Former Borno State Governor, Senator Kashim Shettima, headlined a list of 11 persons recommended for consideration as running mate to the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, by the Planning and Strategy Committee of the Tinubu Campaign Organisation (TCO), headed by former Secretary to the Government of the Federal, Mr Babachir Lawal.
The recommendation was contained in a report of a sub-committee chaired by Senator Grace Bent, according Daily Trust.
Some members of the committee told the medium that the final report of the committee was concluded on Tuesday last week and submitted to Tinubu by Lawal, who travelled to London on Wednesday for the purpose.
It was after he received the report that the APC candidate travelled back to Nigeria where he announced the name of Shettima as his running mate, on Sunday.
Shettima was first on the list of the seven persons shortlisted from the North East zone, in addition to four others recommended from the North West.
Lawal had on Tuesday faulted the selection of Shettima as running mate to Tinubu for the February 25, 2023 presidential election.
In a statement Tuesday night, Lawal said Christians all over the country will revolt against the APC for choosing Shettima, a Muslim, to deputise Tinubu.
But contrary to his position on the Muslim-Muslim ticket and his censure of Shettima as unfit for the vice presidential role, the report showed that the committee says a Muslim-Muslim ticket will give Tinubu “guaranteed victory” and listed many Muslims for consideration.
The report however weighed the merits and demerits of Muslim-Christian and Muslim-Muslim tickets for the APC candidate and highlighted the implications of possible apathy and protest from Christians and protest from the Christian community in the event of the adoption of a Muslim running mate.
According to the report, members of the planning and strategy committee, which was constituted three months ago includeSenator Magnus Abe; pioneer Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Malam Nuhu Ribadu; Senator Abu Ibrahim; Senator Bent; Senator Ishaku Elisha Abbo; Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, Rep Abiodun Faleke, Rep Musa Sarkin-Adar, among others.
One of the members of the committee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said after the emergence of Tinubu as the flagbearer of the APC, a sub-committee was constituted to provide guidance on the selection of a running mate and director general of the campaign team.
He said Senator Bent was named as the chairperson of the sub-committee under the supervision of the main committee chaired by the former SGF.
Another member of the panel said the decision to pick Shettima was in line with the committee’s recommendation, insisting that Tinubu worked with the guidance provided.
“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,” he said.
He said that the report of the committee passed through Lawal before getting to the former Lagos State Governor.
“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 BD Lawal took the hard copy to him in London last Wednesday,” he said.
Speaking, Senator Abu Ibrahim, an ally of Tinubu and a member of the committee, confirmed the recommendation of the committee.
“Senator Shettima was selected after wide consultation. Our committee has submitted its report to Asiwaju and his name is there,” he said but declined further comment.
Ibrahim, however, assured that “there is no cause for alarm on a Muslim-Muslim ticket. I can assure you, Asiwaju will be fair and just to all.”
El-Rufai, Wamakko, Dogara, others recommended
The committee recommended seven persons from the North East and four persons from the North West geopolitical zones.
The panel did not recommend any person from the North Central geopolitical zone.
Panel members said the North Central was not considered because the National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, hails from Nasarawa State in the geopolitical zone.
Aside from Shettima, other names on the list from the North East include Kashim Imam, an associate of Tinubu; Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammed; Ambassador Fatima Balla and Senator Anthony Manzo.
In the North West, the committee recommended Hajiya Najatu Mohammed; Kaduna State Governor, Nasiru El-Rufai; former governor of Sokoto State, Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, and Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu.
Reacting, Lawal confirmed chairing the planning and strategy committee in an interview with the medium. He, however, added that he was not aware of any sub-committee.
“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,” he said.