• Tuesday, September 26, 2023
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Kwankwaso expresses confidence in INEC’s preparedness ahead of election

Kwankwaso: The unrivalled enigma and political juggernaut

Rabiu Kwankwaso, the presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), has expressed confidence in the ability and capability of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct free, fair, and credible elections on February 25 and March 11.

He based his belief on the improvements witnessed at the gubernatorial elections in Ekiti State, Osun State, and Anambra State. He added that the introduction of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and other innovations of the commission give every political party confidence that the election results will be a product of transparency and credibility.

He made this remark when interviewed on Channels Television’s “The 2023 Verdict” programme on Friday.

“Our prayer is that this time they will be up and doing the right thing. Now the little hope we have today is what they have done in Ekiti, Osun, and even in Anambra state, and that is giving us a little bit of hope,” Kwankwaso said.

Read also: PDP will win all Northern States — Bwala

He believes that the BVAS revolution should clean up most of the concerns about double registration, multiple voting, and child voting manipulation seen in previous elections. “The fact that the president signed the electoral law, now that we have BVAS, and that will help, and we are keeping our eyes open, and we hope that INEC does so so that other stakeholders, such as security agencies, can do their jobs,” he said.

He made reference to ugly scenes in the past where security agencies connived with the government to deny the people their choices. “We have seen a situation, especially in Kano, where we have the worse side of the police force and other security agencies go and connive with the government shamelessly and crudely and declare the losers winners and vice versa.”

Meanwhile, with statistics revealing that more than 60 percent of voters in this election are youths, the former governor of Kano State believes that the majority of the youth are queuing behind him.

He said, “The young men and women have always been our strengths, to the extent that we have more and more young men who are registering and who are very comfortable. We have a very good policy in education—free education from primary school to even the tertiary level.

“We sent over 3,000 young men and women in four years; we established two universities in Kano; we sent our children to private universities in this country by the thousands.

“We sent them to federal universities, and at the time I was leaving Kano, there was nobody we knew who had the qualifications to go to a tertiary institution that he could not get. You see, we have been friendly to the young men and women.”

On the expected outcome of the election, Kwankwaso refused to accept the outcome of the polls conducted. He felt that the polls giving Peter Obi the lead in the election were heavily influenced by Twitter voters, a situation he believes won’t have much impact on the day of the election.

According to him, “as far as we are concerned in the NNPP, we have locked up northern Nigeria. In fact, even today, when I got a call from Channels TV, I was there when the youth wing of the Christain Association of Nigeria (CAN) in northern Nigeria came together and endorsed Kwankwanso.”

“I can tell you many people would be shocked,” he said of the outcome of the actual election.

Kwankwaso also used the opportunity to air his thoughts on the naira swap policy, especially as the Council of State advised the federal government to either print more of the new naira or allow the old and new naira notes to coexist.

“On the issue of printing more money or allowing the two notes to run concurrently, you see, I think the whole thing was a mistake. The swapping of the naira was a mistake, especially the timing—everything has its time,” he said.

He made reference to the planting season, especially in the north, where every crop had its time. “So we did not support the currency policy and redesign at this critical time because this is a time when we need peace and prosperity so that people can be happy and vote for the people of their choice.”

He also made reference to the scarcity of fuel in the country, saying that the cash swap policy was worsening the situation. “When you want to do this policy, you have to do a lot of groundwork. We started e-payment in Kano, and when we wanted to start it, we went right and looked at the issue of banking facilities in towns, villages, and cities in Kano State and realised that we could not start unless we had additional banks,” he said.

He added that, in trying to remedy that situation, his administration registered 36 microfinance banks in Kano just to prepare for e-payment in Kano State. He advised the government to do something similar because “the idea is not to punish the people, the idea is to ensure that the right thing is done,” he said.

He admitted that his party supports the cashless policy but had a problem with its implementation because “this policy is only punishing the people.”

He added that if he wins the election, he will abandon this policy and allow the old and new currencies to coexist, as recommended by the Council of States.