Mr. Shekarau said he was opposed to the strong clamour for a northern president
A former Kano State Governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, said on Thursday that he would campaign for Goodluck Jonathan to be re-elected Nigeria’s president if the president is picked as the candidate of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party.
The ex-governor stated this at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, after meeting with Vice President Namadi Sambo.
When asked if he was ready to campaign for President Goodluck Jonathan in Kano in 2015, Mr. Shekarau said “I am prepared to campaign for the PDP. And whoever turns out to be the candidate of PDP at any level is my candidate.”
There has been clamour from several leading northern politicians that the presidency be zoned to the north in 2015. Some state governors, including those of Niger and Adamawa, had also alleged that they only supported Mr. Jonathan in the 2011 presidential elections after the president signed an agreement to contest only one term in office, ostensibly to leave the way for a Northern president in 2015. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has also accused Mr. Jonathan of reneging in his promise to contest for only one term; a promise or agreement the president has denied ever entering into.
PDP still strong in Kano
Mr. Shekarau also stated that the PDP would remain strong in Kano despite the defection of the incumbent governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, to the All Progressives Congress.
The ex-governor, a founding member of the APC, recently decamped to the PDP, after accusing the former’s leadership of handing over its Kano structure to Mr. Kwankwaso.
The ex-governor said contrary to insinuations, the PDP was ‘on ground’ in Kano.
“His (Kwakwanso’s) defection cannot kill PDP. Those current with situation on ground knew that the governor of Kano had long before now been out of PDP. What he is running is Kwankwasiya, a cultism kind of a group,” he said. “PDP has always been there, so what we are doing is we are now joining PDP and his group has gone into APC. We shall see whether we are the ones on ground or the Kwankwasiya APC.”
He said he and his supporters abandoned the APC when they realised that the parties to the merger did not mean well.
“We checked out from the APC when we discovered that some of the principal actors in the merger did not mean well,” he said.
Mr. Shekarau said his meeting with Mr. Sambo was to discuss the PDP.
“It was not a special meeting. It was a continuation of rubbing of mind. I am now part and parcel of the PDP family, I will always be meeting with one party functionary or the other to continue to rob minds on how we will move the party and the nation forward,” he said.
Mr. Shekarau also said both the PDP and the APC want to move Nigeria forward, although through different routes.
“I have always argued that these parties are one and the same. It is all about Nigeria and Nigerians,” he said. It is all about what we do to move the nation forward. Everybody is talking about serving Nigerians. We are all heading to the same destination; the only difference is that we are taking different routes.”
“As far as I am concerned, I am just continuing to make myself available to serve humanity regardless of the platform,” he said.
States opposition to rotational presidency
The former governor also said he was opposed to the repeated clamour by Northern politicians, or by politicians of any other region in Nigeria, that the presidency be zoned to their region.
Mr. Shekarau also said he was opposed to any constitutional rotational presidency.
While speaking on the arguments for and against a northern president in the 2015 elections, Mr. Shekarau said he has never subscribed to the argument of localizing the presidency to a particular region.
“I have never subscribed to the argument of localizing the Presidency to a particular region,” he said. “If you had followed my arguments and my presentations or debates in the presidential election, I said so. My concern is what do we do to get the right leadership regardless of where it is coming from.”
Mr. Shekarau, the presidential candidate of the defunct All Nigeria’s Peoples Party, ANPP, in 2011, said rotational presidency was not the solution to Nigeria’s problems.
“This issue of rotational presidency is not the issue. What we should be talking about is balancing so that we carry people along. Today, if I am a presidential candidate from Kano and I tell you that my running mate is from Katsina, won’t you think I am crazy? Do I have to have that written in any document or constitution for me to know that if I am a presidential candidate from Kano, my running mate has to come from the other side?
“There is the law and constitution of common sense. So this argument that it has to be my turn and it has to be my village man is all rubbish. It is the problem of lack of confidence among ourselves (as) Nigerians,” he said.