APC Shops For Buhari’s Running-Mate

By Adedayo Ogunleye, Abuja.

High-powered deliberations on who will clinch the All Progressives Congress, APC, vice-presidential ticket have commenced following the emergence of Muhammadu Buhari yesterday as the party’s flag bearer for the 2015 presidential elections.

Political analysts suggest that given the controversy that may dog the presentation of a Muslim-Muslim or Northerner-Northerner ticket to the electorate, religion and ethnicity remain crucial factors to consider in the party’s choice of a running mate.

Those being considered for the position, according to insiders, include the Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola, his Rivers and Edo state counterparts, Rotimi Amaechi and Adams Oshiomole, former Ekiti State governor Kayode Fayemi, Olurumibe Mamoro, a former senator and Yemi Osibajo.

Political pundits tout Fashola as the perfect choice for the job citing his widely acknowledged developmental strides as governor of Lagos State as reason. Fashola, a lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, is also a politician who is popular across the country, considering what he has achieved in Lagos.

However, speculations are rife that Fayemi, who was chairman of the planning committee of the party’s recently concluded national convention, is a more plausible choice as religious considerations may discourage party chieftains from choosing Fashola.

Fashola is married to a Christian but is a practicing Muslim while Fayemi is a Christian. In a nation where politicians are known to play on religious affiliations to sway the largely highly religious electorate, these sentiments are of premium importance.

Fayemi, who recently lost his re-election bid to Ayo Fayose in Ekiti State, is considered to be an urbane politician, whose popularity extends beyond the South-west geo-political zone. He has a Ph.D degree in War Studies from the University of London, England, specializing in civil-military relations.  Prior to his foray into full-time politics, he was a key player in the civil society sector as founder and director of the Centre for Democracy & Development, a research and training institution dedicated to democratic development, peace-building and human security in Africa.

Former labour leader and present Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomole, is also being touted as a possible pick for the VP slot. Oshiomhole, rich in political experience, governance and foreign policy, is considered to be prominent among stakeholders who have committed much, through utterance and action, to the struggle to build a sustainable democracy and to foster national unity. Prior to his emergence as governor, he chaired the Nigeria Labour Congress NLC.

Rotimi Amaechi, who is the current governor of Rivers State, also stands a high chance of partnering Buhari. Widely speculated to have originally nursed an ambition of emerging as running mate to Sule Lamido on a People’s Democratic Party, PDP, ticket, his defection to the APC was heralded by sharp conflicts with powerful figures in the presidency with the ensuing crisis leading him to become one of the leading opposition party figures.

Picking Amaechi might turn out to be a masterstroke for Buhari as it might help shore up votes for the APC presidential candidate in the South south where President Jonathan comes from.

Other persons being considered for the APC’s vice president slot are Yomi Osibajo who is a professor of Law and former commissioner in Lagos State and Olorunmibe Mamora- a former senator who served two terms representing Lagos East Senatorial District.

Speaking on the dynamics that undergird the process that will determine his choice of a running mate, the APC’s flag bearer for the presidential race, Buhari said that he remains open-minded to the choice of either a Muslim or a Christian as his VP.






     

     

    “I have not absolutely closed my mind to picking a Christian or Muslim as running mate. However, I firmly believe that Nigerians, having gone through what they have gone through, should realize it is not a matter of religion, but a matter of Nigeria.

    “The main religions, Christianity and Islam, they know and they believe in the almighty God. The question of stealing and short-changing people in the name of religion should stop.

    “This new phenomenon of religion is another blackmail that political confusionists in Nigeria are bringing to the fore,” Buhari stated recently.

    While the People’s Democratic Party PDP’s candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan who emerged as the party’s consensus candidate on Thursday has announced his current Vice-President Namadi Sambo as his running mate, many observers are of the opinion that Buhari’s choice of a running mate might largely determine his chances of beating the incumbent at the polls scheduled to hold in February.

     

     

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