Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, said the decision as to whom the presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, would pick as his running mate lies squarely with him and his party, saying the group had little to say on the matter, but quickly added that “a combination of say Muslim/Christian ticket should have been considered.”
Afenifere said this on Sunday in reaction to the announcement by Tinubu that he had finally decided to pick former governor of Borno State, Alhaji Kashim Shettima as his running mate for the 2023 presidential poll.
The socio-political group in reaction by its spokesperson, Comrade Jare Ajayi, noted that the choice of former Borno governor as running mate to Asiwaju Tinubu was a political decision meant to score political goals meant to ensure victory for the presidential candidate.
According to Afenifere, serious politicians contesting for elective positions do so to win, saying they employ various strategies they considered as capable of helping them to realise their ambition.
This was just as the socio-political group noted that the APC flagbearer, Tinubu is a Yoruba man from the South-West while Shettima is Kanuri from the North East, adding that Tinubu is a Muslim just as his running mate, Shettima, is also a Muslim.
“Considering the fact that Nigeria is made up of Christians, Muslims, Traditionalists, and Atheists, the ideal thing would be to have occupants of the highest offices in the land not belonging to the same faith just as it was considered improper to have occupants of these offices belonging to the same tribe.
“But then, serious politicians consider a lot of things. Ability to secure a lot of votes would count. Shettima was picked by Tinubu most likely to garner votes from the huge Muslim population in the North.
“As is known, the majority of voters in the North, especially the illiterate ones, consider religion in deciding who to vote for. He also picked Shettima to satisfy the members of the Governors’ Forum (serving and former) just as the need to challenge the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, should not be discountenanced. Shettima came from the same geopolitical zone as Abubakar although they are not of the same tribe,” he stated.
Speaking further, Afenifere spokesperson, Ajayi noted that major criticism of Shettima as running mate to Tinubu choice was predicted on the basis of the president and his vice being of the same faith, Islam in this case, recalling that his stand as far back in April this year showed that the “issue of the faiths professed by our leaders become a factor in Nigeria because we have been experiencing bad governance.”
“Were we to be governed well, governed justly, equitably, and fairly, no one would have bothered about the religious inclination of the person in charge.
“But because most of those who occupy political offices in Nigeria were not fair on various yardsticks to measure good governance, that is why primordial sentiments such as tribe, religion etc became major factors,” Ajayi argued.
He, however, asserted that the ruling APC would be able to garner votes in the North East with Shettima’s choice.
“With Shettima’s choice, APC will be able to garner votes in the North East,” he asserted.