Former Kano State governor and presidential aspirant, Rabiu Kwankwaso, has said he has the capacity to defeat incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari.
He also said he would ensure there is peace, security and infrastructure if voted in as president in the 2019 general election.
He said this on Friday, during an interview on Channels Television, where he also claimed he has the numbers and followership large enough to win the primaries of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
“PDP is a better PDP now. Talking about who is the best, who has the capacity to defeat the incumbent, who can run the government even after the election, where we have peace, stability, development, good infrastructure, human development and so on – in my opinion, you are just talking about Rabiu Kwankwaso,” he said.
“Politics, as you know, is a game of numbers. I’m so lucky to come from Kano where we have the largest number of people going by the last census in this country and also the most popular zone.
“I am also lucky that in Kano State, we have huge followership, people who are committed because they believe in us and they believe that if we succeed, they will also succeed,” he said.
Mr Kwankwaso, who is currently a senator representing Kano Central Senatorial District, said the Kwankwasiyya movement (his supporters) have never been as popular as it is today in Kano and in Nigeria as a whole.
This, he said, was because of his achievements as a governor – in terms of infrastructure and education.
“A lot has been achieved and that is why it was very easy bringing people together to support the movement. Even when I contested, I wasn’t really supported by the federal government at that time. PDP will win the elections most likely 100 per cent again,” he said.
While stating that he can revive the nation’s economy, the lawmaker blamed the Buhari-led government for driving the country into recession.
“The mistake that this administration did, in my own opinion, was that they wasted five, six months without any government structures, especially in the issues of ministers and other important appointments.
“In other words, people went to sleep for five – six months in this country and that was why in 2016, we had to go into recession because everybody was sleeping, doing nothing.
“And I can tell you, in 2011, when I was elected, we were able to inaugurate our state assembly and get the names of our commissioners, within one week. And within that same week, we had our first executive council meeting. And we were working until the last day,” he said.
It is not the first time Mr Kwankwaso would be making such promises. Upon exiting the All Progressives Party (APC) for PDP, he had in August, declared his intention to run for the office of the president.
In his declaration speech, the former governor listed some critical areas he intends to tackle, if elected.
These include security, economy, social challenges, infrastructure, human capital development and global competitiveness, education, research and innovation.
Other areas he listed are agribusiness, healthcare delivery, international relations, youth and women empowerment, national unity, cohesion and restructuring.
“I intend to offer positive change. Change has again become inevitable. To live is to witness changes because change is an inseparable part of living. Come May 2019, the narrative of helplessness, buck- passing, division, poverty, insecurity, and hopelessness must change to turn to a new dawn of confidence in building a one well restructured Nigeria,” he said.
Apart from Mr Kwankwaso, other major PDP aspirants are ex-vice president Atiku Abubakar, senate president Bukola Saraki, governors Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto and Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe, and ex-governors Sule Lamido and Attahiru Bafarawa.
Mr Kwankwaso often claims credit for helping Mr Buhari secure 1.9 million votes in the state in 2015.
Mr Kwankwaso also helped Umar Ganduje, his then deputy while he was governor, to power in the 2015 elections. Both men have since fallen out, with Mr Ganduje, now governor, vowing to ensure President Buhari wins Kano overwhelmingly in 2019.
Mr Kwankwaso once served as defence minister and was elected Kano governor on the platform of the PDP, but joined then-newly-formed APC in 2013 as part of the renegade ‘newPDP’ bloc.
He is one of the most influential politicians to defect from the APC since Atiku Abubakar left the party last November.
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