By Abdulahi Dankano
This piece is an intervention to call the rank and file of Peoples Democratic Party to a bitter reality they may not realise. The facts in the piece are sincere appraisal that can be useful if PDP is truly interested in winning the Presidency. Dr Iyorchia Ayu as a tested political scientist may understand the import better if truly he wants to lead his party to victory.
As it is today, the PDP aspirants lack the conglomeration of qualities that can guarantee the party a win. In fact, the aspirants of the ruling party are more weighty and better placed than those currently on PDP platform. The Yemi Osinbajo and Bola Tinubu platforms are rocking the nation to its bottom. Unless Wadata leadership is not serious, those currently in the race for PDP lacks the wherewithal to withstand the push of the ruling party to retain the presidency.
For PDP to win in 2023, the candidate must possess element of a Buhari personality. The president has cult followership across the north, men and women who are fanatically loyal. Only a candidate with street credibility can raise the chances of PDP. Such candidate will chip away the grassroots hold of Buhari from the APC and hand it over to the PDP. Across northern states today, the only politician with a Buhari- like followership is Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso. His Kwankwasiya movement is formidable. In fact, Buhari core loyalists are likely to switch easily to Kwankwaso because he shares some elements of Buharism which is populism, speaking and acting the language of average Hausa/Fulani person.
The above is a masterstroke if acted upon because the ruling party will then be at a disadvantage since it will be fielding a South Westerner for the race. The argument that northerners will vote for any northern candidate demands a redefinition. The north will only vote for a northerner whom they believe in, otherwise they will go for a South Westerner presented by the APC. As things stand now, only a candidate with traits of Buhari populism can earn such accolades.
Aside the above, PDP candidate must come from Kano if the party decides to pick a northerner as a candidate. Kano and Lagos are politically critical states. If PDP fails to field a Kano man, Tinubu will clear the state alongside Lagos thereby securing electoral numbers as an advantage. The natural following Dr Kwankwanso had in Kano will create a home base of several millions of votes for the presidential race. Picking a candidate with doubtful home support from the north will amount to a strategic mistake.
Advancing this argument further, PDP cannot afford to filed a candidate with traditional baggage that are normally exploited by the opponent. The north is a conservative society that is determined never to vote certain type of candidate no matter the conditions. In the core north, some candidacies can simply not fly. This is a fact not a false flag. PDP leadership should know this unless they are not interested in the presidency.
Much more importantly, the challenge the nation is facing demands a tough healthy leader to tackle. Nigerian needs a young, highly educated and politically experienced leader who is also nationalistic and who can pull the country together under unity in diversity. The nation needs an all round leader who is tough within democratic order , who has requisite leadership antecedents and who is younger and healthy to carry the heavy burden of national reconstruction.
Dr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso is that leader who has the confidence of top private sector leaders and whose records of state and national service are exemplary. Musa was Deputy speaker of the House of Representatives in the aborted third republic , a two term governor of Kano state, a former Minister of Defence and a former Senator of the republic. With a Ph.D in water engineering, Kwankwaso is one of the few highly qualified Nigerians whose service the nation needs at this very critical stage.
Muse’s edge over other contenders are his wide range of leadership experience, his robust educational qualifications, his relatively young age , his strong political structure , his toughness in the face of national crisis, his home state with millions of voters , his entrenchment within the core north, his nationalistic outlook, his service within defence sector needed in time of security challenges and his talakawa credential manifested in the kwankwasiya grassroots movement.
If PDP is really interested in the Presidency, it must break into the millions of core northern voters who are Buhari supporters and who are looking for a new leader to follow. That leader does not exist within APC fold. Only PDP has a Musa who has street credibility like Buhari. Failure to field Kwankwaso will leave North open to Tinubu/Osinbajo caucuses and deny PDP the gain it is targeting by fielding a northern candidate.
● Dankano writes piece from Abuja and can be reached through @email@example.com