The presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Rabiu Kwankwaso, says he is not in talk with his opponent of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, or any other candidate over the 25 February poll.
Mr Kwankwaso was reacting to Mr Atiku’s claim in an interview with BBC Hausa that he was in discussion with the former Kano governor and the candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi, on both stepping down for him.
During the interview, Mr Atiku also said the two, who last year defected from the PDP to pursue their presidential ambitions in their new parties, do not pose a threat to his electoral chances.
But while speaking on Channels TV on Thursday, Mr Kwankwaso expressed disappointment in Atiku over the claims, saying he has not set his eyes on the PDP candidate since both met last year on a television programme.
He described his NNPP as a viable alternative to the ruling APC and main opposition PDP.
He said the two parties will be forced to negotiate with the others should the election go into a run-off.
“Both the PDP and APC have been extremely arrogant. They feel too important, they try to muscle out everybody. If they like you, they like you; if they don’t like you, they kick you out and do all sorts of things.
“Now they will be forced to go for discussion for the first time because before now, what they do is to win election and take everything to their bed room. But not again and that is a great achievements for NNPP, that is our way of bringing democracy and also bringing back these guys who have been rejected by the PDP and the APC.
“Because before now, it is either you are in party A or B but now people have the opportunity to go out there and contest elections on the platform of an alternative party.
“The message now is simple, we are not ready to go into discussion with anybody whatsoever. We can only discuss with any party if there is no clear winner in the election slated for 25th February.
“We have nothing to discuss with any party and we also want Nigerians to know that, because these lies will continue until after the election.”
Earlier in the interview, the NNPP presidential flag-bearer rejected the federal government’s deadline on the new naira notes.
The central bank in October announced the redesign of the N200, N500 and N1000 notes and a three months window for the exchange of the old notes for new ones.
But the new notes have been difficult to come by even in commercial banks, with the scarcity disrupting trade and other transactions across the country.
The apex bank had pointed accusing fingers at the commercial banks, saying millions of the new notes are being hoarded.
Mr Kwankwaso said, “We in the NNPP are not happy with the three months given for the old naira notes to fizzle out of circulation. Those in the comfort of their offices there in Abuja will not understand the true situation of things but those of us who go from village to village, town to town know what it is for the people, it is really a hard time for the people.
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“When I was governor, my government was the first to start e-payment in this country. When we started, we had issues and these issues are the banks themselves as many of our local governments have no single bank and, therefore, before we started the implementation, we had to go to the CBN to register about 37 micro finance banks. And that made it easier for the people to be able to access banking facilities.
“We are also aware that the CBN law says that a window of six months be given whenever a thing like this wants to happen. Our people are suffering and we want the federal government to really do something about it.”
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