Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the president-elect, and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, who flew the flag of New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) in the February 25 presidential election, met for four hours in Paris, France, on Monday, TheCable can report.
At the centre of the discussion, TheCable understands, was the potential involvement of Kwankwaso in the in-coming administration as Tinubu plans to form a “government of national unity” — which means giving certain positions to opposition parties.
The meeting also discussed issues around the election of the legislative leaders ahead of the June 13 inauguration of the 10th national assembly.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has zoned the two top positions in both chambers but some of its members are kicking against the formula and threatening to go into an alliance with the opposition to torpedo the arrangement.
While APC has 59 senators and 175 members of the houses of reps, NNPP has two and 19 respectively.
A simple majority of 56 senators and 181 reps are needed to elect the top two leaders in the respective chambers.
Tinubu’s representatives have also been meeting with key figures in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), TheCable confirmed.
The Paris meeting between Tinubu and Kwankwaso started at 12.30pm and ended at 4.45pm, insiders told TheCable.
Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house of reps and presumptive chief of staff to the president-elect, attended the meeting while Abdulmumin Jibrin, an NNPP rep-elect and former leader of a Tinubu campaign organisation, accompanied Kwankwaso.
Oluremi Tinubu, senator and wife of president-elect received Kwankwaso’s wife, Salamatu.
TheCable learnt that Tinubu and Kwankwaso reminisced on their relationship dating back to the national assembly in 1992.
Tinubu was a senator while Kwankwaso was deputy speaker in the house of reps.
TheCable understands that Kwankwaso, in principle, agreed to join Tinubu’s government subject to consultations with the stakeholders on both sides.
Tinubu is expected to brief Kashim Shettima, the vice-president elect, APC governors forum and other party leaders while Kwankwaso will do same with his party leadership.
TheCable learnt that Tinubu expressed concern over the strained relations between Abdullahi Ganduje, outgoing governor of Kano state, and Kwankwaso, and promised to broker peace between them.
Ganduje was deputy to Kwankwaso when he was governor of Kano from 2011 to 2015 but they have soon parted ways.
Tinubu polled 8,797,726 votes to win the presidential election, beating PDP’s Atiku Abubakar by a margin of two million.
However, Kwankwaso polled 1.5 million which many analysts believe were votes that could have gone to Atiku if the former Kano governor had not defected from the PDP.