Tuesday, February 27, 2024

In 2023, Kwankwaso’s NNPP Could Be A Spoiler For APC And PDP

When Rabiu Kwankwaso, a former governor of Kano, resigned his membership from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in March, many wondered what his plans were. Not long after that, he moved to the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP). Kwankwaso is well known in Nigeria’s politics and he is not a politician to be wished away or ignored. Just like President Muhammadu Buhari, Kwankwaso has what many people have described as a “cult-like” following. His group known as the “Kwankwasiyya Movement” was crucial to the formation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the victory of Buhari in 2015.

After failing to clinch the ruling party’s ticket in the build-up to the 2015 polls, Kwankwaso pledged his support to Buhari and Kano, where he had a stronghold at the time, and gave the APC presidential candidate 1.9 million vote not long after that, he and Abdullahi Ganduje, Kano governor, whom he helped get into office fell out over the control of the apparatus of the APC in the state. Kwankwaso joined the PDP in the build-up to the 2019 elections and remained there until his recent defection to NNPP where he is pursuing a presidential bid.

THE INFLUX INTO NNPP

In recent weeks, the NNPP has become a safe haven to some aggrieved politicians in Kano. In May alone, no fewer than 10 high profile members of the APC and PDP joined the party, including Ibrahim Shekarau, a former Kano governor; Ali Mokada, chief of staff to Ganduje; and nine members of the state house of assembly. Abdulmumin Jibrin, a former member of the house of representatives and director-general of the Bola Tinubu campaign group, defected to the NNPP. According to Jibrin, APC left him in the “wilderness” despite his sacrifices for the party.

“Before I was appointed Executive Director at the Federal Housing Authority, I had lost my seat through a questionable court judgement, especially in the subsequent by-election where the whole world witnessed the interferences that cost me the seat with some leaders of the APC involved,” the former lawmaker said in a statement. Though my new role was an appointment much lower than my previous positions, I accepted it in a good faith, believing it was another avenue to serve my fatherland. I found myself inundated by too many conflicting reforms and policies at the FHA, I began to lose appetite for the job. In the whole of these, the APC left me in the wilderness.”

It is thought that more politicians will join the NNPP before the general elections.

NNPP COULD BE A SPOILER 

Looking at the followership of Kwankwaso and his effect in Kano, it would be right to say that Atiku Abubakar, PDP’s presidential candidate, and whoever the APC will elect as its standard-bearer on June 6 may not have many votes there. For seven years running, Kano has been an APC controlled state. However, the presidential flag bearer of the PDP and APC will have to grapple for the crumbs they may get there. With the state gradually swinging towards the NNPP, the road to Aso Rock will be rough and difficult owing to the fact that it is one of four states with the highest number of votes in the country. Lagos, Katsina and Kaduna equally have high votes.

Orji Kalu, senate chief whip, has cautioned his party not to ignore the NNPP. “The recent high profile defections to the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, especially in the north-west geo-political zone should not be taken for granted by our great party, the All Progressives Congress ( APC),” he had said in a statement. “The silent majority who have a working conscience could protest this injustice by supporting Engr. Rabiu Kwankwaso to clinch the presidential seat in 2023 if our party, the APC, and the opposition PDP field their candidates from any other zone aside south-east or north-east.”

On the other hand, Kwankwaso may not stand a good chance at winning the presidential poll because his supporters are mostly in the north and he doesn’t appear to wield influence in other parts of the country. Kwankwaso’s NNPP will be a spoiler for the PDP and APC in the north during the general elections. Both parties will have to put in hard work to get votes in Kano and some parts of the north.

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