I won’t step down or join forces with Obi -Kwankwaso

afca kwankwaso x
afca kwankwaso x

 

By Chinelo Obogo

Presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) Rabiu Kwankwaso, has dismissed questions on if he would step down for the candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi, saying he would neither step down nor join forces with him.

Kwankwaso who spoke at the Chatham House, British Royal Institute of International Affairs in London on Wednesday, said he is ready to step down his 2023 presidential ambition if he sees a better candidate contesting the 2023 presidential election but that none of his counterparts possess his credentials.

Duke Oputa, an independent political analyst and member of the audience asked the NNPP presidential candidate, saying: “Sir, given that your campaign strategies are very similar to that of Peter Obi in many ways, is there any circumstance that you will step aside and cooperate with Labour in other to remove the current extraction in Nigeria?”

But Kwankwaso dismissed the question saying: “On Labour Party, I was initially interested in working with them, but at that time, they were at peak of the media hype and we couldn’t reach a compromise. Our party (NNPP) is a National Party, and we’re commanding the support of the masses. I can’t work with a party whose ideas are based on ethnicity and religion because I’m a Nigerian.

“Go and look at my credentials my brother, I am a Ph.D. holder in Civil Engineering, check what your candidate has. I have been in the system for over 30 years now. I was a civil servant for 17 years, I wasn’t a trader. I was the deputy speaker of the House Representatives in 1992, I was in the constitutional conference elected delegate, the Governor of Kano State for eight years and I was in Senate.

“If you had been from the North, I am sure you won’t have made that statement for Kwankwaso to withdraw for Labour Party.  When we sat down, what I told them is what I will tell you. If they want Kwankwao to withdraw, let’s bring the criteria and select the best. Anytime they have a better candidate, I am ready to talk to him.

“We are the only party that is now getting support; forget about the big-big people who are the actual problems of this country but from supporters at the grassroots level. Mark it, we have been successful in locking Northen Nigeria today in terms of votes and in terms of support. Now, we are working in the Southern part of the country. The difference between the North and South is that the North knows us more than the Southern part of the country.”

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When asked if he believes there would be free and fair elections, he said: “My 30 years in elections have taught me that free and fair elections require the contributions of different stakeholders, especially the president, if the president wants a fair election, it will happen. I want to appeal to the Nigerian president to leave a legacy of free elections, as a serial victim of electoral fraud, and as the first beneficiary of free and fair elections in Nigeria.”

On insecurity, he recalled his time as Defense minister and Special adviser to the president of Somalia and promised to recruit more into the Nigeria armed forces. He pledged to create over two million job opportunities in the Armed Forces, Police, and other security agencies.

Kwankwaso promised to revamp the economy and create a conducive environment for businesses to thrive and attract more foreign investment if elected. He also vowed to deal with poverty and poor education in the north if elected.

“The main target of our security is to ensure that all Nigerians enjoy the freedom to live with dignity, freedom from fear and freedom from want. These are the foundations of which secured societies are built. We are where we are because of the mistakes and wrong choices made by the very people entrusted with the business of governing Nigeria in the last 24 years.

“I understand the issues involved, the mistakes that were made, the wrong priorities that were set, and together with our team, we are better connected with the hopes and aspirations of the Nigerian citizens. We understand, agree with, and share grievances and we have a practical plan to address each and every challenge bedeviling our country,” he said.

 

 

 

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