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JUST IN: Kwankwaso gives Tinubu, Obi, Atiku conditions for endorsement

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

As the 2023 general election draws near, the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) presidential candidate, Rabiu Kwankwaso, has disclosed that he would only step down and endorse any of his counterparts vying to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, if they can engage him in a debate and prove that they have a better idea than what he has proposed for the country.

Kwankwaso noted that if after the engagement, he was convinced that they including the All Progressives Congress (APC) flagbearer, Bola Tinubu, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and Labour Party standard-bearer, Peter Obi, have a better idea than himself, then he would gladly step down and endorse the candidate for the upcoming poll in the country.

He, however, said that none of his opponents may be able to engage him considering that a thorough review of their manifestoes showed that they do have any better ideology to run the country than him.

The Kano State former governor stressed that his years of experience in governance which had spanned over three decades in different capacities including 17 years in civil service, puts him in a better position to lead the country after the Buhari administration.

The NNPP presidential candidate disclosed this on Wednesday while responding to questions after addressing the audience at the Chatham House in the United Kingdom (UK) in a speech titled: ‘Nigeria’s 2023 elections: Service delivery and policy alternatives’.

“On Labour Party, I was initially interested in working with them, but at that time, they were at peak of the media hype and we couldn’t reach a compromise. Our party (NNPP) is a National Party, and we’re commanding the support of the masses. I can’t work with a party whose ideas are based on ethnicity and religion because I’m a Nigerian.

“Go and look at my credentials my brother, I am a Ph.D. holder in Civil Engineering, check what your candidate has. I have been in the system for over 30 years now. I was a civil servant for 17 years, I wasn’t a trader. I was the deputy speaker of the House Representatives in 1992, I was in the constitutional conference elected delegate, the Governor of Kano State for eight years and I was in Senate.

“If you had been from the North, I am sure you won’t have made that statement for Kwankwaso to withdraw for Labour Party.  When we sat down, what I told them is what I will tell you. If they want Kwankwao to withdraw, let’s bring the criteria and select the best. Anytime they have a better candidate, I am ready to talk to them”.

Kwankwaso, meanwhile, said he is aspiring to become the next president of Nigeria because of his depth of knowledge on the issues that have affected the country over the years.

According to him, I understand the issues involved, the mistakes that were made, and the wrong priorities that were set, and together with our team, we are better connected with the hopes and aspirations of Nigerian citizens.

“We understand, agree with, and share grievances. And we have a practical plan to address each and every challenge bedeviling our country”, the NNPP presidential candidate added.

Kwankwaso disclosed that Nigeria’s current challenges were products of over two decades of leadership mistakes and wrong choices made during by the electorates during the poll, urging that they should vote him to avoid further complaints.

“But for me, we are where we are because of the mistakes and the wrong choices made by the very people entrusted with the business of governing Nigeria in the last 24 years.”

Kwankwaso, meanwhile, reeled off a list of challenges that he said the country is facing today, including insecurity, growing poverty, growing, and uncontrolled inflation, growing unemployment and despondency, decaying infrastructure, as well as high rate of maternal and neonatal death.

Others mentioned were collapsing education system, crisis in healthcare services, very weak institutions, growing corruption and graft, unbelievable theft of our crude oil and other mineral resources, and growing mistrust among the constituent communities of our country.

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