Soon after the declaration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the winner of the APC presidential primary election on the 8th instant, a heated debate as to who his running mate will be ensued. This is profoundly because BAT is not only a southerner by region, he is also a Muslim by faith. Therefore, unlike a southern Christian who can easily pick a northern Muslim as running mate, BAT will have to look at the whole scenario for the second time before making any decision.
This is especially so because while on one hand, the APC presidential standard bearer will have to look at the issue of balance in faith on the APC presidential ticket, BAT will on the other hand have to consider where the votes really are. And interestingly, these two issues cannot be addressed by one resolution. It is clearly the kind of situation whereby solving one problem creates another. This is where the dilemma is.
If BAT picks a northern Christian, he is certainly going to lose the votes in the north including those of Kaduna, Kano and Katsina states. On the other hand, if he picks a northern Muslim, BAT can be sure of the votes of the north including those of the gigantic Kaduna, Kano and Katsina states. Thus, the dilemma is between choosing a northern Christian in the name of religious balance or picking a northern Muslim in the hunt for votes.
Meanwhile, being that politics is a game of numbers, the best decision will be to go for a Muslim-Muslim ticket not only because it is a sure way to get the requisite votes to win the election but also because it is feasible. History reminds us that in the 1993 presidential election, MKO Abiola ran the race with Amb. Babagana Kingibe as his running mate. And despite the Muslim/Muslim combination, that ticket is still one of the most popular one in the annals of Nigerian politics. While it may be argued that it has been 30 years since that event, it is also true that time has not changed the cultural and religious orientations of Nigerians as far as politics is concerned.
Furthermore, it is important to remember that government does not start and end with the positions of the president and his vice. There are other powerful positions that include the Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, ministers and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF). The import of this is that since compromise is a known trait in politics and therefore “give and take” is an acceptable political trade, BAT can reach out to Nigerian Christians who are also part and parcel of the country and therefore major stakeholders in the Project Nigeria to reassure them of major political appointments once he constitutes a government.
If this is achievable, then the APC, which has 22 states at its disposal and more than 15 million votes in stock can easily defeat the PDP which has its 11 million votes shared between Atiku Abubakar (PDP), Rabiu Kwankwaso (NNPP) and Peter Obi (LP), in a presidential contest.
Misau, Bauchi state.