Former Borno State governor, Senator Kashim Shettima, headlined a list of 11 persons recommended for consideration for the choice of running mate to the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, by the Planning and Strategy Committee of the Tinubu Campaign Organisation (TCO) headed by Mr Babachir David Lawal, Daily Trust reports.
The recommendation was contained in a report of a sub-committee chaired by Senator Grace Folasade Bent sighted by one of our reporters.
- Babachir Lawal rejects Muslim-Muslim ticket, asks Buhari to revoke Shettima’s nomination
- Muslim-Muslim ticket: Akeredolu asks Nigerians to choose competence over religion
Members of the Lawal committee told this paper that the final report of the committee was concluded on Tuesday last week and submitted to Tinubu by Lawal, who travelled to London on Wednesday for the purpose.
It was after he received the report that the APC candidate travelled back to Nigeria where he announced the name of Shettima as his choice for running mate on Sunday.
Shettima was first on the list of the seven persons shortlisted from the North-East geopolitical zone, in addition to four others recommended from the North West.
Babachir, who was Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) between 2015 and 2017, had on Tuesday faulted the selection of Shettima as running mate to Tinubu for the February 25, 2023, presidential election.
In a statement Tuesday night, Babachir said Christians all over the country will revolt against the APC for choosing Shettima, a Muslim, to deputise Tinubu.
But contrary to his opposition to the Muslim-Muslim ticket and his censure of Shettima as unfit for the vice presidential role, the report showed that the committee says a Muslim-Muslim ticket will give Tinubu “guaranteed victory” and listed many Muslims for consideration.
The report however weighed the merits and demerits of Muslim-Christian and Muslim-Muslim tickets for the APC candidate and highlighted the implications of possible apathy and protest from the Christian community in the event of the adoption of a Muslim running mate.
Daily Trust gathered that the members of the planning and strategy committee, which was constituted three months ago included Senator Magnus Abe; pioneer Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Malam Nuhu Ribadu; Senator Abu Ibrahim; Senator Bent; Senator Ishaku Elisha Abbo; Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, Rep Abiodun Faleke, Rep Musa Sarkin-Adar, among others.
One of the members of the committee said after the emergence of Tinubu as the flagbearer of the APC, a sub-committee was constituted to provide guidance on the selection of a running mate and director general of the campaign team.
He said Senator Bent was named as the chairperson of the sub-committee under the supervision of the main committee chaired by the former SGF.
Another member of the panel said the decision to pick Shettima was in line with the committee’s recommendation insisting that Tinubu worked with the guidance provided.
“In arriving at our recommendation, we looked at all persuasions including religion, gender and acceptability. We looked at those who can add value to the ticket,” he said.
He said that the report of the committee passed through Lawal before getting to the former Lagos State governor.
“He was part of the decision and the report got to the presidential candidate through him,” he said.
“First, we sent the soft copy of our report to Asiwaju before BD Lawal took the hard copy to him in London last Wednesday,” he said.
Contacted, Senator Abu Ibrahim, an ally of Tinubu and a member of the committee, confirmed the recommendation of the committee.
“Senator Shettima was selected after wide consultation. Our committee has submitted its report to Asiwaju and his name is there,” he said but declined further comment.
Ibrahim, however, assured that “There is no cause for alarm on a Muslim-Muslim ticket. I can assure you, Asiwaju will be fair and just to all”.
El-Rufai, Wamakko, Dogara, others recommended
It was gathered that the committee recommended seven persons from the North East and four persons from the North West geopolitical zones.
The panel did not recommend any person from the North Central geopolitical zone.
Panel members said the North Central was not considered because the National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, hails from Nasarawa State in the geopolitical zone.
After Shettima’s name, in the list from the North East, is Kashim Imam, an associate of Tinubu. Other persons recommended from the zone were; the Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum; a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammed, Ambassador Fatima Balla and Senator Anthony Manzo.
In the North West, the committee recommended Hajiya Najatu Mohammed, Kaduna State governor, Nasiru El-Rufai, a former governor of Sokoto State, Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, and the Kebbi State governor, Atiku Bagudu.
Ex-SGF confirms chairing panel, distances self from running mates recommendations
In a phone interview Wednesday night, Lawal confirmed chairing the planning and strategy committee but that he was not aware of any sub-committee.
“I chaired the Bola Tinubu Planning and Strategy Committee, which was set up to implement strategies for Tinubu to pick the ticket. But I’m not aware of the sub-committee that recommended running mates. It is not our work. You know politicians can cook up anything,” he said.
APC chairman in Daura, defends Muslim-Muslim ticket
The National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Abdullahi Adamu, Wednesday, defended the decision of the party’s presidential candidate to settle for Shettima as his running mate.
Adamu fielded questions from State House reporters after leading members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) to pay a courtesy call on President Muhammadu Buhari in his country home in Daura, Katsina State.
Adamu said the party had to agree on the strategic decision because of the reality of politics in Nigeria, stressing that nobody was out to promote Christian-Christian or Muslim-Muslim ticket.
When asked about his message to Nigerian Christians who were agitated by the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the party, he said: “The fact of the matter is that God doesn’t do anything in vain. God has His reasons for having two major religious persuasions to be in this country. And each of these groups has good people whom I have reason to believe they have also a stake. We have had times when Christians led this country. We have had times when Muslims led this country. We can’t deny that fact. We can’t have what we want at a point in time all of us agreeing to one thing.
“The fact of the matter is we appreciate that the Christians are interested, no doubt about it, but the fact of the matter is that we are as practical as can in this situation. And we do hope that people see reason. Nobody is willing to promote Christianity or Muslim ticket necessarily. But we have to face the reality of our politics in the country. That’s what we are doing,” he said.
When asked if he had nothing to fear about the development, Adamu said: “Absolutely, nothing to fear. Shettima is another Nigerian like me and you. Yes, we all don’t have to be Muslims or Christians. It is the will of God that this time around he is going to be vice president of this great country if we win the election. And we do hope and pray and we are working to win the election.”
On the chances of APC in the Osun election, he expressed confidence in the ability of the party to achieve success, saying: “By the grace of God, we will win. You heard it. Take it home, sleep over it today and on Saturday, come back and say Abdullahi Adamu, you are the son of your father.”
On the motive behind the visit to the president, the APC national chairman said: “First and foremost, it is to pay my courtesy in keeping with the tradition, which we were born into. And as chairman of the ruling party, the president’s party, where he is the leader of the party, it behoves on us in a moment like this to come, identify with our leadership and show example to those who are behind us, who are coming after us. So, that’s what it was and we are happy and each time we knock at his door, he opens his door for us. And that is exactly what happened today again.
“We were in Osun yesterday (Tuesday) and we had to give him some little report on what happened in Osun. And we also look forward to the election this Saturday and we have his buy in into our thoughts as to the election. That’s why we’re here.”
By Ismail Mudashir & Muideen Olaniyi