By Abdulmalik Suleiman
There appears to be some form of unease within the two dominant political parties of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the rising popularity of former Kano State Governor, Engineer Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.
Kwakwanso who is a two term governor of Kano State who had in the past contested the presidency twice on the platform of the two opposing political platforms in 2015 and 2019.
Though he has not signified his intention to contest in 2023, gladiators in the two political parties have been on high frenzy over the rising popularity of the leader of Kwankwassiya movement regarding the rumoured bid and what it (the bid) portends for their own aspirations should the former federal lawmaker decide to throw his hat into the ring.
Sources close to the former Minister of Defence stated that Kwankwaso has become the toast of the leadership of the two political parties who have been wooing him to be in their respective platforms ahead of the forthcoming poll.
According to sources, the reason for this might not be unconnected to the grassroots appeal of the former governor, which they (sources) claim to be close to the type enjoyed by incumbent Muhammadu Buhari pre-2015 when he was the toast of the commoners in the North.
“The followership of Kwankwaso in the North can only be compared to that enjoyed by General Muhammadu Buhari in the North before the 2015 general elections,” a source said, adding that no political party worth its salt would toy with the possibility of having the former governor within its fold in the build-up to the forthcoming election.
It’s said that a famous ambassador in Kwankwaso’s home state was contracted to sow the seeds of discord in PDP by floating an illegal factional leadership in the state to create squabbles and instability in the party in order to distract Kwankwaso presidential bids.
Tongues are waging that the state governor and some powerful PDP chieftains were behind the several plots to make PDP comatose in Kano and render Kwankwaso irrelevant. But all the plots has collapsed like a house of cards owing to an appeal court ruling fortnight ago that affirms the wards, LG and state congresses of Kwankwaso’s faction and endorsed by the national body of the PDP.
Findings reveal that the cult-like followership of the former Senator has prompted one of the frontliners in the PDP and former Vice President of the country, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to begin moves to wrest the presidential ticket of the party from Kwakwanso.
Top members of the PDP liken the decision of the former vice president to kick start his presidential bid in 2023 with the launch of his various support groups recently as largely due to the influence of Kwakwanso whom many people in the party see as the viable alternative to the Adamawa born Atiku who had tried about trice to clinch the plum office in the past.
Members of the PDP see Kwakwanso as the viable alternative to Atiku whom many see as having passed his prime with less appeal to the grassroots compared to the Kano born politician.
Though the third popular northern candidate seems to be Sokoto State governor, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal who is said to come a distant third in the ranking, the race for the ticket of the PDP seems to have been narrowed down to Atiku and Kwakwanso.
“PDP is desirous of staging a comeback to power and the only viable politician who can make that happen is Kwakwanso. He has that grassroots appeal that no party can deny or toy with. We know this in the PDP and we won’t joke with it.” A member of the National Working Committee of the party stated recently.
Sources within the PDP stated that though the party has not stated expressly where the Presidential slot would be zoned to but the calculations are that wherever it would be, Kwakwanso would feature prominently in the arrangement either as the major or junior partner in the ticket.
Kwakwanso’s grassroots appeal is also generating serious ripples in the APC as top members of the party are also said to be looking at his direction in the build up to the poll.
Some members of the party are said to have reached out to the former minister with a view to return him back to the APC which he was a founding member with a view to bring him on board as the third force in the already divided party.
“We know the importance of Kwakwanso in the nation’s political circle. We know how potent his Kwakwassiyya Movement is not only in the North but across the country. We are making concerted efforts to bring him back on board to see how we can make him the flag bearer of the party in 2023,” a source within the party said.