On the heels of the disclosure by Kano State Governor, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje that the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has settled for a Muslim running mate, a “highly competence source” in the Tinubu Campaign Organisation has disclosed that the choice is a “former Governor and Senator from the Northeast part of Nigeria”.
Senator Kashim Shettima,55, fits into this description as he had served as Borno State Governor between between 2011 and 2019. He is the Director General of Tinubu Campaign Organisation.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), which reported the source, also added that Tinubu is scheduled to pay Sallah homage to President Muhammadu Buhari in Daura, Katsina on Sunday to brief him on his chosen running mate.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed Friday, 15th July as deadline for replacement/withdrawal of presidential and National Assembly candidates. To beat the initial deadline, APC submitted the name of Katsina State politician, Ibrahim Kabiru Masari as vice presidential candidate.
Being a Muslim, the religious background of Tinubu’s running mate has generated heated conversation, with the Christian Association of Nigeria and other interest groups vehemently opposed to a Muslim-Muslim presidential pair.
The leading opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party already have a balance of Muslim-Christian with former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar picking Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa as his deputy. The Labour Party, an emerging force, also have a balance of Christian-Muslim with former Anambra State Governor, Mr Peter Obi pairing up with for federal parliamentarian, Dr Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed.
“The person is also by accident of birth a Muslim, confirming what Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State said on Saturday that Tinubu had settled for a Muslim-Muslim ticket”, the NAN source further said.
The source added that in picking the running mate, Tinubu was not thinking about religion but about the competence, exposure and intellectual depth of the candidate.
“The considerations given for the choice of a running mate were dictated by the need to choose an individual capable of working with the presidential candidate to take Nigeria to greater heights”,’ the source added.
The two-term Governor of Lagos State (1999 to 2007) won APC ticket at its 8th June special national convention and presidential primary election.