Buhari Still Waiting For Tinubu’s Shortlist Of Running Mates

2 weeks ago

Although it is the constitutional prerogative of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, to choose his running mate for the 2023 presidential poll, a final decision has yet to be taken. Tinubu has not presented a list of his preferred persons to President Muhammadu Buhari for deliberation and ratification, a competent party source said.

But Tinubu, THISDAY also learnt, might have delayed his decision, because he might have commissioned a poll on his best bet, result of which he was still awaiting.

Relatedly, a group, the APC Integrity Group, urged Buhari, Tinubu, and the party leadership to consider a technocrat as the vice presidential candidate of the party for next year’s election.

Reliable THISDAY sources in the ruling party, explained that much as it was Tinubu’s right to choose who to work with, it was also traditional that he ran his preference through the party, more so a ruling party, whose president must equally buy into the choice.

The source further revealed Tinubu, being anxious to win the president’s support, which had not been forthcoming, was hoping to use the running mate issue to force the president’s hand.

“As you also know, the president has not really been supportive of Tinubu’s ambition,” the source said. He added, “By allowing him pick his running, he is hoping to force the president’s hand to fully back his presidential quest.”

According to the source, while Buhari has maintained dignifying neutrality in the matter, he has also shared his concern with the Tinubu on the dangers of a Muslim-Muslim ticket, saying the current political situation in the country does not support the idea.

The source said, “It’s not true the president has stayed away from the matter of the party’s running mate. It was a different thing in 2015, when there was no president or ruling party. Now, all that the president is doing is waiting for him (Tinubu) to present his short list of candidates.”

This conversation, among others, was the reason Tinubu requested to further consultation on the best winning strategy, while at the same time factoring in the country’s cultural and religious diversities.

It was also the reason, the source added, that Tinubu advanced the idea of using a ‘place holder’ to beat the June 17 deadline set by INEC, while widening the consultation for the most ideal and suitable partner in the circumstances.

The source explained that, ordinarily, Tinubu, would rather have a Muslim-Muslim ticket since it was what many considered a winning strategy, given the population of the Muslim northerners, the north west and north east, especially, in the political calculus of the nation.

In consulting on the choice of vice presidential candidate, a source close to Tinubu said the long delay might not be unconnected to the fact that Tinubu could have commissioned a poll to give a more clinical and scientific approach to selecting a running mate.

Accordimg to the source, “If I know Tinubu very well and this is not saying he had discussed this with me, he had commissioned a poll on this matter and awaiting the result. The Tinubu that I know does not take a major political decision or risk without first weighing his options and he does this by conducting a poll that will guide him and set a clear path to follow.

“However, it does not mean he could not ignore the poll in some instances, but he would like to throw his cards open and on the table first, from which he would decide which way to go. So, the delay you are seeing is most probably, because the poll result is not out yet and he wants to be guided near-accurately by it.”

The source further stated, “No one knows yet when he would give the name of a substantive running mate or submit those shortlisted to the president. If it is true he is waiting on a poll, we don’t know when the result would be ready. But all we can say is that, soon, this phase will be over for the campaign to take centre stage.”

Another THISDAY source dismissed speculations that a recent meeting of the president and some governors of the party was to discuss the issue of running mate with them.

The source explained that the meeting between the president and the governors had nothing to do with matters of running mate but a mere appreciation visit.

The source said, “I can assure you there was no such thing. Nothing about the running mate or vice presidential candidate was on the agenda or discussed at all. The Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) only came to thank the president for his leadership and neutrality during the convention. Trust me, and the meeting lasted just 15 minutes.”

Coordinator of the APC Integrity Group, Mallam Dawu Mohammed, and Secretary, Mr. Chinsom Nwakanma, in a statement yesterday, said the 2023 elections would be keenly contested, stressing that the APC would do itself good in presenting candidates that would appeal to the people.

It noted that the 2023 elections would be totally different from 2015 and 2019 elections in which the issue of how to revamp the economy would be on the front burner.

The source said, “The APC presidential candidate and running mate must be equipped with the knowledge of global economy to be able to catch the fancy of the Nigerian electorate, especially, the youth.

When one listens to the Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi, he has a message that appeals to the youths and other Nigerians. To square up with such a candidate, the APC must consider a running mate, whose focus of governance must be that which would be desired by Nigerians.”

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