The New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) has spoken in defence of its presidential candidate, Sen. Rabiu Kwakwanso after allegations that the former Kano State Governor is an ethnic bigot.
The National Chairman of the NNPP, Prof. Rufai Ahmed Alkali in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja said the words of Kwankwaso about Igbos and their political roles in Nigeria were taken out of context.
He stated that Kwankwaso and the entire NNPP have nothing but respect for the entire people of the southeast and all Nigerians, adding that the party’s presidential candidate will never speak less of any ethnic group or religion.
Kwankwaso had been in the eye of the storm and labelled an ethnic/religious bigot following his statement in Gombe State over the weekend while inaugurating the Gombe State Executive of the party in which he was quoted to have said the Igbos were good business people but poor politicians.
However, Alkali in his defence on Tuesday following the backlash generated by the statement said Kwanwaso’s words were taken out of context.
he went ahead to list some of the great political achievements of the southeast and the Igbos in Nigeria’s political space.
According to him, “Our Presidential candidate will not in any way malign any zone or any individual because we believe that NNPP desire the votes of all the zones and all electorate to govern Nigeria.
“We want to state that NNPP will canvass votes from all geo-political zones to win the 2023 Presidential election and would not in any way consider any zone less as we have supporters and candidates all over the country.”
He added that “According to the report, Kwankwaso, while inaugurating the Gombe State Executive of the party last week, was quoted to have said that the South-East (Igbo People) are good in business, but at the bottom of politics in Nigeria.”
Alkali continued, saying: “However, as a party that is desirous to change the situation of the country, we believe that no Nigerian of any geopolitical zone, tribe, ethnic nationality or religious persuasion is least on the rung of the ladder in the whole effort to bring the desired change in the country.
“The NNPP wishes to categorically state that the statement of its Presidential Candidate. Sen. Kwankwaso at the occasion was situated out of context.
“The NNPP Presidential candidate has always emphasised that the Igbo were frontrunners in the fight for the nation’s struggle for independence.
“Also, they had produced the first President of the country in the person of the late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first President of the Senate, Dr Nwafor Orizu, former Vice President, late Dr Alex Ekwueme, four former Presidents of the Senate from 1999 to date and other top political office holders.”
The NNPP Charman said the party’s target is to work with other like minds to bring the desired change to Nigeria.
“It is pertinent to state that the discussions with any political party or individual is an ongoing thing that would bring the desired change of a new Nigeria,” Alkali said.