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VP slot: Tinubu snubs N’West APC govs, leaders

As the search for running mate to the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, enters a critical stage, governors and leaders of the party from the North West have kicked against the possible exclusion of the region.

This is despite the fact that the region occupies the number one position and had occupied several top positions in the country in the recent past.

Both incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari and late Umaru Yar’adua elected president in 2007, hail from the North West state of Katsina.

In 2003 and 2011, Bello Masari and Aminu Tambuwal, were elected Speakers of the House of Representatives, both hail from the North West states of Katsina and Sokoto states respectively.

And in 2010, following the death of Yar’Adua, former President Goodluck Jonathan, picked Namadi Sambo, also from North West state of Kaduna as vice president.

On the other hand, the North Central and North East, the two other geo-political zones in the North have not enjoyed the same privileges since 1999.

Daily Sun reliably gathered that Tinubu, a Muslim from the South West, has settled for a serving Muslim governor from the North East, as his running mate.

The development, it was learnt, has not gone down well with North West governors and leaders, who are insisting on getting the coveted position.

Last week, national vice chairman for North-West, Salihu Lukman, speaking on behalf of leaders from the region, boasted that they have contributed more than 39 per cent of votes recorded by the party during presidential elections in 2015 and 2019.

“Therefore, the zone resolved to aggregate its interests and vital concerns and engage accordingly with the presidential candidate of the party,” he said.

It was learnt that Tinubu’s inability to convince North West leaders to concede the position to the North East, has led to the delay in the announcement of his running mate.

An APC source told Daily Sun that series of meetings held between Tinubu’s search team and Northern leaders all settled for a North East candidate. He, however, said the stakeholders had left the choice of picking his running mate to the presidential candidate.

“The North West has the voting strength, they can roll out the drums for the APC. Bauchi, though in the North East, can swing votes for the APC because they gave votes to Buhari, twice,” the source said.

He said leaders also urged Tinubu to pick a sitting governor, who is popular in the region and viewed as a liberal Muslim by the South.

Though he declined to name the possible choice of Tinubu, he, however, said the governor is well-known within the media space in the country.

Speaking on a Muslim-Muslim ticket, which he claimed APC has settled for, he said: “Most southerners, northern minorities see APC as a Muslim party. So, going for a Muslim-Muslim ticket in the APC is a matter of enlightened self-interest. Some APC governors stood for the South getting the APC ticket and it’s payback time. It now comes to bringing out the votes.”

He ruled out the chances of Plateau Governor, Simon Lalong, or Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, both Christians from the North East, for the position.

“You take a Lalong, you take a Boss Mustapha and put them on the ballot, it’s a zero for the APC in 2023. How do they convince their voters to vote if these people are on the ballot? Shettima sincerely wants to be Chief of Staff (CoS) and he wants Zulum to stay back in Borno because if Tinubu takes Zulum as his VP, Shettima’s ambition is in jeopardy; he can’t be CoS. The relationship between the Muslim North and the Christian minorities in the North is not cordial.”

APC spokesman, Mr. Felix Morka, however, told Daily Sun on telephone that could not confirm if the presidential aspirant had settled for a running mate from the North East.

“I can’t confirm that. I can’t deny it either. So, I don’t know,” he saids.

Spokesman of Bola Ahmed Tinubu Campaign Organisation, Bayo Onanuga, was yet to respond to series of phone calls made to him on the subject as at the time of filing in this report.

By EGWU DANIEL

Chief Publisher of BLU EEAGLE MEEDIA

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