Strong indications emerged, weekend, that governors elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, are insisting on a sitting colleague to be picked as vice presidential candidate to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the 2023 election, following the role they played in his emergence as the flagbearer.
Vanguard gathered that the governors are also pushing for Tinubu’s running mate to come from the North-East, particularly from Borno State, and that if on the other hand, it goes to the North-West, it should not be Katsina State.
They were said to have contended that since Katsina produced late President Umaru Yar’Adua and incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari, it shouldn’t be considered.
It was also learned that another group in the Progressives Governors camp is pushing for the North-West geo-political zone to produce the vice presidential candidate, while looking in the direction of Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State; Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano, and Governor Atiku Abubakar of Kebbi State.
Tinubu’s push for Shettima
However, the problem at the moment is that Tinubu is said to be insisting on Senator Kashim Shettima, a former governor of Borno State.
A source told Vanguard that the sitting governors want the APC presidential candidate to compensate them for the role they played before the convention where they killed the move by National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, to have a consensus presidential candidate in person of the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, from Yobe State.
According to a source, the stakeholders want the North-East, especially Borno State, to produce the vice president in 2023, against the backdrop of the fact that the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan from Yobe State, North-East, did not get the APC presidential ticket.
The opinion of the leaders from the North-East is that the North West produced late former President Umaru Yar’Adua from Katsina; incumbent President Buhari also from Katsina and former Vice President Namadi Sambo from Kaduna State.
The source said: “The APC governors are pushing that the presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, should pick his vice presidential candidate from among them because of the role they played to stop the action of the APC National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, who had already settled for the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, as the presidential candidate of the ruling party.
“There are strong feelings that though the governors want one of them, Tinubu wants Senator Kassim Shettima as his vice-presidential candidate.”
From the look of things, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna and Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano, despite the fact that they are strong supporters of Tinubu, are out of the scheming process as it appears that the race for the running mate may have been reduced to just two men.
They are the governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, and his predecessor, Kashim Shettima.
The dilemma at the moment, it was gathered, is that while the governors prefer a sitting governor in person of Babagana Zulum of Borno State, Tinubu is said to have zeroed his search on former governor of Borno State, Senator Kashim Shettima, who currently represents Borno Central in the Senate.
A source told Vanguard that Tinubu prefers Shettima because he had been in the forefront of his presidential struggle.
It was gathered that he wants to settle for Shettima because he is politically on ground, a formidable force and well-
accepted in the North-East in order to split the votes from the zone with former Vice President and the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, who hails from Adamawa State, also in the North-East.
From the permutation on the ground, if Tinubu settles for either Zulum or Shettima, it will be a Muslim-Muslim ticket and if this fails, the party may also look in the way of former speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, from Bauchi, North-East zone, who is a Christian or Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, North-Central, also a Christian.
Recall that Tinubu, the APC presidential candidate, had submitted the name of Alhaji Kabiru Ibrahim Masari as his running mate for the 2023 presidential election.
Masari, who hails from Masari, a town in Kafur Local Government Area of Katsina State, served as the National Welfare Secretary of APC during Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s tenure as national chairman of the party. The former Edo State governor chaired the APC from 2018 to 2020.
Tinubu’s running mate was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP during the late President Umaru Yar’Adua and after the death of Yar’Adua in 2010, Masari defected to the defunct Congress for Progressives Change, CPC, the party under which Buhari contested but lost the 2011 election.
Ahead of 2015, CPC collapsed its structure into APC and Masari joined the ruling party.
The APC presidential candidate must substitute the name of Masari with another running on or before the July 15 deadline set by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Pick your running mate from N/Central, North-East APC tells Tinubu
Meanwhile, a coalition of stakeholders of the APC North-East has demanded that the party leadership and its presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, pick his running mate from the North-Central, rather than the North-West.
This, according to the stakeholders, will enable the party to win the 2023 presidential elections and position it as a party known for fairness, equity and justice.
The decision was taken at the end of an emergency meeting of the North-East APC Stakeholders Coalition, which held yesterday in Abuja.
Some stakeholders from the North-West had recently clamoured for the position of running mate.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, National Coordinator of North-East APC Stakeholders Coalition, Alhaji Abba Aji Suleiman, faulted the demand of their North Western counterparts, describing it as “not only misplaced, but a gross display of insensitivity to the relevance of other regions in the scheme of things in the party.”
The coalition argued: “The North-West had been within the corridors of power in the last seven years of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, and for such demand to be made, indeed, speaks volume of gross insensitivity.
“It is the considered view of stakeholders in the North-East that it would only be fair and just if the vice-presidential slot goes to the North-Central, given the numerous contributions of the region to the growth and development of the party.
“The stakeholders must come to terms with the fact that the North-Central hasn’t had a shot at the highest level of governance since the return of democracy in 1999. This time has presented that unique opportunity that must be utilized in the party’s best interest.
“The North-West APC stakeholders must also realize that the overarching objective of the party is to secure a landslide victory at the polls, and if that is, indeed, the case, would it make any sense if a region that has been represented adequately in the last ten years, would also demand the vice-presidential slot?”
Speaking further, Alhaji Suleiman stressed that “unless the stakeholders of our great party in the North West want us to believe that the North Central is not deserving of producing the vice-presidential candidate, hence the demand for the vice-presidential slot.
“The stakeholders of the APC in the North East wish to use this medium to call on the leadership of our great party to ensure justice and fairness by providing that the vice presidential slot is given to the North Central.’’
He added that the North Central had not had the opportunity to produce either the president or vice president, “despite the array of credible candidates in the region with excellent profiles and broad appeal across the country.’’