The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu and his counterpart in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar have reportedly nominated their running mates for the 2023 presidency.
According to Daily Trust, credible sources said Tinubu’s camp has narrowed down on a former governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, while Atiku’s backers are concluding talks on Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa for the position of the vice president.
Tinubu and Kashim Shettima
The sources said hat the former Lagos State governor has pencilled down the name of Shettima, who played a critical role in his campaign as his running mate.
“Asiwaju is comfortable with Senator Shettima, not only because of his contribution towards his emergence but he feels the former Borno governor is acceptable to all in the country because he has built bridges across all the divides in the country when he was governor and also when he went to the National Assembly as a senator,” he said.
Another source in the presidency said Shettima enjoys the full support of all the three APC governors in the North East geopolitical zone even as he has been supporting programmes and policies of President Muhammadu Buhari by attributing the success he recorded in Borno to the support of the president.
He said, “Buhari is not averse to the candidature of Shettima. The former Borno governor has been one of the frontline supporters of the president.
“He brought serious votes in 2015 and 2019 for the success of the president not only in Borno but in other North-East states.
“Also, the three governors in the North East (Babagana Zulum of Borno, Mai Mala Buni of Yobe and Muhammed Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe) are all sympathetic to Shettima’s candidature.
“Specifically, Zulum has said he is not interested in becoming the running mate. When Tinubu visited Maiduguri last month, Zulum pleaded that Shettima be considered as the running mate,” he said.
According to him, if considered, Shettima will make the “Tinubu presidential ticket inclusive, demographically sensitive and politically correct.
“Shettima ensured the reign of religious harmony in Borno State and spent more than a billion naira to rebuild churches destroyed by the Boko Haram terrorists and singlehandedly sponsored more Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem than Christian Benue, Plateau and Taraba,” he said.
It was however gathered that three governors who are from the North West geopolitical zone, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje (Kano), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi) and Mohammad Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa) are also eyeing the seat.
“But the fact is that the APC is looking at the direction of the North East to produce the running mate so as to deplete the chances of PDP candidate Atiku,” he said.
Atiku and Ifeanyi Okowa
Meanwhile, the presidential candidate of the PDP is set to nominate Governor Okowa for the position of vice president.
It was gathered that a committee constituted to assist Atiku in searching for a suitable running mate, chaired by General Aliyu Gusau, a former National Security Adviser (NSA), has submitted its report.
The Gusau-committee, according to our source, has recommended Okowa as well as two others – Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and Akwa Ibom State governor, Udom Emmanuel for consideration.
The source, however, said the former vice president is more comfortable with the Delta State governor given the role he played during the party’s presidential primary.
“Okowa mobilised resources for us during the primary. He is the preferred contender even though others are making case for Wike and Udom,” he said.
The report of another committee constituted to search for a suitable running mate is expected to be ready today.
The committee, comprising governors, members of the National Working Committee (NWC) and the Board of Trustees (BoT), was constituted to carry forward the assignment given to the Gusau’s committee.
When contacted, the spokesperson of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, urged Nigerians to exercise more patience as the running mate will be unveiled this week.
KanyiDaily recalls that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed June 17, as the deadline for the submission of candidates for the presidential positions.