As the June 17 deadline by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for parties to submit the names of their presidential and vice-presidential candidates approaches, the candidates are under pressure to pick their running mates.
Sources close to them told Vanguard, that yesterday, the candidates and their parties’ hierarchies are having a tough nut to crack over the issue.
Those said to be under intense pressure include Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential standard-bearer of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC; Alhaji Atiku Abubakr of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; and Mr Peter Obi of the Labour Party, LP.
Among the three, Tinubu is said to be pressured the most because of the issue of religion. Being a Muslim from the South, his running mate is expected to come from the North where APC sources said he may pick a Muslim, which will make the party field a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
Also, Atiku is having a huge task settling for a Southern running mate from the South-South or South-East. There are also moves to have him field a running mate from the South-West to counter the electoral fortunes of Tinubu in the zone.
Sources close to Obi said the LP standard-bearer may settle for a northern female Muslim as running mate.
“The hard nut before each candidate is picking a running mate that will add value and make the ticket a winning ticket. By Tuesday and Wednesday, they would be making up their minds on their running mates because the INEC deadline is Friday. After picking the candidates the parties have to process many documents and upload them on the INEC website,” a top politician told Vanguard, yesterday.
Don’t fly Muslim-Muslim ticket,’ CAN warns APC, PDP, others
Amid the pressure, the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has for the umpteenth time warned the APC, PDP and other political parties to resist the temptation of flying a Muslim-Muslim ticket in the 2023 general election.
CAN National President, Dr Samson Ayokunle, who gave the warning, on Sunday, in Abuja, said such a step would be disastrous to the nation.
Speaking at the inter-denominational church service to mark the 2022 Democracy Day at the National Christian Centre, Abuja, the CAN President, who was represented by the Founder of Sword of The Spirit Ministries International, Bishop Francis Wale-Oke, warned that having a presidential candidate and the running mate from the same religion will not augur well.
Speaking on the theme ‘More than Conquerors,’ Ayokunle noted that any party that wishes to produce the next president must not undermine the Christian community.
His words: “While I congratulate the candidates, I must sound this warning, please do not fly a Muslim-Muslim ticket. It would not fly. It will not stand. Rather, it would set the nation against each other.
“The candidate who will emerge is the one who works with the Church. Please, do not alienate the church. If you embrace equity, fairness and justice, the Nigerian electorate will reward you with their votes at the polls and they will give you their support.”
Reiterating his counsel on equity and fairness, the CAN President said the country cannot claim to practice justice when a certain region is deprived of producing a president.
He urged candidates to exalt righteousness in their campaigns saying, “you can only rule when there is a nation. In your campaigns, make sure you exalt fairness, justice and equity.
If there is no righteousness, fairness and equity, we will remain divided.”
In attendance at the service was the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, who represented the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo; Representative of the Senate President and Speaker, House of Representatives, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, Deputy Chief Whip of the Federal House of Representatives; Minister of Women Affairs and former senatorial aspirant of the APC, Paulen Tallen; President of the Court of Appeal, represented by Justice H.S Samani, Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan, permanent secretaries of the Ministries of the Federal Capital Territory, Water Resources, Police Affairs, Civil Service Commission among others.
Jostle in APC
There are reports that the APC and its candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, might settle for a Muslim-Muslim ticket, given the party’s difficulty in finding a Christian from the North, who can boost the party’s chances in the election.
The Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai had said that the issue of religion would not be a criterion in determining the running mate of the APC’s presidential candidate.
An APC stalwart had on Saturday said that even though consultation was still ongoing, the idea of picking either Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State or the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, who are both northern Christians, was no longer topical due to their limited clout in the region.
The source noted that the North-West and North-East have the bloc votes in the region and that if the party could not find a stronger Christian from the two sub-regions, it might settle for a Muslim.
North-East seeks APC VP slot with Dauda
Indeed, APC stakeholders in the North-East are pushing Dr Ibrahim Bello Dauda for the slot.
Since Tinubu is from the South-West, in his 70s, and from the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN bloc, some observers said that Tinubu needs a younger person and somebody from another leg of the founding pillars of the APC, to beat Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the PDP in the 2023 presidential poll.
In the North, a running mate to balance the various equations is expected to come from the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, bloc led by President Muhammadu Buhari.
One of those, who have joined the race for the vice-presidential slot is Dr Ibrahim Bello Dauda, who jostled for the APC presidential ticket but pulled back when signals revealed that the President and the party would settle for a power shift to the South.
Dauda, 50, a management consultant, was in the trenches with President Buhari in the All Nigerian Peoples Party, ANPP, and CPC. Between 2003 and 2007 he served in Buhari’s ANPP as the Plateau State Coordinator of The Buhari Organisations, TBO, a support group for the party’s presidential candidate. Later, he worked within the CPC founded by Buhari in 2009 as a vehicle to vie for the presidency in the April 2011 elections. Dauda had in CPC served as a member of the National Convention Committee in 2013; executive of the national registration and membership committee in 2013.
He, subsequently, moved with the CPC to form APC in 2013. He served in 2014 as national secretary of the Buhari Support Group Centre, BSGC, and national coordinator of the Buhari Support Organisations, BSO. Later, in 2019 he became national secretary of the APC women and youth presidential campaign team; and a member of the support groups directorate of the APC presidential campaign council.
A Kanuri, whose lineage traces its roots to Gora town in Shani Local Government Area of Borno State, Dauda began life in Jos North area of Plateau State, where he was born on June 3, 1972. With OND and HND in Financial Management and Accountancy, he obtained his doctorate in Business Administration from the Cornerstone University in Israel and has no fewer than 27 professional and academic certifications from Nigeria, several African countries, America and other parts of the world.
Currently, he is the president of Platinum Vault Group of Companies that he co-founded in 2015. The firm has blossomed into 10 companies with tentacles in oil and gas, agriculture, mining, power generation, telecommunications, logistics, construction, business and management consulting.
Also known as El-Dabi, he is president of the Almajirai Empowerment Foundation, AEF, established to assist millions of Almajiri children in Nigeria and help equip them with education, reorientation and skills.
His supporters said if chosen, Dauda and Tinubu will have the same combination as the ticket that produced the June 12 1993 free, fair and presidential election won by late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola. “Like Abiola’s running mate, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, Dr Dauda hails from the Kanuri stock in Borno.
A marriage between Yoruba and Kanuri gave birth on June 12 in 1993. Will the same combination work 30 years later in 2023?
Battle in PDP
In the PDP, choosing between South-East and South-South zones is getting hard.
While some are pushing for Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike; Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa and his immediate predecessor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan from the South-South, there are also pressures from the South-East given the zone’s support for the PDP since inception.
Those being considered for the slot in the South-East include Senator Chimaroke Nnamani; former SGF, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim; and former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Emeka Ihedioha.
Those pushing for the South-East said that “by a twist of events, neither the PDP nor the APC gave the South-East opportunity to produce the president in 2023. Having been excluded from the presidential race so far, the zone has been inadvertently injured politically. The fallback position that will therefore be fair is to take the vice presidential ticket to the South-East Zone.
The South-South Zone also has a claim to the position of vice president in 2023 being the zone that is believed to be the pillar of PDP at least since 2015 when the party lost the centre. Presidential contender Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and Senator Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state is said to be in contention for the number two plum position. South-South is an established home for the PDP. It is given that whatever the case may be, the zone is home to the PDP.
In the South-East zone, former Governor of Enugu state and current Senator representing Enugu East Dr Chimaroke Nnamani is one of the major contenders for Atiku Abubakar’s running mate.
“Senator Nnamani as a governor and Senator has demonstrated a strong will and capacity to deliver. His Ebeano political family in Enugu is the dominant force that determines the leadership recruitment into public offices since 1999.
His Ebeano lecture series has become a global platform that dissects local and international issues and proffers solutions.
His legacy projects are legendary: the Nigeria Law school, Enugu, the permanent site of Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), the state Judiciary headquarters, the international conference centre, as well as numerous housing estates. He opened rural and urban roads and elevated human capital development.
Senator Nnamani a trained Medical Doctor in Nigeria and United States has international experiences that would be an added advantage in the quest to save and rescue Nigeria,” a South-East top PDP leader said.