The presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, Rabiu Kwankwaso, has expressed fear that the forthcoming general elections might not be free, fair and credible.
Alluding to past elections in the country, Kwankwaso said the elections would only be credible if the President and other stakeholders at the Presidential Villa steer clear of the elections.
He, however, expressed optimism that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), being a victim, would allow Nigerians to elect their leaders without interference.
Kwankwaso spoke at the Chatham House in London on Wednesday.
He said, “Our fears are from INEC and other stakeholders because we have seen what happened in the past and most of this issue centred on the Villa and the President, not necessarily this President.
“As long as the centre of the leadership in Abuja will allow the people to go and vote, I do not doubt in my mind that we are going to have a free, fair and credible election.
“For me, I have not seen any reason why Buhari will not allow that to happen because that is one of the only or few legacies that he would leave behind. When we were promoting him in 2015, we were in the opposition party, many things happened and he became the President although he had experience from the other side. Then, he had issues with stakeholders during the election. We believe that this election will be different.”
On why the merger between his party and Labour Party did not work out, Kwankwaso said they could not reach a compromise because LP was at the peak of the media hype.
“On Labour Party, I was initially interested in working with them. But at that time, they were at the peak of the media hype and we couldn’t reach a compromise. Our party is a national party, and we are commanding the support of the masses,” he said.
Kwankwaso said among his peers contesting the election, he had not been found culpable of any crime.
He added, “The issue of character and trust is very important. That is our strength. I am not sure if there is anybody who can stand up among the leading candidates and say the same. If you say you will fight corruption or drugs among others, can you give what you don’t have?
“We should not be found wanting and when you are found wanting in countries where they have shame, you do not even come out. Politics is not all about making noise. Yes, you were a governor in a corner of a country, and that is fine but we have been at the centre for many years. There are many questions on some candidates whether they believe in the country or not.”