute Kwankwaso.[29] Justice Muhammed Yahaya also fined Kwankwaso N50,000 for "time-wasting."

Later in 2016, The EFCC denied and refuted claims of any pending corruption case and prosecution against Kwankwaso.[30][31][32] Kwankwaso himself has strongly denied and rejected any corruption allegations against him, describing it as mere political blackmail, mischievous and untrue which is sponsored by his enemies and political rivals to tarnish his image and reputation. Kwankwaso filed suit in court through his lawyer seeking compensation for tarnishing his image.[33][34][35][36]

2021 EFCC investigation[edit]

In September 2021, the Premium Times found that the EFCC had invited Kwankwaso for questioning earlier that month on the alleged pension fund misappropriation from 2015; Kwankwaso ignored the commission.[27]


Kwankwaso's time in office was characterised with a number of notable achievements. During his first tenure in office as governor (1999 to 2003), he established the Kano University of Science and Technology in Wudil, the first and only state university in Kano at the time.[37] During his second tenure (2011 to 2015), Kwankwaso established the North West University, Kano, the second state University in Kano.[38] He also established 26 academic and manpower development training institutes and through these institutes over 360,000 youth and women were trained and empowered. He is the first governor in Nigeria to introduce free school feeding and uniforms for primary school pupils. This exponentially increased the school enrolment figures from 1 million in 2011 to over 3 million in 2015 when he left office.[39]

His passion for education saw to the introduction of free education at all levels in the state and saw to the adequate provision of teaching and learning materials. He established 230 secondary schools of which there are 47 technical colleges, 44 schools of Islamic studies, a Chinese college, a French college, and the first boarding girls' college as well as a boys' college in Damagaran and Niamey jointly with the Government of Niger Republic. In his four years as the governor of Kano State, he has awarded over 2,600 postgraduate and undergraduate foreign scholarships in 14 countries across the world. This is in addition to the local private university scholarship in Nigeria.[40][41]

In the area of infrastructure for the first time in the history of Northern Nigeria, three flyover bridges were constructed, 5 km dual-carriage lighted roads were being constructed in each of the 44 Local Government Areas of Kano, and two underpass bridges were constructed.[42][43] Kwankwaso also initiated the covering of drainages with interlocking tiles in the state, including the covering of the Jakara River which cuts across the city of Kano with a dualised road, which greatly improved the environmental and sanitary condition of the entire city of Kano.[44][45][46] Kwankwaso has also built many houses and estates in both his first and second tenure in office. Three modern cities, Kwankwasiyya, Amana and Bandirawo were built with about 3000 housing units of various capacities put up for sale to the general public. About 1500 houses have been constructed and donated free to rural poor communities and victims of flood disasters.[47][48]


After leaving office as governor, Engr Kwankwaso launched the Kwankwasiyya Development Foundation (KDF), an initiative designed to help the people of Kano state and across Nigeria. Through the foundation, Kwankwaso supported many young people to further their education with continued financial assistance.[49] The first batch of 370 beneficiaries of the foundation’s overseas scholarship returned to Nigeria in 2021 after successfully completing their degrees. Upon completion of their studies, many of the scholars secured jobs with various national and international organisations such as Dangote and Bua, which was facilitated through the Kwankwasiyya Development Foundation.[50][51][52][53][54][55]

When asked why he launched the foundation, Kwankwaso stated that the reason was simply to promote literacy and alleviate extreme poverty in Kano state and Nigeria at large. To support the foundation, Kwankwaso sold his property and donated the money to the foundation.[56][57]

Through the KDF, Kwankwaso also secured the release of 170 inmates in various prisons across Nigeria by paying their fines and providing transport to enable them to get to their destinations and reunite with their families.[58][59] Kwankwaso has also donated sports kits and cash worth over 150 million naira to amateur football clubs across states in Nigeria. This is part of his effort to support the growth and development of local sports in Nigeria, an area that provides young people with opportunities across the globe.[60][61] The foundation also donated cash and food items to the poor and needy, including widows, people with disabilities, and orphans, in an effort to alleviate poverty especially among women in Nigeria.[62][63]

On his 64th birthday in 2020, Kwankwaso inaugurated a 300-pupil capacity school which he built in Rano local government, Kano. The school is solar-powered and has a block housing six classrooms. The school was built through KDF in line with Kwankwaso's vision and mission to support education.[64][65][66][67][68]

See also[edit]


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  2. ^ "Kwankwaso speaks on alleged involvement in defence contracts, says 'I resigned as minister in November 2006'". Daily Nigerian. 3 March 2020. Retrieved 28 September 2020.
  3. ^ Reporter (6 March 2018). "Inside Sen. KWANKWASO's Powerful Political Machine •The Story of His KWANKWASSIYA Movement". City People Magazine. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  4. ^ Onyekwelu, Ikenna (21 June 2015). "Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso: Whining Of A Rural Aristocrat". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  5. ^ Admin. "RABIU KWANKWASO BIOGRAPHY / PROFILE". Manpower. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  6. ^ Maduwachi. "RABIU KWANKWASO BIOGRAPHY / PROFILE". Nigeria Infopedia. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  7. ^ "Why Kwankwaso will steer the nation's ship better in 2019". aljazirahnews. 16 June 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  8. ^ a b Mustapha, Jamil. Kwankwasiyya- Leadershi[p with #purpose. ISBN 9789331533.
  9. ^ Admin. "KWANKWASIYYA IN NIGERIA'S POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT". Academia. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  10. ^ "Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso: Whining of a Rural Aristocrat". The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News. 21 June 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  11. ^ a b "2011 State Governorship Elections in Nigeria". africanelections.tripod.com. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  12. ^ Staff, Daily Post (18 January 2014). "KNSG spends N2.8bn on foreign scholarship for 502 student". Daily Post Nigeria. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  13. ^ "G7 Governors: Hot and Cold". Vanguard News. 6 November 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  14. ^ "In Political Earthquake, 5 PDP Govs Defect to APC, Articles | THISDAY LIVE". 8 April 2015. Archived from the original on 8 April 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  15. ^ "CBN governor, Lamido Sanusi becomes "Dan-Majen Kano" | Premium Times Nigeria". 8 June 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
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  17. ^ Fawehinmi, Feyi (2 May 2016). "Guest Post 1: The Case AGAINST Sanusi Lamido Sanusi As Emir of Kano". Medium. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
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  19. ^ Awu, Jerry (18 February 2004). "Nigeria: Contingency Fund Fraud Ex-Kano Gov, Others to Refund N3b". Retrieved 22 December 2017.
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  49. ^ III, Editorial (1 February 2020). "Kwankwasiyya Foundation offers Kano indigenes scholarships".
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  52. ^ https://guardian.ng/news/13-kwankwaso-scholarship-beneficiaries-get-foreign-employment/
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  54. ^ "Why we chose foreign varsities for our scholarship scheme – Kwankwasiyya". Daily Trust.
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  64. ^ "Kwankwaso Celebrates 64th Birthday, Inaugurates Nomadic School". 21 October 2020.
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  68. ^ https://guardian.ng/news/kwankwaso-launches-new-radio-station-in-kano/

External link[edit]