- The road to the forthcoming presidential election is beginning to get more interesting at the moment
- The ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) is currently battling a serious permutation strategy
- Many party faithful are currently not pleased with the recent development that they believe is not in line with the progressive norms and value
After months of consultation, search and deliberation, Asiwaju Bola Ahmad Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate has finally settled for former Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima as his running mate in the 2023 national election.
Tinubu’s announcement has witnessed a general outcry from a section of Nigerians who believe that the question of balance, equity, and religious tolerance has been completely undermined.
How Shettima, Tinubu advocated equity ahead of APC primaries
Legit.ng recalls that Shettima was very vocal ahead of the APC presidential primary. The former governor had advocated a Southern presidency against the agitation by some northerners that the north should retain power. Shettima believed it would amount to a great injustice if the South was not given the opportunity this time around.
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He insisted that there was a gentlemen’s agreement that power must rotate between the North and the South during the formation of the APC.
“After power has resided in the North for eight years, the minimum is that there should be a power shift to the South for equity and justice. We are against oppression and marginalization by any one group against another.”
But analysts believe that Tinubu’s decision to pick Shettima as his running mate and Shettima’s acceptance contradicted what both men believe in - equity.
A veteran journalist, and social media influencer, Moji Danusa said:
“After all that has gone down, I find a Muslim/Muslim ticket thoroughly insensitive, senseless and insulting, but since the day he asked: “Where are the Cows? I knew the manner of character we were dealing with. Bola Tinubu will sell Nigeria for a penny if that will give him the presidency. I am no Judas Iscariot. Money is sweet but truth, honour, and a clear conscience are sweeter.”
But Fredrick Nwabufo, a current affairs analyst deferred from Moji’s position when Legit.ng sort his opinion on the issue. He argued that Tinubu by antecedents has shown over the years that he is not in any way a religious fanatic, and that campaign should rather be issue-based and not about Tinubu’s choice of a running mate.
“I think the issues we should be interrogating at this time are: Security; Economy; Education; Healthcare; Infrastructure.
“I would rather assess the presidential hopefuls by their blueprint on these fundamentals which directly affect me than flagellate over religion.
“We have to stay on the issues. I believe Tinubu is at liberty to decide his choice of running mate. Although the concerns of those protesting over the Muslim-Muslim ticket cannot be minimized or dismissed, I think Tinubu, by his antecedents, has shown over the years that he is not in any way a religious fanatic.”
But Shettima, before and during the APC primary did not show any form of reservation in his support for Tinubu, saying that the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo was a good man and should be selling ice cream and not be dragging the position with his former boss.
He also said that the senate president, Ahmed Lawan could easily be seen as a tomato trader in the southeast, and could be termed as someone who brings tomatoes from the North. His argument was that Tinubu was a brand name that everyone could easily identify with.
Many, therefore, believe that with Shettima’s support for the APC candidate, and considering his popularity and connection in the north, it’s only natural for a candidate who wants to win a national election to pick him.
APC members protest Muslim-Muslim tickets
Some members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, who feel aggrieved about the Shettima/Tinubu joint ticket have either withdrawn their support for the Jagaban or resigned from the party. Only yesterday, July 12 a former Rivers governorship candidate and an APC chieftain resigned from the All Progressives Congress, APC, alongside other party bigwigs in Rivers State.
Tonye Princewill dumps APC
Princewill, in a statement he personally signed and sent to Legit.ng said it was impossible to defend the indefensible. According to him, it will be totally unfair to be fighting for equity in his state (Rivers) and at the same time be defending equity in his country (Nigeria).
He concluded thus:
“I wish you well. And I remain grateful to our leader, but I cannot defend the indefensible. And to be totally honest, neither should you.”
Babachir Lawal expresses anger, advises Tinubu
Similarly, Babchir Lawal, Tinubu’s close ally, has advised the APC candidate to reverse his decision on his running mate, insisting that even if APC wins the 2023 elections, Tinubu’s decision of Shettima will have consequences.
Bwala dumps APC
Daniel Bwala, special adviser to the deputy senate president on legal matters, in protest of Shettima’s emergence as Tinubu’s running mate has dumped the APC. According to Bwala, his decision was based on “principles and conviction.” He added that all efforts should “gravitate towards uniting our people,’’ instead of being further divided along religious lines.
Kenneth Okonkwo resigns from APC
A popular Nollywood actor, Kenneth Okonkwo, has also resigned his membership in the All Progressives Congress (APC) membership. The actor, in an Instagram post, stated that APC’s Muslim-Muslim ticket would destroy forever the political viability of Christians in the north of Nigeria. He added that in the interest of equity, justice, fairness, and peaceful co-existence among Nigerians, he withdrew his membership in the party.
As discussions continue on Tinubu’s choice of a running mate, it’s difficult to ascertain at the moment if his decision will yield a positive or negative result, particularly if the majority of Nigerians see the decision as a fair one. Also, it’s yet to be seen whether Tinubu’s choice will give him the desired victory in 2023.
Another angle to Tinubu’s decision
While the majority of Nigerians have tagged the decision as unfair and unjust, some have argued that no politician will take a decision without weighing the implications. According to this school of thought, Tinubu’s interest like every other politician is to win the 2023 election. According to the argument, Shettima’s choice would give Tinubu the upper hand to emerge the winner of the 2023 election.
An APC chieftain who does not want his name in print argued that Tinubu couldn’t have gone for a Christian who is not popular enough to give him votes. According to him, the calculation is to ensure he gets a block vote from the north.
According to him:
“Tinubu’s decision may be unfair to the Nigerian Christians, but not unfair to a real party man, I mean those in the APC. This man has taken this decision in order to make the job easy for his party. With Shettima, Tinubu will win to himself the entire northern Muslims. It doesn’t matter at this point how the Christians feel. What matters is the party’s victory. And remember, there is an Atiku.
"If Tinubu had gone for a Christain running mate, Atiku would have defeated him in the north. He is not a northerner, remember. And everyone wants to impress the north at this point. No doubt, there are Christians in the north, but will they be that acceptable? I think it was a wise decision by the Jagaban.”
Legit.ng reports that since the 1993 aborted presidential elections, no leading political party had gone for a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
But it’s yet to be seen if this decision will affect the APC candidate positively or negatively. Only time will tell.