The presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, has again railed against several calls, asking him to step down for one of his rivals in the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
While taking questions following his speech at the London’s Chatham House, monitored by The New Diplomat, Wednesday, a participant from the audience had sought to know whether Kwankwaso was willing to step down for the candidate of Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi, arguing both candidates have similar programmes in their manifestoes.
Responding to the question, the former Kano Governor said none of the presidential candidates contesting against him is more qualified for the number one job in the country than himself as he went on to list his credentials and past portfolios.
Speaking further, Kwankwaso gave more details as to why a proposed merger with Labour Party (LP) and its presidential candidate didn’t work out.
According to Kwankwaso, the proposed alliance between him and Peter Obi couldn’t work because both parties failed reach to a compromise.
He said the alliance failed because LP was at the peak of the media hype and couldn’t collapse its structure for NNPP.
In his words, “The issue of Labour(party)…you see that the problem we have… if you have a party, which is based on ethnicity, and religion, that’s the difference between Labour Party, and of course, our party, which is a national party, New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).
“You see while you are accusing the leaders of being one thing or the other negative? I think the followers also must learn how to be Nigerians, not coming from one part of the country. Let me say that I was one of those initially wanting to work together with Labour Party.
“But unfortunately, at that time, Labour Party was under very serious media hype and therefore they could not see reason. And we still don’t see a reason that I would withdraw. I wish you didn’t go to that extent.
“And of course NNPP, our Party is the only party that is now getting support. Forget about big people who are the actual problem of this country. But supporters are drawn to us. Mark it today, we have succeeded in locking northern Nigeria today, in terms of votes, in terms of support.
“Now we are working in the southern part of the country. If you are from the north, I’m sure you wouldn’t have made that statement for kwankwaso to withdraw for Labour Party.
“You should go and look at my credentials my brother, I am a PhD holder in civil engineering and check your candidate what he has. I have been in the system civil servant for 17 years. I wasn’t a trader. I was Deputy Speaker of the House of Reps in 1992… I was governor of Kaduna state for eight years, and so on. And so I was in the Senate, and so on and so forth. So when we sat down, what I told them is what I will tell you, if anybody wants to come also to withdraw, let’s bring criteria and select the best. Anytime I have any better candidate. I’m ready to talk,” he added.
Kwankwaso, in his address also 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 lack of access to education in the north if elected.
He continued, ”I built over 500 classrooms while I was governor of Kano state, and when elected I will bring more people on board to tackle education needs in Nigeria.”
On insecurity, Kwankwaso recalled his time as Defense minister and Special adviser to president Olusegun Obasanjo and promised to recruit more into the Nigeria’s armed forces.
Kwankwaso said he is aspiring to become the next president of Nigeria because “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.”
He added that “we understand, agree with, and share grievances. And we have a practical plan to address each and every challenge bedevilling our country.”