OCHEREOME

WHEN Rabiu Kwankwaso came on Channels TV last Sunday, curious Nigerians expected him to “show himself”. Oh, how he did! What else did he have to offer beyond sharing red and white caps, strutting like an overdressed cockatoo with bellhops bowing and scraping to him before he boards a car, and propagating Arewa irredentism?

Being an engineer, PhD holder, Minister, Governor and Senator, Kwankwaso packs an enviable pedigree that qualifies him in terms of academics and experience to vie for president. But, it takes more than paper certificates and experience to make a good president. Also, one can come with the wrong kind of experience.

No one who has continuously been in political offices since 1999, growing wealthier by the day and without any track record of private sector experience, can fit into the picture of the leader we need in Aso Villa in 2023. These are treasury looters. Nigeria does not need that sort of “experience” at this time.

We expected Kwankwaso to seize the golden opportunity to tell Nigerians what he had to offer as solutions to the failed situation of the Nigerian state. I expected substance, deep insights, vision, knowledge, wisdom, direction and atoms of patriotism. I expected him to show he is better than President Muhammadu Buhari in ability to unite the country, restore the economy, rebuild our educational system, end insecurity and terrorism and give every section a sense of belonging.

Honestly, I was shocked to see that Kwankwaso is fatuous – empty! He could not raise the narrative from the gutter level of a cart pusher in Kofar Wabe Market in Kano. He was an insult to his PhD certificate. He only showed he is running for president with the wrong “experience”. Such a fellow should never be found near Aso Villa as president. His regional, religious and ethnic adventurism will make Nigeria “miss” even Buhari!

Let us look at the substance of Kwankwaso’s 30 minutes of “fame” on Channels Television last Sunday. He said that “people” are not comfortable with “what is happening” in the South-East and would not vote for someone from there. Let me ask: Which “people”? Why was Kwankwaso too cowardly to say “Northerners”? Since 1999, the South-East has voted for a president from the South-West, Kwankwaso’s North-West and South-South.

Apart from pure hatred as propagated by Kwankwaso, what reason would “people” have not to reciprocate the South-East’s patriotic gestures now that it is their turn? Awon l’okan! The rotation machine gets to the doorstep of the South-East and suddenly screeches to a halt. And intending “president” Kwankwaso is celebrating that!

Second question. What is “happening” in the South-East? Insecurity? Where did Kwankwaso obtain the temerity to talk about insecurity in the South-East with the Boko Harm, ISWAP, Bandits and Fulani herdsmen terrorism rocking the entire country, especially the North? Guess what, all the terrorists are Northern youths rebelling against an oppressive, incompetent and corrupt system where leaders like Kwankwaso manipulate ethnicity and religion to stay in power.

Northern misrule created these monsters. The Northern elite and politicians like Kwankwaso have been in charge of security, Army, Police and others since the rise of Boko Haram jihadism in 2009. Thousands of lives and trillions of naira have gone down, yet Northern politicians cannot even protect their own people. Where is the justification for another Northern president in 2023 after Buhari?

What is “happening” in the South-East, anyway? Biafra agitation, right? Who created the situations that led to Biafra I and II? Was it not the North? Where was Biafra II before Muhammadu Buhari’s emergence as president in 2015? Was the South-East not the most peaceful zone in the country? Is it not Northern leaders like Kwankwaso who are behind the influx of armed militants from the Sahel (Northern Nigeria and beyond) who are occupying forests in the South and Middle Belt, killing people, destroying farms, kidnapping for ransom and now reportedly poised for a “war of conquest” of indigenous people?

So, to Kwankwaso and his cohorts, it is “bad” for some youths in the South-East to defend themselves and their land against Northern invaders? It is okay for Fulani militants to attack and occupy indigenous people’s lands? Just listen to a former Minister of Defence and a budding “president” talking!

Kwankwaso did not go to Channels Television to market himself. There is nothing to market. We already know him, anyway. The only time you see him pussyfooting around is when there is an ethnic conflict between Northerners and others, especially in the South. He does not go there to make peace. He goes to “defend the North”. This Kwankwaso should run for the president of the North. He has no pedigree as a national leader.

Kwankwaso is blindfolded by the perceived massive votes of Kano. But we are yet to see any evidence that the crowds vote for him. We saw mammoth crowds in Kano in 2019, but when the presidential result came in, Buhari and Governor Umar Ganduje polled 1,464,768 (78.9%), while Atiku Abubakar and Kwankwaso only managed 391,593 (21.1%). Kwankwaso’s governorship candidate, Abba Kabir Yusuf, was comprehensively trounced by Ganduje. Kwankwaso only enjoys “audio” popularity. Where else in the North have his Kwankwasiyya supporters won anything?

Kwankwaso only came to Channels Television in panic mode and failed in his attempt to de-market Labour Party’s candidate, Peter Obi, after their merger talks collapsed on the former’s over-bloated ego. Every party or candidate is trying to diminish Obi’s wildfire rising profile. They are all looking for mud to sling, but Obi remains firmly above board and above all.

The collapse of the LP/NNPP talks was a great blessing to Obi. Kwankwaso would have disappeared on him to greener pasture at the last moment, the same way he disappeared on Atiku in 2019.

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