As delegates are gathered in Port Harcourt for the PDP presidential convention, political pundits are keenly watching whether the main opposition party will miss her most potent, streetwise aspirant, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.
Of all the 12 contenders, hard nose watchers are not in doubt that the only aspirant with street credibility of Muhammadu Buhari is Kwankwaso.Among the core northern voters, the thought of exchanging Buhari for another President only excites them when you mention the name of the former Kano state governor.
That explains why among the lowest ladder of Hausa Fulani community in Nigeria, Kwankwaso’s popularity is almost neck-to-neck with Buhari. Only an aspirant with cult like following across key northern states can defeat or rattle the incumbent president. In this case, the former Minister of Defence fits the bill so perfectly. Just review any mass event in northern states, the only person that raise emotional affinity with such fervent passion among the voters is Dr Kwankwaso.
PDP cannot make any headway if it cannot substantially share northern votes with Buhari. Neither Tambuwal nor Atiku Abubakar posses such strengths. Tambuwal is already having problem holding Sokoto state together for APC. His reach is limited. Atiku Abubakar is not a popular figure within the core northwest. Kwankwaso’s network is so wide that he represents the Arewa political caucus in many respects.
Is PDP really interested in the presidency? That is the real question. If the goal is to share dollars again and just appear on the ballot, then the delegates may forget Kwankwaso. If the goal is to serve as agent of APC while pretending to be working for PDP, then the delegates will ignore the former Kano state governor.
If however the PDP truly intend to win, the man for the job is Kwankwaso, a PhD holder in water engineering, a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, a two term governor of Kano state, a former Minister of Defence.
PDP leaders should also note this. If you play ego politics and you miss Kwankwaso, Buhari will conveniently win again.
Do you know the implication of a Buhari’s win? Most PDP leaders gathered in Port Harcourt will most certainly end up in jail before the end of 2019. That is not blackmail.
If you like, play unreasonable politics and miss Kwankwaso.
Just be prepared for the harsh backlash after Buhari’s second win.
*Audu Bako writes from Abuja