One of the most important tasks before former vice president Atiku Abubakar after emerging as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is the choice of a running mate as this critical decision may make or mar his dreams of becoming Nigeria’s president in 2019.
There are speculations that the PDP candidate is considering the southeast and the southwest for his choice of a running mate.
As the country awaits the announcement of his running mate, here are five key things Atiku should put into consideration before picking a running mate.
1. Tribe/geopolitical zone
Though there is no constitutional clause dictating where the choice of a running mate should come from, it is politically important that Atiku picks a running mate who is not from his geopolitical zone and of the same tribe with him. The two zones the PDP candidate should be looking at now are the southeast and the southwest.
In the history of Nigeria, no woman has ever risen to the position of vice president despite promises by the major political parties to be gender inclusive.
If Atiku picks a woman as his running mate, he will be the first presidential candidate to do so in the history of Nigerian politics. This, undoubtedly, will boost his chances among the womenfolk.
3. The PDP’s position
Despite leaving the PDP for the APC in the buildup to the 2015 elections, the opposition party not only welcomed back Atiku to its fold but provided a level-playing ground that paved way for his emergence as the presidential candidate. Thus, it is morally-binding on him to listen to the suggestions of the party as far as the decision to pick an appropriate running mate is concerned.
Nigeria as a country is still much divided along the religious lines as there are always apprehensions about a certain religious group trying to alienate the other. Since Atiku is a Muslim by religion, the politically correct option for him is a Christian running mate.
The Nigerian youths have become very politically-conscious. The level of political influence the youths now wield in the country can be seen in the way the Not-Too-Young-To-Run bill was vigorously pursued and achieved. If Atiku wants to gain popularity among the youths, choosing a running mate among them won’t be a bad idea.
Meanwhile, in an earlier report, NAIJ.com gathered that sources in the Atiku camp said that at least three technocrats and two politicians had been penciled down as possible running mate.
The technocrats are, former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Charles Soludo; former minister of agriculture and rural development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina; and former managing director of Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), Chike Obi.
It was gathered that the politicians being considered for the number two position are, former governor of Anambra state, Peter Obi, and the deputy Senate president, Senator Ike Ekweremadu.
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