I’m sure of victory, won’t step down for Atiku, Tinubu – Kwankwaso
In this exclusive interview with ABIODUN SANUSI, presidential candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party and national leader of the Kwankwasiya movement, Rabiu Kwankwaso, said he would not forego his presidential ambition for anyone, including the presidential candidates of the major opposition Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, and that of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu.
How do you intend to defeat the APC and the PDP, considering their nationwide spread?
The Kwankwasiya movement is very popular, and we’ll even win in the North-Eastern region. I’m happy that the Electoral Bill was signed into law, and that would make it difficult for anyone to rig us as they’ve always done in the past.
Once there’s a free and fair election, it’ll be difficult for anyone to defeat us. Hence, I am certain of victory against Presidential candidates of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, and Atiku Abubakar of the major opposition, Peoples Democratic Party, at the polls in 2023.
Are you ready to sacrifice your presidential ambition for Atiku Abubakar to facilitate the defeat of the APC in the general elections?
I won’t be stepping down for anyone, our party is popular across the country, and we’re sure of victory at the polls.
Our candidacy is based on capacity and performance. Nigerians will not vote for any experiment now, people are looking for those that have done it better in the past, and people who are trusted. Nigerians want someone that can unite Nigeria, improve the education system, and end the issue of incessant insecurity. We’ve always cared for the people. And many, especially the poor masses, were happy that I got the presidential ticket of the NNPP.
Do you not see Bola Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar as threats to your ambition?
It is not me that would defeat Tinubu and Atiku, rather, it is the masses of this country that believes in us. Although I and the party will only be a symbol on the ballot paper, it is the people that will go to the polling booths to vote them out because the difference between me and the two other major candidates is very clear. They are well-known to Nigerians, and they have nothing new to tell Nigerians. And I am also well-known, and the people know what I stand for.
How do you intend to penetrate the South-West and the South-East?
Our party has grown very fast. Months ago no one knew about the party, but in the last four months, the party has been popular across the country. The NNPP is now a household name, we have leadership and followership across the nation. Our ideology is different.
We also have so many supporters who are indigenous to the Southern region of the country. And, of course, the Arewa community in the Southern region would have no other choice but to vote for us because I’ve always represented their interests.
How and where do you and your party intend to get a running mate?
We’re currently making consultations, and a committee will be instituted to help get the best Nigerian who will be a Christian from the Southern part of the country as the Vice-Presidential candidate of our party.
The Kwankwasiya national movement is already in the Southern part of the country. And we’d get someone that is widely accepted in the Southern part of the country as my running-mate, and I’m sure they would come with their own benefits to be added to the NNPP for the success of the party. And when we come together no candidate of the APC or the PDP would be able to defeat us.
What do you think about the chances of your party, NNPP at the polls?
The New Nigeria People’s Party was registered about 21 years ago, and before we joined the party about four months ago many people knew very little or nothing about it. However, since our group, the Kwankwasiya movement and the national movement joined the NNPP, the party has become a household name. We’re everywhere. We have complete leadership and followership in every local government, state, and national political spectrum. People have continued to join our party, especially since we had our congress.
The congress and primary elections that we had to elect our State Assembly, National Assembly, Gubernatorial candidates, and even the national convention wherein I was affirmed as the candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party, have made it clear that we have three major candidates in the forthcoming general elections. One from the APC, another from the PDP, and my humble self, and we at the NNPP are sure of victory at the polls.
Do you think you have what it takes to win the forthcoming Presidential elections?
Definitely, I have all that is required to become the President of this great country. I was a governor under the PDP between 1999 and 2003, and I was Minister of Defence from 2003 till the end of 2006 when I resigned to contest the gubernatorial elections again in Kano, and I won for a second term before I went to the Senate.
Between all these times, I was in the NDDC as the representative of the North-West. I can also say this anywhere, that I am one of the founding fathers of the Peoples Democratic Party in 1998.
During the 1995 Constitutional Conference, I was also elected as one of the delegates from Kano. In 1992 I was elected as a member of the House of Representatives representing Madobi Federal Constituency and subsequently won election as deputy speaker in the House. The masses of this country believe in my capacity, and they know my antecedent.