Kashim Shettima, former governor of Borno, topped the list of 11 persons recommended to be running mate of Bola Tinubu, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), by a committee headed by Babachir Lawal, former secretary to the government of the federation (SGF).
According to Daily Trust, the panel — planning and strategy committee of the Tinubu campaign organisation — which Lawal chaired, supervised the sub-committee that recommended the 11 persons to Tinubu.
The strategic committee was said to have been set up months ago and had Elisha Abbo, Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, James Faleke, Magnus Abe, Nuhu Ribadu, Abu Ibrahim, Grace Bent, Musa Sarkin-Adar, among others, as members.
The newspaper said the sub-committee was set up after Tinubu was elected as the APC presidential candidate with the mandate to offer advice on the choice of a running mate.
Bent was picked as the chairperson of the sub-committee and Lawal’s panel was in charge of overseeing its activities.
Sources, according to the newspaper, said the sub-committee recommended seven persons from the north-east and four persons from the north-west geopolitical zones for the vice-presidential position.
Aside from Shettima, those recommended from the north-east were Kashim Imam, Babagana Zulum, governor of Borno; Yakubu Dogara, former speaker of the House of Representatives; Amina Mohammed, deputy secretary-general of the United Nations; Fatima Balla, and Senator Manzo.
Those from the north-west are Nasiru el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna; Najatu Mohammed, deputy governor of Kaduna; Aliyu Wamakko, former governor of Sokoto, and Atiku Bagudu, governor of Kebbi.
The news organisation quoted sources as saying the sub-committee’s report “passed through” Lawal and that Tinubu picked Shettima in line with the panel’s recommendation.
“In arriving at our recommendation, we looked at all persuasions including religion, gender and acceptability. We looked at those who can add value to the ticket,” the source was quoted saying.
“He was part of the decision and the report got to the presidential candidate through him. First, we sent the soft copy of our report to Asiwaju before Babachir Lawal took the hard copy to him in London last Wednesday.”
But Lawal was said to have denied being aware of the sub-committee’s report.
“I chaired the Bola Tinubu planning and strategy committee, which was set up to implement strategies for Tinubu to pick the ticket. But I’m not aware of the sub-committee that recommended running mates. It is not our work. You know politicians can cook up anything,” Daily Trust quoted him as saying.
‘MUSLIM-MUSLIM TICKET A DISASTROUS ERROR’
Recall that Lawal criticised Tinubu’s choice of running mate, describing it as a “disastrous error”.
Tinubu had, unveiled Shettima as his running mate on Sunday. The development has elicited varied reactions from Nigerians with some condemning the former Lagos governor’s decision.
Lawal, who protested the decision on Tuesday, asked the APC to compel Tinubu to change his choice.
“I thought I will be able to avoid commenting on the disastrous error by my very good friend, Sen Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in his choice of a running mate,” he had said.