…as ex-Kano Gov projected to pick PDP’s presidential ticket
With few months to the commencement of activities leading to the forthcoming 2023 presidential election, there appears to be some form of unease within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) over the rumoured presidential bid of the immediate past Governor of Kano State, Engineer Rabiu Musa Kwakwanso.
Sources within the ruling party told our correspondent that the former minister remains the major concern amongst its major stakeholders in the APC’s bid to retain power come 2023.
A two-term governor of the Kano State and a former federal lawmaker, Kwankwaso had in the past contested the presidency twice on the platform of both the APC and the major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015 and 2019 respectively.
Although the former federal minister has not yet signified his intention to contest, stakeholders in the APC has been having sleepless nights regarding the likelihood of Kwankwaso picking the PDP’s ticket, which they see as portending grave dangers for the APC.
The apprehension of the APC leaders might not be unconnected to the fact of the rising profile of Kwankwaso being a cult-like figure like the incumbent Muhammadu Buhari in the North, a development that portends grave dangers should the PDP zones the ticket to the North.
“The followership of Kwankwaso in the North can only be compared to that enjoyed by General Muhammadu Buhari in the North before the 2015 general elections,” a source said, adding that no political party worth its salt would toy with the possibility of having the former governor within its fold in the build-up to the forthcoming election.
The fear of the APC leader is further made worse by the agitation from southern members that the ticket be zoned to their area in the interest of a purported agreement reached at the formation of the party 2014 that power must oscillate between the two regions.
“As we speak today, there is general apprehension within our party no thanks to the rumoured presidential aspiration of Rabiu Kwankwaso. The situation is throwing our party off balance because of the agitation that the presidential ticket be zoned to the South.” A source within the party told our correspondent recently.
Another issue, which sources stated have been agitating the APC leadership for some time is the Spartan lifestyle of the former governor in and out of power which has remained untainted for many years.
Variously, Kwankwaso remains one of the few former governors or public officials who have not had any serious brush with the various anti-corruption agencies over his stay in office hence it would be difficult to hold him down with allegations of financial sleaze in the buildup to the polls.
To curtail his rising profile of the former Minister of Defence, Sen Kwakwanso has become the toast of the leadership of the APC who have been wooing him to their party ahead of the forthcoming poll.
Some members of the APC are said to have reached out to the former minister with a view to return him back to the APC which he was a founding member with a view to bring him on board as the third force in the already divided party.
“We know the importance of Kwankwaso in the nation’s political circle. We know how potent his Kwankwassiya Movement is not only in the North but across the country. We are making concerted efforts to bring him back on board to see how we can make him the flag bearer of the party in 2023,” a source within the party said.
Another staunch member of the ruling party, APC who doesn’t want his name made public revealed that if PDP field any candidate outside Kwankwaso, APC would win easily without stress.
“PDP is desirous of staging a comeback to power and the only viable politician who can make that happen is Kwankwaso. He has that grassroots appeal that no party can deny or toy with. We know this in the PDP and we won’t joke with it.” A member of the National Working Committee of the party stated recently.
Sources within the PDP stated that though the party has not stated expressly where the Presidential slot would be zoned to but the calculations are that wherever it would be, Kwankwaso would feature prominently in the arrangement either as the major or junior partner in the ticket.
Kwankwaso recently won in a poll that was recently conducted by some members of PDP, who sampled members on their preferred candidate to pick the party’s presidential ticket in 2023.
The poll showed that Kwankwaso is projected to beat other hopefuls for the much-coveted ticket.