A former governor of Kano State and leader of the Kwankwasiyya Movement, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, is in a tight corner as the 2023 politicking gathers momentum.
Impeccable sources around Kwankwaso, who represented the Kano Central Senatorial District in the last assembly, said the two-time presidential aspirant would soon make his new political direction known.
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Daily Trust reports that the chances of Kwankwaso – who came second in the 2014 presidential primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) won by President Muhammadu Buhari – to pick the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for 2023 have become slimmer.
However, aware of the intrigues and horse-trading in the leading opposition party, Kwankwaso is said to be weighing three options. He joined PDP at the build up to the 2019 general elections.
In Kano, which is the base of the Kwankwasiyya Movement, the talks among the political class are that the relative silence of Kwankwaso is a signal that salient moves are being made towards either decamping from the PDP or floating a new movement or what some analysts have called a third force.
Mulling a political movement
A senior member of the former governor’s camp told Daily Trust that Kwankwaso is weighing three options. He said the first option before the Kwankwasiyya leader is to form a movement.
“I know by the end of this month or in early March, he and a team of some prominent politicians he has mobilised are coming up with a movement, not a political party,” he said.
He said though some Kwankwaso’s associates, including Buba Galadima and Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi, want the movement to be transformed into a political party, Kwankwaso was not in support of that.
“He is of the view that a new political party won’t fly and might be impossible to register before 2023. So, it’s based on this that he wants the movement to be used as a platform to negotiate with an existing political party,” he said.
Osinbajo’s camp reaches out to ex-Kano gov
It was also gathered that the camp of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has reached out to Kwankwaso. Osinbajo has not formally declared his ambition to contest for the presidency but sources around him said efforts are on in that regard.
A reliable source said Kwankwaso has been contacted by Osinbajo’s camp as well as the chairman of the national caretaker committee of the APC, Mai Mala Buni, to return to the APC.
“Serious talks are ongoing between oga and them. They want him to return to APC but the option is being weighed. It has not been sealed,” the source said.
Asked if his boss will accept to pair with Osinbajo as running mate in 2023, he said Kwankwaso was open to all options, adding that “No decision has been taken. What I can tell you is that discussions are ongoing.”
Efforts to get the Special Adviser on Political Matters to the President, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, who had last month welcomed Kwankwaso to APC yielded no results as he did not pick calls placed to him by one of our reporters.
Ojudu is one of the Tinubu loyalists promoting the aspiration of the vice president.
Slug it out in PDP
The last option, according to another source is for Kwankwaso to remain in PDP. The source said the leaders of the party in the North West geopolitical zone have ceded the North West zonal vice chairman to the Kwankwasiyya movement.
One of the reasons he is mulling leaving PDP is the issues surrounding the zonal vice chairman leadership of the party.
“The situation has changed. All the North West leaders have accepted our candidate. You know the Aminu Wali camp has no strength to challenge our camp, they only feel they can with the support of outsiders.
“So, now all of them have accepted the candidate because they realised that if we leave the party because of that blunder, they will be the biggest losers. So it’s the North West seat you want, we will give you. That is what is on the ground now.
“But honestly, he is in consultations. All those visits to his house in the name of condolence are not true, they are political,” he added.
But a party source told Daily Trust that the issue has not been resolved. He said at a meeting held on Wednesday, the party leaders resolved that election be conducted to pick the North West zonal vice chairman.
“The issue of consensus has been jettisoned. The two camps in Kano will now test their popularity during the zonal election slated for Kaduna,” he said.
Our focus now on N/West congress – Kano PDP Chair
But when contacted, Shehu Sagagi, the chairman of the PDP camp loyal to Kwankwaso in the state, said he was not aware of such moves, adding that their only focus is on the North West zonal conference coming up in eight days’ time in Kaduna.
Several sources spoken to said since the movement’s leadership was keeping sealed lips on the moves, only Comrade Aminu Abdussalam Gwarzo, the spokesman of the movement and one of the closest allies of Kwankwaso, could authoritatively comment on the matter.
Efforts to get him to comment were, however, abortive as he did not answer several calls to his phone. Similarly, Kwankwaso’s Principal Private Secretary, Muhammad Mudathir Inuwa Ali, who was also identified as another official spokesman, did not answer his calls.
By Ismail Mudashir (Abuja), Clement A. Oloyede & Zahraddeen Yakubu Shuaibu (Kano)