A former governor of Kano State and presidential aspirant under the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Rabiu Kwankwaso, has denied reports that Abba Kabiru Yusuf, the gubernatorial candidate of his party in the state is his son-in-law.
Mr Kwankwaso who spoke exclusively to PREMIUM TIMES in an interview said Mr Yusuf is married to a member of his extended family but “however not his daughter”.
He recently endorsed Mr Yusuf as his choice for the 2019 governorship seat, an action that irked some of his followers.
Mr Yusuf, after the primaries that was held at the residence of Mr Kwankwaso in Kano, was declared the winner.
“The commissioner is married to a member of my extended family, not my daughter and he was a commissioner,” Mr Kwankwaso said.
He added that Mr Yusuf was the brain behind the success of his administration, hence the choice of his candidature.
“Anything good in Kano was done under him, you can see flyovers, street lights, underpasses, universities, every school, all of them under him,” he said.
Apart from Mr Kwankwaso, other major PDP presidential aspirants include the former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, Governors Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto and Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe, and ex-governors Sule Lamido and Attahiru Bafarawa.
Mr Kwankwaso’s experience as a former governor of the most populous state in Northern Nigeria is expected to be his major selling point.
He often claims credit for helping Mr Buhari secure 1.9 million votes in the state in 2015. Although the president had always been popular in Kano where he enjoys massive support, he never got that many votes in the state until 2015.
Mr Kwankwaso also helped Umar Ganduje, then his deputy while he was governor, to power in the 2015 elections. Both men have since fallen out with Mr Ganduje vowing to ensure President Buhari wins Kano ‘overwhelmingly’ in 2019.
Mr Kwankwaso, who served as defence minister, 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 Mr Abubakar left the party last November.
Perhaps in recognition of his popularity, President Buhari held a meeting with Mr Kwankwaso a day before senator defected to the PDP, in a last minute attempt to persuade him to remain in the ruling party.
If Mr Kwankwaso secures the PDP ticket, that meeting with the president could turn the last both men would hold as political allies.