By Johnbosco Agbakwuru & Joseph Erunke
ABUJA – KANO State Governor and Presidential aspirants on the platform of All Progressives Congress, APC, Dr. Rabiou Musa Kwankwaso has declared that what the opposition party needed was to team together as according to him, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has defeated itself through its divisive tendencies.
Governor Kwankwaso who stated this when he visited the leadership and the APC caucus in the National Assembly to inform them of his aspiration to contest for the presidential election yesterday has also canvassed for a consensus presidential candidate.
But he also noted that as the PDP was conducting primary elections and embarking on consensus arrangements in the past, the opposition parties were only hand picking their candidates who eventually were not capable to win elections.
Meantime, the Senate President, Senator David Mark has told the APC presidential aspirants to look elsewhere for support as he (Mark) was not ready to give his support to any opposition candidate.
He said that Nigerians were tired with the status quo in the country and a government that was introducing division along ethnic and religious lines in the polity.
Expressing the confidence that the APC would capture the presidential seat in the 2015 general elections, Kwankwaso said, “I hope all of us here and even those who are not here will team up together with us to defeat the PDP, PDP has already defeated itself on the other hand, all what we need is to ensure that it doesn’t rise.
“Any leader either President, governor or local government chairman who decided to divide his people, to me that leader is a very weak leader. You should convince your people by way of programme and projects, you don’t divide the people on religious lines, north or south, ethnicity and so on.
“I am very happy that APC was being formed and therefore let me thank all those who have worked so hard, the governors, members of the national assembly, elders, all those who thought that we need a mega party, now that we have a mega party I am sure the other party is shivering.
“We have done so much since the formations, ranging from the registration to the formation of the leadership at all levels to the various elections that we had across the country.
I am happy that I left PDP; I am so comfortable, I am so happy that I have a party, a strong party that is strong enough to defeat the other party.
“Let me also say that as an aspirant that I come here to brief you, tell you that God’s willing, very soon we will fix a date for declaration and I also want to take the opportunity to invite you to where we are going to have that declaration to support me and through me support the party.”
Handpicking of candidates
He said, “People are worried and very much concerned about the issue of primary elections.
Let me tell you that our constitution has provided for consensus, it has also provided for elections. And for those of us who came from PDP, we know the advantages and disadvantages of primary elections but if you look at it critically from 1999 to 2011, every election year, PDP was having primary elections even when we had sitting President in 2003 and 2011, we had primary elections.
“But all other parties were not doing primary elections in the actual sense of it. They sit down and look at faces and say you, do a gaze work, yes, maybe he is number one here but when you go to the field, he may not be number one and that is why I am personally calling for a consensus, but if it doesn’t happen, I believe primary election is also good for the party.
“We have seen that since we have quite a number of aspirants, all of us are working, everybody is working very hard especially those of us from PDP, we have a huge advantage especially my humble self. I am happy to say also that we left so many brothers and sisters on the other side, what they are saying is just get the ticket, we are here, we are hooked.
“Some are not like us if it is too hot, we will tell them our minds and I am happy to say that there are so many people in this country who are sick and tired of status quo. Status quo is not good for this country; status quo is only good for very few people in this country.
“Therefore, we have to join hands; we have to work together to ensure the much needed change that everybody is talking about in this country. I believe that there is a lot of poverty in this part of the country, the north, but I can also say that there is a lot of poverty also in the southern part of the country.
“We have insecurity here in the north, definitely there is a lot of insecurity also in the south.
All what we need is a strong leadership, leadership that will say yes and stand by that yes, leadership that will not give priority on the issue of your religion or the issue of your ethnicity or whether you are a northerner or a southerner, we need leadership that will judge somebody by the content of his character , somebody who can ensure that everybody is given what he deserves to get.”
I can’t support you–Mark
Meanwhile, the senate President, Senator David Mark, told the APC presidential aspirantwho visited him to canvass for his support that he cannot support his presidential ambition on the platform of the APC, saying, “it is completely impossible for me to support you. Good as your wishes may be, I can’t grant them.”
Mark told him, “The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is the correct platform to contest election and I have always advised the Senators so. If you don’t make it in your new party, feel free to come back to us because you have always belonged on this side.”
He however advised politicians to “play politics without bitterness because God gives power to whom he wants and at any time He wishes.”