Rabiu Kwankwaso, the presidential candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), has dismissed the Labour Party as a party built on regional and ethnic sentiments, saying its initial hype has begun to dwindle ahead of the general elections.
The former governor of Kano State also said that President Muhammadu Buhari holds the key to free, fair and credible general elections.
Kwankwaso, who spoke at Chatham House, London on “Nigeria’s 2023 elections: service delivery and policy alternatives” said although he initially wanted to work with the Labour Party, he discovered that the party was only under a serious media hype.
He was responding to a question on whether he would consider stepping aside and working with the Labour party candidate since their programmes look like.
According to him: “The issue of Labour. You see, that is the problem we have. The gentleman that asked the question, I am sure is from a particular part of Nigeria and belong to a particular group.
“You have a party that is based on ethnicity and religion…, of course that is the difference the Labour Party and our party, which is a national party, the New Nigeria People’s Party.
“While we are accusing leaders of being one thing or the other negative, the followers must learn how to be Nigerians and not coming from one part of the country.
“Let me say that I was one of those that initially wanted to work with Labour Party. Unfortunately, at that time, the Labour Party was under serious media hype and therefore, they could not see reason and is still not seeing reasons.
“Why say that I should withdraw? I wish you did not have to go to that extent. You would have said I should consider working with Labour Party or PDP or APC. People here don’t even know what is happening. I want to say that our party, the NNPP is the only growing party in Nigeria today.
“We have seen the maximum any party especially Labour party can go. To us, it’s like Andrew’s liver salt. It came with a lot of hype and now, it is coming down. Just take note of it. Our party, the NNPP is the only party that is now getting the support. Forget about the big people who are actually the problem of our country.
“We have succeeded in locking down northern Nigeria today in terms of votes and not working in the southern part of the country. The difference is that the north knows us more than the south.
“If you were from the north, you would not have made that statement for Kwankwaso to withdraw for Labour Party. You should go and look at my credentials. I hold a PhD in civil Engineering. Check your candidate and see what he has.
“I have been in the system for over 30 years. I was a civil servant for 17 years. I was Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1992. I was an elected delegate to the constitution conference. I was an elected governor of Kano state for eight years.
“I will tell you what I told them when we sat down. If anybody wants Kwankwaso to withdraw, let us bring criteria. Anytime I have a better candidate, I will be ready to talk to him”.