The National Organising Secretary of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Suleiman Muhammad Argungu, has said the constitution of the party does not provide that two candidates of the same faith cannot run a joint ticket.
Argungu, in an interactive session with newsmen at the weekend in Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State, said there was nothing wrong with picking a Muslim running mate from the North West for the APC presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
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Controversy has been raging within the APC over the issue of a Muslim-Muslim ticket, especially as the party’s presidential candidate, Tinubu, is yet to pick his “valid” running mate.
Christian bodies, associations and individuals are agitating that the vice presidential slot of the party be given to a Christian because Tinubu is a Muslim.
But Argungu, a member of the APC National Working Committee (NWC), said the Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu, and the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who are Muslims, were among the six top contenders for the party’s vice presidential slot.
He said, “I have acknowledged the fact that Governor Bagudu and another indigene of the state, Malami, are among top six contenders for the vice presidential slot to replace the placeholder.”
He further said, “Indices in voter strength show that the North West Zone had the highest votes during previous elections. Therefore, such contribution should be taken into consideration in choosing the vice presidential candidate.
“There is no law in the APC constitution which bars candidates of the same faith from vying for office as president and vice president.”
He added that, “I need to make a passionate appeal to all eligible voters to collect their Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) to enable them elect leaders of their choice.”
It may affect APC’s chances if poorly handled – Prof Yerima
Poor handling of the running mate selection process for the presidential candidate of the APC, Tinubu, may affect the ruling party’s fortunes in the general elections, a party chieftain, Professor Haruna Yerima, has said.
Prof Yerima, a former House of Representatives member representing Biu/Shani/Kwaya/Bayo in Borno State, disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in Abuja at the weekend.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari as the leader of the party must assert himself by ensuring that a credible and acceptable person was picked as the substantive running mate to Tinubu.
He said, “This is a trying time for the APC. It is also time for extreme caution and due diligence by various stakeholders in the ruling party. Whatever decision we take now would have a long lasting effect on the survival of the party after President Buhari’s departure next year.
“It is curiously worrisome that the APC campaign is being tremendously distracted by some communal tendencies; which is not good for the party that is going for a keenly contested elections.”