PRESIDENTIAL candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Rabiu Kwankwaso, has dismissed any chances of becoming running mate to Labour Party (LP) flagbearer, Peter Obi.
The former Kano State governor ruled out the possibility of dropping his quest to become Nigeria’s President while addressing journalists during the inauguration of the party’s office in Gombe State on Saturday.
Rather, he asked the people of the South-East to support his presidential bid so that the region would have the “golden opportunity” to provide the next President after him.
He noted that accepting to be the running mate to any presidential candidate would lead to the collapse of the NNPP.
Kwankwaso said his political profile built over the years and his wealth of experience having served in various capacities in the country had helped in bringing NNPP to limelight within a short time.
Kwankwaso confirmed that his party had been in talks with the Labour Party for a possible merger but the main issue that hindered progress was the issue of who becomes the presidential candidate.
“From the discussion with Labour Party, the main issue was who becomes the president if the parties merge.
“At the end of the day, some of our representatives thought that there should be a criterion in terms of age, qualification, offices held, performance and so on.
“Of course, the other side wouldn’t want that. Most of the people from there believe that the President has to go there (South East).
“If now I decide to be a vice-presidential candidate to anybody in this country, NNPP will collapse because the party is based on what we have built in the last 30 years.
“I served for 17 years as a civil servant, we are talking of 47 years of very serious hard work that is what is holding NNPP now,” he said.
The national leader of the NNPP said he was not against the presidency going to any part of the country, but stressed the decision must be taken on the basis of “strategy, political calculation and equation.”
According to him, the people of the South-East are good in business and are well talented but they should learn politics.
“In politics, they are at the bottom line,” he said.
According to him, the South-East lost the presidential and vice-presidential slots of both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but had a chance with the NNPP.
He said Bola Tinubu was strategic to have supported the APC in 2015 and “today he is the presidential candidate of the APC”.
Kwankwaso said the best option for the South-East was for the zone to partner with the NNPP.
“This is a golden opportunity, if they lose it, it will be a disaster,” he said.