Exclusive: How Governor Zulum Stepped Down For Shettima As Tinubu’s Running Mate

2 years ago
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Senator Kashim Shettima’s emergence as running mate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was as a result of Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum’s insistence on stepping down for his political master, Prime Business Africa exclusively reports.

Prime Business Africa gathered that the APC had zoned vice presidential candidate slot to northeast, with the governors apparently prevailing on Tinubu that one of them should be chosen as the running mate.

A source privy to the matter disclosed that after series of consultations, it was narrowed down to Prof. Zulum who, however, said he would only accept the offer if Shettima, his predecessor and godfather was not interested in running.

It was learnt that efforts by colleague governors to convince Zulum to accept the offer despite his loyalty to his predecessor, Shettima accounted for the delay in announcing Tinubu’s running mate and the use of place holder, Kabiru Ibrahim Masari as first reported by Prime Business Africa.

READ ALSO: EXCLUSIVE: Tinubu Picks Buhari’s Kinsman, Masari As ‘Tentative’ Vice President

At Daura the home town of President Muhammadu Buhari in Katsina, on Sunday, Tinubu, while briefing journalist, declared Shettima as his running mate, following the withdrawal of the placeholder, Masari earlier in the day. Masari was earlier nominated in order to meet the deadline of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for submission of lists of party nominated candidates.

While the internal political horse-trading for the selection of substantive vice presidential candidate was ongoing, the issue of Muslim-Muslim ticket arose, generating reactions across the country by individuals and groups who supported and opposed it. Those who opposed it said Nigeria is a multi-religious state and the VP should be a Christian to balance and reflect the diversity. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) rejected the decision of APC to field a Muslim-Muslim ticket in 2023 election, arguing that the situation in the country is not suitable for that and that it is left for Nigerians to accept or reject it.

Tinubu while announcing his running mate, said his choice of Shettima was not based on ethnic, religious or regional affiliation but he believes that the senator is qualified to help him actualize his dream of tackling the developmental challenges in the country.

His words, “I am mindful of the energetic discourse concerning the possible religion of my running mate. Just and noble people have talked to me about this. Some have advised that I should select a Christian to please the Christian community. Others have said I should pick a Muslim to appeal to the Muslim community. Clearly, I cannot do both.

“Both sides of the debate have impressive reasons and passionate arguments supporting their position. Both arguments are right in their own way. But neither is right in the way that Nigeria needs at the moment. As president, I hope to govern this nation towards uncommon progress. This will require innovation. It will require steps never before taken. It will also require decisions that are politically difficult and rare.

“If I am to be that type of president, I must begin by being that type of candidate. Let me make the bold and innovative decision not to win political points but to move the nation and our party’s campaign closer to the greatness that we were meant to achieve.

“Here is where politics ends, and true leadership must begin. Today, I announce my selection with pride because I have made it not based on religion or to please one community or the other. I made this choice because I believe this is the man who can help me bring the best governance to all Nigerians, period, regardless of their religious affiliation or considerations of ethnicity or region.”

Shettima, was a governor of Borno from 2011 to 2019 when he got elected as senator representing Borno Central Senatorial District.

Zulum apparently stepped down to play obeisance to Shettima, his political principal who supported him in becoming the governor of the northeastern state and handed over to him in May 2019.

Zulum, in a statement released through his media office from Saudi Arabia, congratulated Shettima his “mentor” on the nomination, saying he received the announcement with “greatest joy.”

The governor said, “Shettima’s choice is very personal to me and together with our leaders and all stakeholders and members of the APC, we shall campaign vigorously, work day and night, to collectively secure overwhelming victory for the APC in 2023, Insha’Allah.”

He described Shettima as a patriotic person and a politician who has deep understanding of the country and its complexities, adding that the former Lagos State governor made a good choice.

 


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