Politics

Rabiu Kwankwaso: I’m not stepping down for Atiku Abubakar

Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, the presidential candidate of the New Nigerian People's Party (NNPP), has denied rumours that he will abandon his candidacy in favour of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the election.

Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, the presidential candidate of the New Nigerian People’s Party (NNPP), has denied rumours that he will abandon his candidacy in favour of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the upcoming general election.

Kwankwaso said at a meeting with the Nigeria Guild of Editors in Lagos, “Some people are saying that I am stepping down for Atiku; why then did I leave the party? These are the issues; you see, the problem with that party was that so many people believed they were highly privileged. In a democracy, people are free to follow any political party; you cannot sit there and start dictating that I like this one, or you do not like the other one.”

The NNDP candidate claimed that his ideological and practical differences with his rivals dating back to his time as Kano State governor.

He claims that his experience in governance, which began when he worked as an artisan and continues to the present day, is what sets him apart from his competitors in terms of public resource management.

When asked about the NNPC, he said, “Of course, we are happy that it is now a law to make sure that the NNPC is moved forward, and we are very committed to involving the private sector in this country.”

“We will support the bill and do whatever it takes to make sure that the oil and gas industry is better for the interest of each and every one of us.”

He pledged that, if elected, his government would listen to the people’s desires and thoroughly review the constitution.

“Now, on the issue of the constitution, as I said earlier, we are open to discussing each and every day to listen to you. If Nigerians require a new constitution, we will be delighted to follow our process to get it done.

“But the fact remains, from my experience in the last two decades, the problem has not mainly been that of the constitution, but the operators,” he said. “By 2023, we believe we will have the right people to handle the Constitution.”

He explained that he left the ruling party and joined the opposition to pursue his ambitions of becoming president, citing differences in ideology and government.

You know they are not serving the interest of the majority of Nigerians, but underline what I said. You see, the PDP and APC, put together for about 24 years, are responsible for the mismanagement of Nigerian resources.

“I had all the experiences when we formed PDP in 1998; it was not based on anything rather than issues-based matters. Mainly all of us came together that the military had to go; it was only after then we started to see issues, and we believed the leadership at that time had failed; of course, the privileged people now can argue that even the bad PDP is better than the APC.

“That was why I feel that PDP was lucky even kicking out its members, including my humble self, Peter Obi, and even Wike. They were kicking everybody because they think once you get the PDP ticket-they still see it as 1999-the children born from 1999 are the ones now in charge of pulling units and so on and so forth.”

When asked about the issue of insecurity and his plans to address it, he acknowledged that it has slowed the country’s economic growth and said that more people would need to be hired to help fix it.