Even though he doesn’t like the idea of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) running a Muslim-Muslim ticket for president in the 2023 elections, President Muhammadu Buhari won’t force the party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to choose a running mate.
The party is likely to choose its running mate between now and Thursday. This person is likely to be from the north of the country.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that candidates for the 2023 elections must be submitted by June 17. The deadline will not be extended.
Daily Independent reported earlier that some members of the now-defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), one of the legacy parties that merged to form the APC, are insisting that it is their turn to choose the running mate.
Their argument was that when Buhari was chosen as the APC’s presidential candidate in December 2014, Tinubu’s Action Congress of Nigeria was given the vice presidential slot (ACN).
In order to do this, they suggested that the job go to Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Nasir El-Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna, and Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation.
But a source in the presidency told Daily Independent on Tuesday that, just like in 2014 when he turned down Tinubu, a Muslim, as his running mate, the president still thinks that a Muslim-Muslim ticket could be bad for the APC, especially since the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is running on a Muslim-Christian ticket.
“One thing is clear: the president can get involved as the leader of the party, but he won’t make Tinubu choose a running mate, just like he didn’t choose a candidate in the presidential primary.
Tinubu is running for president, so he knows what is best for him and who can help him get the votes he needs to win,” the source said.
Wednesday, the president met with APC governors behind closed doors at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. They were talking about who the running mate for the party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, should be.
Already, a lot of well-known Nigerians, APC stakeholders, and groups, like the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), have spoken out against any party that runs on a Muslim-Muslim ticket and have started getting their members to do the same.
“The president still thinks that if the APC runs two Muslims for president and vice president, it might not be a good sign for the party, just like it was in 2015.
Our source said, “The opposition might use that to get the support of the Christian community.”
People who support the Muslim-Muslim ticket in APC said that the party doesn’t have any strong, popular Northern Christian candidates who can win votes in the region for APC during the election.
But people who don’t like the idea have suggested Northern Christians like Governor Simon Lalong, Mr. Boss Mustapha, who is Secretary to the Government of the Federation, and Yakubu Dogara, who was the former Speaker of the House of Representatives.
A party leader who was against the Muslim-Muslim ticket told Daily Independent that the APC has enough Christians in the North to choose as Tinubu’s running mate.
“Their claim that APC doesn’t have strong Christians from the North doesn’t hold water.
How well-known was Osinbajo when Buhari chose him to be his running mate in 2014?
“We have people like Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, who is also the Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum. Is he not a party favorite?
“What about Boss Mustapha, the SGF, who was the chairman of the Adamawa State Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1990?
“If Mustapha is Tinubu’s running mate, the APC will win because he balances the ticket and gives Christians a sense of belonging. It will also help Northern Christians feel at home in their own area.
“A man like Mustapha adds to the ticket with his experience, skill, exposure, and maturity. “Right away, he would help to make the government more stable,” he said.
Senator Kashim Shetimma, who used to be governor of Borno State, is said to be Tinubu’s running mate, but this has not been confirmed.
Also on Wednesday, the presidency said that President Buhari makes his own decisions and follows through on them without the help of a so-called “cabal” or “back room boys.”