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Monday, June 20, 2022

Politics of running mate’s selection

 Politics of running mate’s selection


SIR: Since the conduct of national convention by political parties, a prominent issue that caught the attention of Nigerians is how the presidential candidates that emerged would pick up their running mates. In a bid to beat the INEC’s June 17 deadline for the submission of running mates, the opposition PDP, after consultation and political calculation, picked Governor Okowa of Delta State as running mate to its candidate, Atiku Abubakar.  However, his selection appears to have surprised many Nigerians who assumed that, Governor Nyesom Wike who polled second, would have been compensated with vice president slot.

Days after, attention shifted to the ruling APC to see how it would pick its own candidate. In the meantime, the party, in the aftermath of the emergence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as its candidate, has submitted the name of Ibrahim Kabiru Masari who was the party’s welfare secretary, when Adam Oshiomhole was the national chairman of the party.

Since the return of democracy, it is noteworthy that the positions of president and vice president are customarily shared between the adherents of two dominant faiths in the country (Muslim/Christian). The country missed a golden opportunity to lay the issue to rest in June 12 1992, when Chief Moshood Abiola, a Yoruba Muslim who picked Babagana Kingibe a Kanuri man and fellow Muslim, had his election annulled by military administration of Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida. The sad incident has continued to haunt the country till date. If June 12 election has not been annulled, the current heated debates about the proposed Muslim-Muslim ticket by APC would not have raised an eyebrows let alone generate tension.

Aftrer more than two decades of our civil rule, the country remains fragmented and polarized along our fault lines. Even government’s policies and programmes are being viewed through ethnic and religious lenses. There is deep suspicious between the two religions. I apportion blames entirely to our ruling elite who mixed religion with politics. It is the reason why the country cannot rule out hate and mistrust among the diverse ethnic and religious groups in the country. Every leader that emerges is judged by his faith or the numbers of appointees from his religion or region.

While it is important at least to reflect equity and justice, that political parties balance their tickets, it is worth reminding that there are other plum positions such as senate president, speaker, and secretary to the government of the federation which can be brought to negotiation table. The office of vice president in Nigeria is merely spare tyre as the occupant of the office becomes visible if he enjoys the support of his boss. Instead of heating up the polity with who will be the vice president, why can we vote the candidates based on their track record or party manifestos?

Ibrahim Mustapha,
Pambegua Kaduna State.

 

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