Rabiu Kwankwaso, New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) presidential candidate has criticised Olusegun Obasanjo and Edwin Clark for endorsing Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party, noting that they are making a big mistake.
Kwankwaso spoke on Wednesday when he visited Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo state, at the government house in Benin.
On January 1, Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria, endorsed Peter Obi, while Edwin Clark, Ijaw national leader and convener of PANDEF, followed suit on Tuesday.
Commenting on the development, Kwankwaso said the endorsements were based on religious and ethnic sentiments.
“Some of the people… we have seen it on the news that they are supporting Mr A or Mr B, I think it is a big mistake. These are leaders I respect. There is a time in your life when you become real statesman, not a politician,” Kwankwaso said
“I can tell you also that any candidate or party that comes out with the face of ethnicity or the issue of religion, that party, that candidate, I can assure, at the national level, has failed that election before it starts.
“Nobody owns the voters. Voters do not have any forum to meet. Once people take a decision on a particular candidate nothing will change whether somebody endorses from the north, south or outside the country, it doesn’t matter.
“And I want to advise our leaders: they should stop disgracing themselves. We have so much respect for them.
“If I become that old and at that level, I won’t come and play party politics, especially the one that has to do with religion. This endorsement has to do with ethnicity, religion and I think some people should grow beyond that.”
The former governor said candidates that have proved themselves worthy over the years should have nothing to fear.
“If we have to advise people, especially those of us who have been in the game for some time, just prove yourself over the years, remove any fears,” he said.
“There are people who are afraid of some candidates and people are wondering if they are coming with the face of a united Nigeria or seceding their own portion of Nigeria.
“There are lots of confusion and certainly, those guys, under confusion, will lose the election.”
Responding to speculations that he’s joining another political party, Kwankwaso replied: “It is absolute nonsense. It won’t happen.
“We believe in the NNPP; that in the next few weeks, many things will happen in this country.
“There are many people living in the air, they live there while we are here. They don’t know the level of poverty, anger in the country.
“Some of the candidates are even going around to say ‘we’ll continue the good work of this government’. Where is the good work?
“What Nigerians are saying is: who can save this country?”