For competence, equity, Kwankwaso should’ve been Obi’s deputy – Aisha Yesufu

Written by on July 10, 2022


There are conflicting signals over moves to see merger talks between Peter Obi of Labour Party (LP) and  Kwankwaso of New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) blossom into a formidable third force ahead of the 2023 presidential elections.

Tanko said the candidature of Obi had grown beyond his political platform into a mass movement, which Nigerians across ethnoreligious and sectional divides were identifying with.

Galadima  stated that those who are saying it is “insulting” to ask Obi to be Kwankwaso’s running mate “are not politicians, because if they were politicians, they wouldn’t even have dreamt of that.”

He added that while the Peter Obi movement started only two months ago, Kwankwaso’s ‘Kwankwasiyya movement’ has been in existence for 32 years.

“They (LP) are just starting a movement. The Kwankwasiyya movement has been on the ground for 32 years. And the main objective of the movement is to make sure that Senator Kwankwaso becomes the president of Nigeria because he has a lot to offer, and no Nigerian living today has ever performed while in public office like Kwankwaso has done,” he said.

The former chieftain of the defunct All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) further stated that Kwankwaso is a stronger candidate than Obi in Northern Nigeria, and giving the presidential ticket to the latter would benefit Atiku in the North. Eventually, the alliance talk between the two parties came to an end.


Prior to the breakdown in the alliance talks between presidential candidates Peter Obi of the Labour Party and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, human rights activist, Aisha Yesufu, shared with TUNDE AJAJA her thoughts on the alliance

The alliance talks between Peter Obi and Rabiu Kwankwaso failed mainly because they couldn’t agree on who should be the candidate and running mate, in your view, who should have been the candidate TUNDE AJAJA ASKED?

In my opinion, Obi should have been the candidate and Kwankwaso the running mate. This is not about age or who is older. With what is on ground now, Peter Obi is more competent, and we have had eight years of a northerner being a president, so it’s only fair for the presidency to move to the other part of the country to maintain a balance. If they win the election, with the current arrangement, it would go back to the North and Kwankwaso could contest. Also, if you look at it in terms of the reach right now, Peter Obi has a wider reach than Kwankwaso. It’s my opinion and others could have theirs. Given the critical times we are in, it’s not to say he (Kwankwaso) would collapse his structure. We are already telling people to vote for candidates, not the political party. People who already won the party’s ticket for other positions like state and national assemblies and governorship would still fly the party’s flag. If they are competent persons, people would still vote for them. At the end of the day, you would have what you normally have in a parliamentary system where you have like two parties coming together to form a government. That’s what it would have been like. We look forward to seeing what both of them would come up with eventually.

Kwankwaso’s supporters say he was a two-term governor, a former minister and former senator while Obi’s only experience in government was when he served as a governor. What do you make of that argument that Kwankwaso is more experienced?

Let’s look at the example of the United States. Joe Biden had more experience than former President Barrack Obama and he (Biden) stayed longer at the senate than Obama did but that didn’t stop him from being a running mate. Biden was older and had been in politics before Obama. At the time Obama contested, he (Biden) didn’t run but he later did and today he’s the president of the United States. I think at every moment, it should not be about our selfish interest; it should be about what is good for the nation and people should be able to read the mood of their environment. Something is going on; the Nigerian youths are rallying round Peter Obi, so there is a momentum that is being built around him. Kwankwaso doesn’t even have the movement up till now, so what is wrong with being a running mate. It shouldn’t be about the age, or I have done this for this long and such things. It should be about what is the right thing to do. It’s unfair we are even thinking about another northerner, who is also a Muslim when we just currently have someone from there. Where is the equity in that? Ordinarily, we would have loved to say we only need people who are competent but this is where we are now. They (Obi and Kwankwaso) were both in the Peoples Democratic Party and in 2019 I think there was a sort of gentleman’s agreement whereby a lot of candidates from the South stayed away, and now it’s their turn to stay away and people are coming to say something else. It’s just not fair. People must always have a sense of belonging in their country. At this point, I think it’s only fair to say let power go back to the South and in the southern part, there is a Region that has yet to produce a president, and beyond that he’s among the frontline presidential candidates that we have.

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