Rabiu Kwankwaso, the presidential candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), says northerners will not vote for Peter Obi, Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate if he is made the standard-bearer of the merger of the two parties.
Kwankwaso said this on Sunday while speaking on a Channels TV programme.
He said if Obi or any south-eastern candidate is made the standard-bearer of any party, northern voters will pick a northern candidate instead.
The NNPP and the LP are currently discussing a possible merger ahead of the 2023 presidential election in a bid to defeat the two major political parties — the APC and the PDP.
“The implication is if you put somebody from the south-east, unfortunately, there are many issues in the south-east. You see, northern voters are the worst hit by this country’s maladministration issue. Even under that circumstance, a northern voter also believes that he is better as a one united Nigeria. Most of the things happening in the south, especially in the south-east, people are not too comfortable with that and as long as we have anyone from there in any party, it will be very difficult for northern voters to vote,” Kwankwaso said.
“And that’s the situation now, and those workers that are working against LP, south-east and so on, what they believe is if you put anybody under this arrangement from that side of the country, the northern voters will not vote; and who will they go to? Their own candidate in the north.”
“What I am telling you is if anybody now from the south-east under this circumstance becomes the presidential candidate of our party or any other party, the implication is that the activities and many other issues underground, northern voters will certainly go for their northern candidate in another party.”
But Kwankwaso said if the ongoing talks on the merger between the two parties yield a good result, he will be willing to have Obi as his running mate.
“As long as he wants the vote from the north, that is the situation, unfortunately, today,” he said.
Earlier, Kwankwaso had described nominating Obi as his running mate as “a golden opportunity”.