PRESIDENTIAL Candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Sunday, asked those expecting him to step down for another flag bearer to perish the thought because “for us in the NNPP and Kwankwansiya, our party is on the right track to clinch the leadership of the country.”
Speaking at a forum with the Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, and senior journalists in Lagos, Kwankwaso, who disclosed why he left the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the All Progressives Congress, APC; and why the alliance talks between the NNPP and Labour Party, LP, collapsed, gave two major reasons he won’t step down.
Okay.ng obtained that the former two-time governor of Kano State also warned Nigerians to avert a repeat of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua scenario in 2023 by scrutinising the candidates and ensuring that the best is elected.
Claiming that he is the best man for the Aso Villa job, Kwankwaso, who holds a doctorate degree in Engineering, urged older candidates to look at themselves in the mirror, tell themselves the truth, quit the presidential race and save the country avoidable agony as was witnessed when late President Yar’Adua died in 2010.
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Kwankwaso also outlined how he would fight insecurity, poverty, boost the economy, turn the fortunes of the education sector around, and how he would get the funds to do so.
Asked if he would yield to pressure to step down for any of the other candidates, Kwankwaso said apart from the NNPP being the only party that is growing now, it is too late for alliances and mergers to be formed because the window for that has been closed by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Kwankwaso said over the years he and his friends have done a lot and built goodwill across the country, which the NNPP is reaping now because within a few months of his joining the party millions of people have registered as members. Within a short time produced credible candidates across the country. Apart from the APC and PDP, we have the largest number of candidates across the country.
“NNPP is the only party growing now and the growth will continue as the 2023 polls approach. The other parties have nothing to say again. I was a founding member of the PDP, which was formed to kick the military out of power. There was no ideology behind the formation of PDP other than kicking the military out.
“After kicking out the military, we realised our differences. It was one of the reasons I lost re-election as Kano governor in 2003. So we have to think of getting a progressive party, and five of us, PDP governors, had to move and join in forming APC.
We also realised that APC has issues and our expectations were dashed. We decided to form a party of like minds. However, when the INEC refused to register our party, we looked around and found NNPP. It meets our beliefs and ideology. We are happy that we left APC and PDP and joined NNPP.
“Like us, there are millions of Nigerians who are tired of the status quo. By status quo I mean APC and PDP, who through bad leadership are responsible for the insecurity, bad infrastructure, poor economy and other problems we have come to correct.”
Why I won’t step down for any candidate
Kwankwaso, who stressed that NNPP was poised to win the presidential poll, said any candidate thinking of stepping down now when the window for mergers and alliances had closed was not being fair to himself.
“The reports of my stepping down are coming from detractors who go about concocting stories to suit their mind.
Anybody who thinks of stepping down at this stage is not fair to himself because the time for merger, alliances, etc, has gone. NNPP is all out to win the 2023 elections. The other parties are going down in terms of support and popularity and there is nothing any of them can do to stop this misfortune.
Averting Yar’Aua scenario
“Now, people are not talking about parties. They are talking about candidates and individuals. The APC and PDP have failed Nigerians. That is why we are in this mess today. I am ready for debates. Let us put our cards on the table. Some of the candidates are running away from debates. Some of them should look at themselves in the mirror and tell themselves the truth. Some of them are our seniors. You cannot cheat nature. Anybody who says 2023 is his turn is making a huge mistake.
“In 2007, Yar’Adua was nominated as PDP candidate without consultation. There was no serious consultation.
We knew things but there was no consultation and so we ran into trouble (with Yar’Adua’s ill health, attendant controversies, and using doctrine of necessity to swear in Dr Goodluck Jonathan as acting president, and his death). Today, that episode is recurring. Some people thought by becoming vice president they would soon be president.”
Kwankwaso, who regretted that the NNPP/LP alliance did not work out, said if it worked there would not have been current contemplation that there might be a run-off presidential poll in 2023 because he and Obi would have won by a landslide.
His words: “I thought the alliance would be good. If we had done that nobody will be talking about a second ballot in 2023. At our discussions the issue was who will be the presidential candidate and vice presidential candidate.
Both parties raised negotiation committees. Our team was led by Buba Galadima. The committees looked at age, educational qualification, office held and experience.
At the end the other committee did not want to go with this, they talked about power shifting to the South and to the South-East. Nigeria has gone beyond that, nobody can be president of Nigeria now based on ethnic and regional considerations.
How I’ll fight insecurity, poverty, boost economy, education
Kwankwaso, who lamented that insecurity affects everything and the economy said he would increase the number of police personnel from 230,000 to one million, and military personnel from 250,000 to one million, adding that he is not opposed to restructuring and 13 percent derivation.
According to him, insecurity has reduced oil production to one million barrels per day from 2.2mbp; affected solid minerals mining, and harmed agricultural production, which he said he would tackle if elected to generate revenue to fix the economy, infrastructure, and education among others.
Kwankwaso was exhorter by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, BoT, of the NNPP, Dr Boniface Aniebonam; BoT Secretary, Buba Galadima; Col Geof Onyejekwe, retd, Anambra NNPP South senatorial candidate; Spokesman of the NNPP Presidential Campaign Council, Mr Ladipo Johnson; and Dr Kenechukwu Nnamani among others.