Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, launched their search for running mates on Wednesday.
In a chat with one of our correspondents, Mr Bayo Onanuga, a spokesman for the Tinubu Campaign Organization, said the APC presidential candidate will meet with APC governors, who would choose the former Lagos State governor’s running mate.
Tinubu is expected to meet with party leaders, including National Chairman Senator Abdullahi Adamu, before the end of the week, according to reports.
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Atiku held a closed-door meeting with the PDP governors in Abuja on Wednesday to discuss the party’s vice presidential candidate, as Tinubu launched his search for a running mate.
At the APC presidential primary, which started on Tuesday and was rounded off on Wednesday, Tinubu garnered 1,271 votes to clinch the party’s presidential ticket.
The Chairman of the Convention Election Management Committee, Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State, at Eagle Square, Abuja announced that a former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, got 316 votes; the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, 235 votes; a former Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, one vote; Senator Rochas Okorocha and Pastor Tunde Bakare got zero vote each.
On Monday, northern governors had insisted on power shift to the South despite the national chairman’s endorsement of the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, from the North-East, as the party’s consensus candidate.
Tinubu, in his acceptance speech after his victory, said those who did not support him should not be afraid.
He further said, “Our teeming youth population is our nation’s greatest asset. We will create jobs for our youth from the Zamfara and Osun gold deposits to the vast agricultural lands across the country. We will create new opportunities in the Fintech sector, the creative and entertainment industries, digital skills and other areas.”
But there were strong indications on Wednesday that both Tinubu and Atiku had started searching for their running mates ahead of the Independent National Electoral Commission’s June 17 deadline for parties to submit their candidates’ lists.
According Onanuga statement he stated that Tinubu already had an arrangement with the APC governors that if he emerged the candidate of the party, the governors would decide the person to pick.
According to him, Tinubu prefers a collective responsibility than doing it on his own.
The spokesman stated, “The Vice-President can come from any region and religion. But the PGF is at liberty to pick. Till now , we are all aware that Atiku has not chosen a VP. And this case it should be a party affair.
The party leaders will look at the chances and decide how they will balance a Muslim from the South, maybe with somebody that comes from North- East, North-Central and North-West for everything to be balance in the system, I cannot circumvent the party.
Asked when Tinubu might likely meet with the governors, Onanuga stressed that though a date had not been chosen, it would not take long.
“Already, he has a cordial relationship with virtually all of them. You will also have to understand that he has just picked the presidential ticket. I am also sure that this issue of picking the right candidate for VP will be in the minds of the party leadership and the APC governors too.
“Presently,we just want to pause and take a rest from the stress of the just-concluded campaign.”
An aide of the Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, Also said that the presidential candidate would meet with northern governors in Abuja before the weekend. “The issue of the vice-presidential candidate has been settled even before the presidential primary.
From all indications, things are moving according to plans while the elders from the North-West had suggested one of the popular and loyal party members as his deputy.”
The Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, said the running mate to presidential candidate of the APC might come from the North-East geopolitical zone.
Few hours after the presidential primary of the APC on Wednesday, Ado-Doguwa said the vice-presidential candidate might come from the North-East while the leadership of the ruling party would deliberate on the religion factor.
Atiku and some APC governors have congratulated Tinubu on his emergence as the APC presidential candidate.
The Kano State Governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, in a statement, said the former Lagos State Governor “has the capacity to provide the needed leadership that would consolidate and continue to ensure the country’s democratic gains.”
On their part, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; and the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, lauded Tinubu.
However Lanre Lasisi, described Tinubu as his mentor and dogged democrat.
Chief Press Secretary, Umar Puma, the deputy speaker described the primary that produced Tinubu as APC’s candidate as one of the most transparent in the country.
The APC governorship candidate in Benue State, Rev. Fr Hyacinth Alia, in a statement by his media aide, Donald Kumun, said that Tinubu’s emergence followed through a democratic global best practice and expressed the confidence that Nigerians would vote massively for him.
The Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, commended the President, Major General Buhari (retd.) for producing a good successor.
AbdulRazaq, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye, described the emergence of Tinubu as truly deserving.
The APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, said the ‘overwhelming’ votes received by Tinubu, showed that the APC had a nationalistic disposition.
Adamu’s view was contained in a statement issued by his media aide, Muhammed Lawal, in Abuja.
He stated, “I write on behalf of the entire membership of the All Progressives Congress to congratulate Your Excellency on the sterling victory that you recorded at the just concluded special national convention to emerge as the presidential candidate of our great party.
“Your victory has vindicated our party’s nationalistic outlook and patriotic posture as the party of choice for every Nigerian. I am pleased that the party spoke with one voice when the delegates voted overwhelmingly to nominate you as our presidential candidate.
“It is my sincere hope and prayer that our collaborative efforts between the party’s national secretariat and your presidential campaign team will proceed with the shared expectations of victory at the 2023 general elections, by the grace of God,” he said.
The Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, commended Buhari and other APC leaders for the smooth conduct of the primary.
Akeredolu, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Richard Olatunde, on Wednesday, stated, “The contest was a brotherly scramble. The aspirants, and leaders of our great party must now leverage on our political strength to build the party and reposition it for even greater victory.”
A former Governor of Sokoto State, Senator Aliyu Wamakko, described the victory of Tinubu as well-deserved “considering Tinubu’s years of working for the entrenchment and strengthening of democracy in Nigeria.”
Wamakko, said, “With Tinubu’s victory, the APC stands a good chance of retaining power in 2023, considering his years of contributions to Nigeria’s development. His emergence is a victory for democracy and Nigerians as a whole.”
Meanwhile, Lawan’s campaign staff claims that the Senate President did not take the APC presidential candidate’s words personally because “he must have spoken based on the enthusiasm of the moment.”
During his speech, Tinubu took a shot at Lawan for running against him, saying that the senator may now lick his wounds.
“What has happened has happened,” Lawan’s campaign manager, Iyke Ekeoma, said. “I am sure they know what to do amongst themselves in the party.”
“The fact is that it’s a political issue, and Senator Lawan will work for the party, while the Senate will work for the country.” They won’t take it personally, I don’t believe.”
“Congratulations, @officialABAT, on your emergence as your party’s presidential candidate,” Atiku said on Twitter. It was a tough fight, but you came out on top, demonstrating your perseverance.”
Mudashiru Obasa, Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, described the election results as well-deserved in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Eromosele Ebhomele.
Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, the Deputy Senate President, voiced optimism in Tinubu’s victory in next year’s presidential election in a statement released by his Director of Communications and Media Strategy, Ima Niboro.
Muhammadu Yahaya, the governor of Gombe State, praised Tinubu’s selection procedure.
Yahaya emphasized that his triumph was a result of Tinubu’s years of personal devotion, sacrifice, tenancy, political experience, and service to the nation through Ismaila Misilli, Director General, Press Affairs, Government House.
Dr Kayode Fayemi, the governor of Ekiti State, who stood down for Tinubu on Tuesday, said Tinubu’s victory demonstrated his dedication, competence, and capacity to lead Nigeria.
Chief Ede Dafinone, the APC senatorial candidate for Delta Central Senatorial District, praised Tinubu’s election as the party’s presidential candidate.
“Tinubu has the capacity to take Nigeria to the next level,” Dafinone said in a signed press statement if Tinubu is elected president.
Meanwhile, the PDP governors have stepped up their efforts to choose Atiku’s running mate.Following a closed-door meeting in Abuja, the governors assured press that they were working to ensure the selection of the proper running partner and how to reclaim power.
“We talked about cooperation and collaboration in prosecuting a very successful electioneering campaign that will result in victories for the PDP at various elections from the state Houses of Assembly, national election, governorship, and presidential election come February, 2023,” Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal told journalists after the meeting.
The group deliberated on who will be Atiku’s running mate, according to a statement issued by the governor’s media aide, Muhammad Bello, without elaborating on the matter that the governor told newsmen.
“The situation is quite difficult right now,” said Sylvester Akhaine, a professor in the Department of Political Science at Lagos State University, Ojo. The variety of the country must be respected. He’ll have to deftly negotiate the rumors of a Muslim-Muslim ticket. Religion, race, class, and finally alignment must all be taken into account.”
Mr Olugbenga Agboola, a lecturer at Caleb University’s Department of Political Science and International Relations in Imota, Lagos, said, “We must consider the variety of this nation.” He’ll need to think about a northerner and choose someone from the core north; the person must also be a Christian. I know he’s a brilliant strategist who’s done his study on this.”