• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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BusinessDay

2023 Presidency: Kwankwaso, north’s joker, set to emerge NNPP consensus candidate

Kwankwaso: The unrivalled enigma and political juggernaut

In its determination to ensure that political power remains in the north, the region’s oligarchy is said to have thrown its weight behind the presidential aspiration of former Kano State governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.

The former governor and current senator under the auspices of the People’s Democratic party (PDP) last month dumped the party for the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) to enable him achieve his life ambition. He had tried two times in the past to get the presidential ticket but failed.

His entrance into NNPP which took place at the party’s National Convention in Abuja was followed the mass defection of members of his political movement, the “Kwankwasiya,” to the party.

Credible sources told BusinessDay that Kwankwaso is the North’s joker for the 2023 presidential election, should the two major political parties, PDP and All Progressives Congress (APC) fail to field a northerner as their presidential candidate.

“Some persons especially our brothers from the south are clamouring for power shift to their zone thinking that power is freely given. There is nothing like that.

“If we the northerners relinquish political power to the south, what else do we have? All the key economic resources are located in the south. We have the population to win any presidential election in Nigeria,” a source told BusinessDay.

“When we realised that APC would zone its presidency to the south, we met, advised and encouraged our leader (Kwankwaso) to move to NNPP. So, if PDP goes same way as APC by failing to produce a northerner as candidate, we in the north would fall back on Kwankwaso and vote for him. It does not matter the party; what we want is the presidency come 2023,” the source added.

Recently, members of the Kwankwasiya movement took over the leadership of the New Nigeria Peoples Party in what political pundits described as “high wired politics” with Rufai Ahmed Alkali, a die-hard Kwankwaso loyalist and professor of Political Economy, elected as national chairman of the party at the party’s national convention held in Abuja last month March.

He replaced the party’s founder and pioneer chairman, Boniface Aniebonam who became the chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT).

Alkali from Gombe State was the national organising secretary of the party. He had previously served as National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party; political adviser to former president Goodluck Jonathan as well as three-time commissioner in Gombe State.

To the surprise of observers, Rabiu Kwankwaso whose membership of the NNPP was officially ratified at the convention was immediately made the party’s national leader

Read also: APC NEC meets Wednesday to approve timetable for primaries

Other members of the new executive are: Deputy National Chairman, retired AVM John Ifemeje (Anambra); National Secretary, Dipo Olayoku (Ogun) and National Organising Secretary, Suleiman Hunkuyi (Kaduna).

Also elected are Deputy National Secretary, Ahmed Ajuji, (Adamawa); National Treasurer; Sanin Malam (Bauchi); National Legal Adviser, Bem Angwe (Benue), among others.

In the words of the national chairman Ahmed Alkali, “Nigerians are tired and are looking for a better option, we are that new option and we shall do our best to ensure that everybody is carried along.”

Although Kwankwaso has not formerly announced his desire to be president in 2023, his supporters have commenced preparations for his official declaration expected to hold before the end of this month.

A key member of the party and aide told BusinessDay that although every member of the party is free to contest for any elective position; however, the party leadership would adopt consensus method in selecting its presidential and governorship candidates.

He further said that following the massive support Kwankwaso enjoyed in the party, it was obvious he would clinch the ticket.

Alresdy, Kwankwaso 2023 presidential campaign posters adorn the premises of the party in Area 11 Garki Abuja and other parts of northern Nigeria.

Recently, he told journalists that he joined NNPP so as to have an opportunity to “restore Nigeria to part of glory and provide the fresh air desired by citizens.”

Kwankwaso said NNPP was well placed to restore the nation to its former glory and greater heights and called on Nigerians to join the party where he said they would be guaranteed jobs and, quality education without strike.

“This party is all about correcting the mistakes of the past and soon it will be the number one force in the country,” he said.

“This NNPP is fresh air for Nigerians because citizens are looking for a new and better Nigeria since they are tired of the status quo,” he further said.