The presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, Rabiu Kwankwaso, on Saturday revealed that his party was negotiating a possible alliance with the Labour Party leadership and its candidate, Peter Obi.
In an interview with BBC Hausa, the former Kano State governor premised this on the failure of the governing All Progressives Congress and the main opposition, Peoples Democratic Party, to pick a candidate from Nigeria’s South-East.
According to Kwankwaso, if the merger pulls through, the choice of deputy should be based on seniority.
He, however, noted that such a decision would be left to the leaders of both parties.
Asked about the status of his relationship with Obi, the former lawmaker said “We are discussing with Peter Obi and his working committee over the matter. Our friends and families are also part of these discussions. Some of them have met him and talks are ongoing.
“Merging with the Labour Party is very significant at this critical moment, especially when you consider the fact that both the APC and PDP and APC presidential candidates did not pick their running mates from the South-East.
“Because of this, if we don’t take someone from that region, it confirms that we won’t have any arrangement for the South-East in both the presidency or vice presidency in the 2023 elections.”
On who would be running mate between the two men, Kwankwaso said, “That is what we are deliberating on. But based on how it is all panning out, the older person would take the lead in the arrangement.
“If they (party stakeholders) check and determine who the senior is, then they would elect such a person; then the younger person would be the running mate.”
He noted that his name has since been forwarded to the Independent National Electoral Commission as presidential candidate of the NNPP but wide consultations were ongoing to pick a running mate from either the South or the North.
“In all the discussions we’ve been having with some big names that we believe will be acceptable in the South and here in the North, we have not found anyone for the position yet.
“But we have interviewed several of them. We have not picked someone yet. But we will look for someone who will ensure us victory,” he explained.
Hours earlier, the NNPP, through its Twitter handle, announced that it had convened a special committee for the discussions with LP.
The party expressed optimism that the ongoing talks would “give Nigeria a chance to be alive once again.”
“We wish to inform Nigerians that our discussions with @PeterObi and the #LabourParty are still ongoing. Special committee was set to discuss arrangements.
“We hope for good results that will give Nigeria a chance to be alive once again,” the NNPP tweeted.
Recall that former PDP presidential aspirant, Doyin Okupe, while speaking on the Channels Television programme, Politics Today, on Friday said the Labour Party had submitted his name to INEC as stand-in vice-presidential nominee.
This, he said, was to honour the INEC-stipulated deadline of June 17, and to allow for continued deliberations until August 2022, a month before campaigns officially kick off nationwide.