By Chukwudi Nweje, Lagos
Presidential Candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) Alhaji Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso has stated that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the major opposition, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) are responsible for Nigeria’s woes and thus do not deserve to be returned to office in 2023 or at any other time.
He blamed the northern political elite for the mass poverty in the northern region. He noted that leaders of the region had been selfish and failed to do what they should do to lift the majority of the people, who he noted could be more than 65 per cent out of poverty.
The former governor of Kano State spoke at the 3rd edition of the Editors Forum in Lagos on Sunday. The Editors Forum interrogates candidates for political office on national issues, their position on the issues and their programme if elected
Kwankwaso said the problems of insecurity, a weak economy, mass unemployment and other vices plaguing Nigerians are the product of 16 years of PDP and eight years of the APC.
He said the NNPP is the only hope to restore Nigeria to greatness and added that, if elected president, his government would be open to discussing the issues of constitution amendment, restructuring, devolution of power and other things Nigerians agitate for.
“The NNPP is the only growing party in Nigeria, and it will continue to grow. The other two parties, the APC and the PDP have nothing new to offer Nigerians. The insecurity, weak economy, mass unemployment and poverty as well as other problems facing Nigeria is caused by 16 years of PDP leadership plus eight years of APC leadership,” he said.
He said he had tried both the PDP and the APC, and noted that there is no marked difference in both parties.
“I am a founding member of the PDP, when we formed the party, it was for the interest of the country but after we won the election, the PDP began to stray.
“In 2013, after the National Convention, I was one of the five governors that walked away from the PDP. We joined in the formation of the alliance that produced APC. But, the APC has failed Nigeria too.
“We are tired of the status quo. The APC and the PDP, the country is not on the right path, it needs a change. The NNPP is the right party to clinch the Federal Government in 2023,” he further said.
On the poverty in the northern region, Kwankwaso blamed the northern elite for the suffering of the people.
He added, “The poverty in the northern parts of the country is a big problem. I believe it is higher than 65 per cent. I believe the northern elite are to blame because some of them did not do what they are supposed to do. I believe that Islam and Christianity are religions that encourage people to do the right thing.”
He also said his administration would be open to discussions on issues of constitution amendment, restructuring, devolution of power and other things Nigerians agitate for until the best arrangement for national unity is achieved.
Kwankwaso said that contrary to speculation that the presidential election will go into a runoff, the NNPP will win the poll decisively at the first ballot.
“People talk about the presidential election going into a runoff but I want to tell you that there will be a clear winner at the election on February 25. NNPP is the party to beat.”
He dismissed rumours that he would step down for the candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar to consolidate votes from the northern parts of the country for the former Vice President.
“It is wishful thinking for anyone to be talking of me stepping down for Atiku at this time. We have crossed that bridge. NNPP is in the 2023 presidential election to win. It is only the NNPP that is growing by the day,” he said.