As Ex-Kano Governor Projected to Pick PDP’s Presidential Ticket, Kwankwaso’s Rumour Bid Unsettles APC
By Abdulmalik Suleiman Suleimanan
With a few months to the start of the activities leading to the forthcoming presidential election in 2023, the ruling of the All Progressive Congress (APC) over the rumored presidential bid of the immediate past Governor of Kano State, Engineer Rabiu Musa Kwakwanso, appears to be some sort of unease.
Our correspondent was told by sources inside the ruling party that the former minister remains the key concern among its major stakeholders in the APC’s bid to retain power in 2023.
In the past, Kwankwaso, a two-term governor of the Kano State and a former federal legislator, had twice contested the presidency on the basis of both the APC and the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in 2015 and 2019.
While his intention to contest has not yet been suggested by the former federal minister, stakeholders in the APC have had sleepless nights about the possibility of Kwankwaso picking the ticket from the PDP, which they see as posting serious dangers to the APC.
The APC leaders’ apprehension may not be unrelated to the fact that Kwankwaso’s increasing profile is a cult like the incumbent Muhammadu Buhari in the North, a development that presents serious dangers if the PDP zones the ticket to the North.
“The support of Kwankwaso in the North can only be compared to that enjoyed before the 2015 general election by General Muhammadu Buhari in the North,” a source said, adding that no political party worth its salt will be able to play with the prospect of getting the former governor in its fold in the build-up to the upcoming election.
In the interest of an alleged agreement reached at the foundation of the party in 2014, the fear of the APC leader is further exacerbated by the agitation from southern members that the ticket must be zoned to their territory, that power must oscillate between the two regions.
There is general apprehension within our party as we talk today, not due to the alleged presidential ambitions of Rabiu Kwankwaso. Because of the unrest that the presidential ticket is zoned to the South, the situation is throwing our party off balance. Our correspondent recently told a source within the party.
Another problem that sources said has irritated the APC leadership for some time is the former governor’s Spartan lifestyle in and out of power that has remained untainted for many years.
Variously, Kwankwaso remains one of the few former governors or public officials who during his tenure in office have not had any significant brush with the various anti-corruption agencies, so it would be difficult to hold him down with charges of financial sleaze in the buildup of the polls compared to his former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, his key challenger for the ticket.
Unlike Atiku, compared to those who are close to eighty years old, Kwankwaso is a relatively young man in the political filament of Nigeria.
Sen Kwakwanso has become the toast of the leadership of the APC to curb his increasing profile of the former Minister of Defense, who wooed him to their party ahead of the forthcoming election.
It is said that some members of the APC have contacted the former minister to return him to the APC, which he was a founding member, in order to get him on board as the third force in the already fractured party.
We know the significance of Kwankwaso within the political circle of the country. We know how strong not only in the North but across the country his Kwankwassiya Movement is. A source inside the party said that we are making concerted efforts to get him back on board to see if we can make him the party’s flag bearer in 2023.
Another staunch ruling party member, APC, who doesn’t want his name made public, revealed that if any candidate outside Kwankwaso were in the PDP sector, APC would easily win without stress.
Findings indicate that the former Kano governor’s cult-like devotion prompted one former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to begin moves to wrest the party’s presidential ticket from feeling the risk of Kwankwaso turning the table against him.
Top PDP members see Kwankwaso as the realistic alternative to Atiku, who, compared to the Kano-born politician, many see as having passed his prime with less appeal to the grassroots.
Although it seems that the third prominent Northern candidate is the Sokoto State Governor, Hon. The race for the PDP ticket seems to have been narrowed down to Atiku and Kwankwaso by Aminu Tambuwal, who is said to be a distant third in the rankings.
The PDP is ready to stage a return to power and Kwankwaso is the only viable politician who can make that happen. He has the appeal from the grassroots that no party can deny or play with. “In the PDP, we know this and we’re not going to joke with it.” A member of the party’s National Working Committee recently said.
Sources within the PDP suggested that while the party did not specifically state where the Presidential slot would be zoned, the calculations are that Kwankwaso would be prominently featured in the arrangement either as the main or junior partner in the ticket wherever it would be.
Kwankwaso recently won in a recent poll conducted by some PDP members who polled members for their preferred candidate to select the presidential ticket of the party in 2023.
The poll showed that for the much coveted ticket, Kwankwaso is projected to defeat the likes of Atiku Abubakar, Tambuwal, former Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido.
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