The governor of Kano State, Rabi’u Kwankwaso, on Tuesday in Abuja, formally declared his intention to seek the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress, APC, for the February 2015 election.
He lampooned the Goodluck Jonathan-led federal administration, which he described as incompetent and divisive, saying the government had led Nigeria on the path of corruption and economic woes.
Mr. Kwankwaso becomes the third aspirant on the platform of the Nigeria’s main opposition to formally declare his presidential bid.
A former vice president, Atku Abubakar, and a former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, had on September 24 and October 15, respectively publicly proclaimed their interest in the presidential contest.
Mr. Kwankwaso, who will round off his second term as governor in May next year, told a crowd of supporters and representatives of the APC leadership at the Old Parade Ground in Abuja that the clarion call by patriotic Nigerians from across the country motivated him to seek the APC nomination as the party’s presidential flag bearer for the February 14, 2015 election.
He said the craving to serve and save Nigeria drove him into politics 24 years ago when he resigned from the Kano State civil service as principal engineer.
Stating that the call to save Nigeria had never been “louder, clearer and more unambiguous than now,” Mr. Kwankwaso said governance had been reduced to mediocrity; incompetence and impunity.
He said, “I am offering myself and soliciting the support of all patriotic Nigerians to join Engr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso on this difficult journey to reclaim our country from the clutches of incompetence and destruction and return it onto the pedestal of Peace and Progress.
“I have no doubt in my mind that this journey is difficult and arduous. I have no illusion about the enormity of the challenges. But to save our country, we must walk the journey, however difficult. And we must confront and defeat all the challenges, however, monstrous they are. Yes, we must.”
The governor said the impunity with which corruption was being perpetrated, promoted, and protected by the present PDP administration “leaves no patriotic Nigerian in doubt that the government is working deliberately and with determination to impoverish Nigerians”.
Mr. Kwankwaso stated that the transparency with which his administration was running the affairs of Kano State and the results that the entire country was seeing, were a testimony to his administration’s doggedness in fighting corruption.
On the economy, the aspirant alleged that the PDP administration had continued to churn out deceptive statistics to give it a clean bill of health.
According to him, “They are all conjectures. The reality on the ground is at sharp contrast with the cooked up statistics. The fiscal policy of the present administration is more than disastrous. Its micro and macroeconomic policies are as vacuous as they are deceptive. Budget performance is more than qualified to be in the Guinness’ Book of World Records of fiscal indiscipline and poor performance.
“How can we attain development when only a tiny percentage of our budget is allocated for Capital Project and even that is not properly implemented? How can we grow when the wealth of the nation is being stolen by the very trustees to the wealth? Where on this planet do we have a nation so endowed and yet again so impoverished?”
He also accused the PDP of neglecting the women, children and the elderly in the country.
Mr. Kwankwaso said the APC had what it took not only to stop the alleged PDP misrule but also to reverse the “stinking rot and decay that is suffocating the country.”
According to him, the opposition party, which he joined from the PDP, in November 2013, was the only one built with Nigeria and Nigerians in focus.
“This is expressed succinctly in the Ten Commitments of the APC and also encapsulated concisely in the mission statement of our party,” he said.
“We are the only party that practices internal democracy that believes in equal rights that value our cultural diversities that respect our religious varieties that abides by the rule of law, and that believe in free and fair election as the only lifeline for sustaining democratic legitimacy.
He said the first priority of the country now was to restore peace and security in every corner of the land.
He noted that as a government, “we cannot afford to live in denial. Insecurity is escalating at an alarming rate. Little wonder rag-tag insurgents are taking over cities and towns in the Northeast.”
“My experiences as Nigeria’s Defence Minister and as Special Adviser on war-torn Darfur and Somalia have shown me that securing a nation and fighting and defeating armed insurgents is only achievable if the forces are professionally mobilized, properly kitted and equipped, highly spirited, and correctly armed with intelligence and munitions.
“My experiences have shown me that technology must be deployed in addition to mobilizing and cultivating the support of local communities. Cross-border intelligence is a veritable ingredient necessary to defeat armed insurgents.
“Relegating the welfare of the Armed Forces and the Nigerian Police Force to the background only helps in compounding the phenomenon. And where low morals meet poor quality equipment and kits, no doubt the insurgents will have an edge.”