According to Saturday PUNCH investigations, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu may name
in the coming days either Governor Babagana Zumlum of Borno State, or his predecessor Senator Kashim Shettima as his running mate.
It was discovered that Tinubu had settled for the names after a lengthy consultation.
A staunch ally to Tinubu, Nasir El Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State was also being considered, but was ultimately dropped, even though he was active in the formation of Tinubu as the party’s candidate.
On June 26, it was reported that Tinubu is currently in France. He is expected to return soon to complete the running mate issue.
APC Governors from the North-West intensified their efforts to ensure that the region had a running mate. PUNCH reported Friday that governors, governorship candidates and ministers from the North-West met in Kaduna on Thursday to express their determination to push their cause. They used their voting power as a negotiation tool.
According to the ally, Tinubu would only need to have final consultations to decide between Zulum or Shettima after he returns home. Given his performance record, especially against Boko Haram, Zulum is widely accepted in the North. Shettima was also an ally to Tinubu and he stood in support of his candidacy after Tinubu’s Abeokuta (Ogun State outburst) where he decried Tinubu’s attempts to stop his bid.
According to the source, “The race for Asiwaju’s running mate has been reduced down to two men.” These are Babagana Zulum the Governor of Borno State and Kashim Shettima the Senator representing Borno Central Senioral District. These two men should be the running mate, all things being equal.
Another source said that the candidate may settle for a governor.
He stated, “The post is likely to go to a serving governor from either the North-East nor the North-West.” However, I believe North-East is being preferred because the zone has not produced a president. We need to share votes with Vice-President Atiku Absubakar who is also from the zone and is the candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party.
“If we choose Zulum, there would be less noise about a Muslim/Muslim ticket. He would be accepted by the Christian community, I believe. He’s hardworking and could be considered for merit by the people. He will be supported by Christians. His name will be remembered all over the world.”
When asked if Abdullahi Ganduje (Governor of Kano State), was being considered for the position, the source replied in the negative. He is not being considered again. He would like it, but he’s not being considered again,” he said.
Tinubu’s media aide Mr Tunde Rahman denied Friday night media reports that Tinubu met Nyesom Wike in France.
On Thursday, the Special Adviser to Governor of Lagos State on Drainage & Water Resources, Mr Joe Igbokwe stated on his Facebook page that Wike was attending a meeting in France with Tinubu.
Igbokwe was a former spokesperson of the APC, Lagos State. He wrote: “While they are on Social Media abusing everyone, Governor Wike travels to France to meet Asiwaju. Abuse, calling names, hatred, and bigotry are not strategies. Since 2015, they hated and abhorred President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB). Now, they have transferred their aggression to Asiwaju. We will wait and watch.”
Rahman, however, dismissed Igbokwe’s position in a statement he made on Friday.
He stated, “We have witnessed a viral social-media post by one of All Progressives Congress chieftains in Lagos State and media reports emanating same about a supposed meeting between APC presidential standards-bearer Asiwaju Bola Ahmad Tinubu and His Excellency Governor Nyesom Wike from Rivers State.
“It is imperative that the record be straightened. While Asiwaju Tinubu may be in France at the moment, he did not meet Governor Wike in France or elsewhere. However, this does not diminish the fact that Governor Wike is highly regarded by the APC presidential nominee. Given Asiwaju Tinubu’s national appeal and ability to work across party lines, he is not afraid to meet any national leader if necessary.
Sydney Gbara (PDP spokesperson in Rivers State) has dismissed reports that Wike traveled to France to meet Tinubu.
He stated, “There’s nothing like it.” After working so hard for the special convention, His Excellency took a vacation and you can see how he traveled around the country to campaign. A man who has worked so hard should take some time to relax.
He has stated it many times that he is a party man. Therefore, it is not appropriate for people to suggest that he would like to meet secretly with Tinubu in France or anywhere else. He will do whatever he wants to openly. He is not a fake.”