Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress for 2023, may choose Borno Governor Babagana Zulum or his predecessor, Senator Kashim Shettima, as his running mate in the next few days.
Tinubu, after a lengthy deliberation, settled on the two names with 12 days till the July 15 deadline for parties to submit their presidential candidates and running mates to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
According to a Tinubu ally, Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai was also considered but dropped, despite his assistance in Tinubu’s nomination.
Tinubu, who is in France and scheduled to return soon to finalize the running mate problem, had narrowed his search to Borno, Kano, and Kaduna states, with all the probable running mates being Muslims.
North-West APC governors pushed to produce the running mate. It was reported that governors, governorship aspirants, ministers, and other stakeholders from the zone met in Kaduna on Thursday and vowed to utilize their vote power as a negotiating tool.
According to an ally, Tinubu simply needs final discussions to choose between Zulum and Shettima when he returns to Nigeria. Zulum is believed to have wide popularity in the North given his record of performance, especially in the face of Boko Haram. Shettima, an ally of Tinubu, demonstrated his deep support for his candidacy when he defended him following Tinubu’s Abeokuta (Ogun State) outburst.
Source: “Asiwaju’s running buddy race is down to two men.” They are Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum and his predecessor, Senator Kashim Shettima. If everything is equal, these two men should be running mates.
“Yes, Kaduna Governor Nasir El-Rufai was also considered,” he said. He helped Tinubu’s rise. His support surprised his employees. El-Rufai deserved to be picked.
“He’s an influential governor, but I think it goes beyond that.”
The insider further said, “Tinubu is returning to resolve the running mate issue before Sallah, July 10.”
A member of the defunct Bola Tinubu for President Campaign and House member stated the candidate might settle for a governor.
He remarked, “The position will likely go to a North-East or North-West governor.” I think North-East is being favored because the zone hasn’t produced a president and we need to split the votes from the zone with Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, who is from the zone and the PDP candidate.
If we choose Zulum, the uproar over a Muslim-Muslim ticket will decrease. He’d be accepted by Christians. People may respect his hard work. Christians support him. His name rang out.”
The source said Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano State, wasn’t being considered. “No, he’s not considered. He wants it, but he’s out of the picture,” he said.
The APC presidential candidate offered Ibrahim Kabir Masari as his running partner pending negotiations on Tinubu’s running mate.
The possibility of the party running a Muslim/Muslim ticket drew substantial opposition from individuals and groups including the Christian Association of Nigeria. The candidate’s and party’s supporters contended that competence should trump faith.
Tunde Rahman, Tinubu’s media aide, disputed claims that he met with Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike in France.
On Thursday, Lagos State’s Special Adviser on Drainage and Water Resources, Joe Igbokwe, said Wike was meeting with Tinubu in France.
Former APC spokesperson in Lagos State Igbokwe stated, “While they abuse everyone on social media, Governor Wike goes to France to visit Asiwaju. Abuse, name-calling, hate, and intolerance aren’t strategies. Since 2015, they’ve loathed and abused PMB, and now they’re targeting Asiwaju. “We’ll see.”
He said, “We’ve seen a viral social media post by an APC chieftain in Lagos State and media reports about a supposed meeting in France between Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.
“We must clear the air. Asiwaju Tinubu is in France, but he hasn’t met with Governor Wike anywhere. The APC presidential contender still respects Governor Wike despite this. Given Asiwaju Tinubu’s cross-party appeal, he won’t hesitate to meet any key national leader.
Sydney Gbara, the PDP’s Rivers State spokesperson, denied that Wike met with Tinubu in France.
“That’s unique,” he said. After the special convention, His Excellency went on vacation and campaigned across the country. A man who has worked hard should rest.
“He’s repeatedly said he’s a party man, so it’s inappropriate to suggest he wants a secret meeting with Tinubu in France or elsewhere. He does everything freely. He’s no fake.
Wike is still unhappy with the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, according to reports.
Desmond Akaowor, the party’s Rivers State chairman, said only Atiku could end the crisis. He said the former vice president must decide whether to run or not.
He said votes from Lagos, Kano, and Rivers states were crucial for any candidate to win, and Atiku couldn’t afford to joke with Rivers given Tinubu’s influence in Lagos and Rabiu Kwankwaso and Ibrahim Shekarau’s influence in Kano.
He continued, “They established a governorship election committee for Osun State.” There were how many PDP governors? Two. Good sign? We lost Ekiti and now Osun is headed this way, but we’re not worried. This causes ripples.
Ojukwu stated people who initiated the civil war should finish it. Ifeanyi Okowa’s picker should know what to do. You (Atiku) claimed you’d make a phone call, which shows you don’t care.”
He said Atiku promised to make Wike his deputy but reneged despite a committee’s recommendation. “The man with the yam and knife has the solution. He made a unilateral decision and only he can provide a solution, he added.
Former Rivers State Commissioner of Information Ogbonnaya Nwuke said Ortom and former governor Ayo Fayose’s reactions suggested Wike wasn’t happy. He warned that ignoring the committee’s recommendation wouldn’t help the party’s fortunes.
Nwuke added, “If you look at his friends’ reactions, something is wrong.” Wike’s next steps are unknown. The party’s leader should reach out meaningfully, not hide behind a mask and form clueless committees. They’re useless. “The buck stops there.”
Onueze Okocha, a Wike ally and former president of the Nigerian Bar Association, said Wike is a loyal party man.
“Governor Wike doesn’t need appeasement,” said Okocha. He’s a loyal partygoer. Wike will go along if the party’s interests are protected. His words.
Wike isn’t angry, in my opinion. Open-minded. “He’s a politician”
While advising Atiku, he said, “Wike is a key party member, as are others.” He should represent all interests and build consensus. Political parties progress this way.
Former Plateau State Governor Jonah Jang called on the party’s national leadership to adopt a unified approach in resolving the Okowa controversy or face defeat.
In a statement headed ‘2023 elections: PDP must unite or face defeat,’ he said it was irresponsible to overlook Wike when the selection committee suggested him. “You can’t dismiss a committee’s decision and expect people to be satisfied,” he remarked.
“While it’s no longer news that the presidential primaries have passed and a candidate has emerged, it’s disheartening that the vice-presidential candidate emerged with such disregard for processes,” he added.
“We can’t ignore party builders and make progress. The way the party treats such people indicates more will come. We can’t let the party stray from its democratic principles.
Former Sokoto governor Attahiru Bafarawa denies PDP cracks.
He said that since Atiku won the party’s nomination, any internal problems should be solved from within.
“If Ortom and Fayose have left the party, then we have an issue, but in-house we must sit and express our opinions, and if there’s anything, we’ll see how to move forward,” he added. No one has left. Still reconciling No alarm.”
Bafarawa said of Fayose’s insistence on a southern presidency, “Ask him; he signed the zoning agreement and the committee submitted its report.” He was there for any recommendation made to the National Working Committee and National Executive Council.
“Unfortunately, he said that. I respect former governor Fayose for his responsibility and good character. Nobody has left the party for us to complain. I believe our presidential candidate can resolve the family matter with party leadership.”
Bafarawa said there’s no reason to complain about PDP governors taking a backseat to party issues.
Group discredits rumors
Dr. Victor Moses, national publicity secretary for Atiku Support Organization, said Nigerians should ignore Wike defection rumors.
Moses says Wike is committed to the PDP and won’t leave because he has a brighter future in the PDP.
He said, “Governor Wike won’t leave the PDP.” He’s a dedicated PDP player. Young Wike has a brighter future in the PDP than in any other party.
His performance in the PDP primaries proves his future. Wike will help Atiku Abubakar beat the APC. “Ignore the fake news.”