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Kano govt claims its first lady did not ‘anoint’ a successor to Ganduje, but here’s what we found out

Photo: www.pulse.ng 5 mins read

Claim: The Kano State Government, through the Commissioner for Information, has denied stories widely reported across media platforms that Kano’s powerful First Lady, Hafsat Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, popularly known as ‘Goggo’ had anointed the State Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Murtala Sule Garo, aka Commander as successor to her husband claiming she was quoted out of context and had only “commended his performance” 

A content analysis of the video footage where the Kano state first lady, Hajiya Hafsat Ganduje made the statement including a careful observation of her disposition, length of time she took in making her point and her statement as translated reveals that she was not quoted out of context as claimed by the Kano State Government. The state governments claim therefore is MISLEADING. 

Full Text 

The Kano state government has refuted reports attributed to the First Lady, Prof. Hafsat Abdullahi Umar Ganduje in which she is reported to have endorsed Murtala Sule Garo, commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs as successor to her husband come 2023.

In a statement issued by the state commissioner for information, Malam Muhammad Garba, the State government explained that the governor’s wife was quoted out of contest in the trending video clip on the social media platform.

In the video, the statement added, the First Lady was only thrilled by Garo’s performance whom she fondly called Commander and for his support for the policies and programmes of Governor Ganduje and his administration in the state.

Recently, media reports were rife that the First lady popularly known as ‘Goggo’ has at a function in Ungogo Local Government Area of Kano State on Saturday while addressing government officials and beneficiaries of an empowerment programme, said Murtala Garo is the ideal person to succeed their government as he posses all the needed attributes.

Recall that in the 2019 gubernatorial election, Mr. Garo allegedly disrupted the process by tearing result sheets at Nasarawa Polling Unit of the State which led to the declaration of the election inconclusive. 

Garo was arrested by police officers alongside chairman of the Nasarawa LGA Lamin Sani and the state Deputy Governor Nasiru Gawuna for allegedly storming the collation centre and destroying election results sheets.

The commissioner, who was almost stripped naked in the fracas, was reportedly beaten to pulp together with his accomplices before being arrested.

They were detained at the state police command headquarters in Bompai area and interrogated before they were released on bail.

The police command under then CP Mohammed Wakili, nicknamed Singham, vowed to prosecute Garo and Sani but his tenure did not last longer.

Verification

A content analysis of the video footage where the first lady, Professor Hafsat Umar Ganduje popularly known as ‘Goggo’ made the statement reveals that she was addressing government officials and beneficiaries of an empowerment programme at Ungogo Local Government Area of Kano state and she had spoken at length in praise of the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Murtala Sule Garo who was nicknamed ‘Commander’ after the election disruption debacle.

In her own words, the first lady had said, “what the governor wants is educated, agile, and hardworking young men to steer the affairs of our Local Governments. He also wants hardworking youths to succeed him.

“I remember, while on a short trip. At all times… He is here listening to me, in every battle, there has to be a Commander (Mr. Garo’s nickname) had spent sleepless nights. I swear to God, he didn’t sleep because he was working hard to discharge his responsibility as a commissioner. I hope you chairmen are listening to me? You are hearing this from Goggo’s mouth.

“Therefore, these are the people that His Excellency said they would succeed him,” Mrs Ganduje said.

A careful observation of her disposition, length of time taken in making her point and her statement as translated reveals that she was not quoted out of context as claimed by the Kano State Government. 

Commenting on the matter, Musa Sani Alyu, a broadcast Journalist with Jalla radio 98.1FM Kano said, “What happened was that Goggo spilled the beans. What is on the mind is what is on the face. What the first lady said at the event was very clear and it is directly proportional to the state government’s intention. We all know she is one of the most influential people in the government, that is the reason they opened an office for her, the office of the wife of Kano State governor, which did not happen in Kano prior to now. What Goggo said, the inclination has shown that’s what’s on her mind and she wants him to be the candidate because he is her puppet. Everyone knows the depth of his loyalty to the first lady. So she was clear enough and they tried as much to retract the anointment but the damage had already been done. As a broadcast journalist in Kano, i carefully follow all the news and i am much interested in the affairs of Kano state government and i know the first lady meant what she said. Lets wait till 2023 you will see unexpected things happening especially on gubernatorial candidates.” 

Also commenting, Nura Yusuf, a Kano based public affairs commentator said,“Goggo could not hide her emotions anytime it comes to Sule Garo because If he hadn’t played the role he played at the Nassarawa collation center during the 2019 gubernatorial elections, there would be no Ganduje government today. The state governments claim is just damage control because it was obvious some forces within the party were upset on the issue that was why they brought something that will whitewash the statement,” 

Another commentator, Salis Mohammad Manaja, a political analyst observed that the story was not debunked until about two days after when the issue started generating rancour within the party.

“They did that to control the internal crisis emanating within the government, it would have been better if the government had claimed that the first lady preempted the situation rather than denying what is obvious from the clip we saw,” Manager said. 

Arguments by the commentators are consistent with the image repair theory in crisis communication, a subspecialty of the public relations profession which is designed to protect and defend an individual or organisation facing reputational challenges.

The image repair theory (IRT), recommended by Professor William Benoit, a scholar in the field of political communication, University of Missouri, identifies five general approaches to responding to accusations or suspicions. These are Denial, Evading Responsibility, Reducing Offensiveness, Corrective Action, and Mortification.

Conclusion 

Based on content analysis of the video footage of the subject matter, and arguments from public affairs commentators, claims by the Kano State government that the first lady, professor Hafsat Umar Ganduje did not endorse Murtala Sule Garo, commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs as successor to her husband come 2023, is MISLEADING.

The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2021 Kwame KariKari Fellowship partnership with PRNigeria to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

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