Although it is the constitutional prerogative of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, to choose his running mate for the 2023 presidential poll, a final decision has yet to be taken. Tinubu has not presented a list of his preferred persons to President Muhammadu Buhari for deliberation and ratification, a competent party source said.
But Tinubu,according to report , might have delayed his decision, because he might have commissioned a poll on his best bet, result of which he was still awaiting.
Relatedly, a group, the APC Integrity Group, urged Buhari, Tinubu, and the party leadership to consider a technocrat as the vice presidential candidate of the party for next year’s election.
Sources in the ruling party, explained that much as it was Tinubu’s right to choose who to work with, it was also traditional that he ran his preference through the party, more so a ruling party, whose president must equally buy into the choice.
The source further revealed Tinubu, being anxious to win the president’s support, which had not been forthcoming, was hoping to use the running mate issue to force the president’s hand.
“As you also know, the president has not really been supportive of Tinubu’s ambition,” the source said. He added, “By allowing him pick his running, he is hoping to force the president’s hand to fully back his presidential quest.”
According to the source, while Buhari has maintained dignifying neutrality in the matter, he has also shared his concern with the Tinubu on the dangers of a Muslim-Muslim ticket, saying the current political situation in the country does not support the idea.
The source said, “It’s not true the president has stayed away from the matter of the party’s running mate. It was a different thing in 2015, when there was no president or ruling party. Now, all that the president is doing is waiting for him (Tinubu) to present his short list of candidates.”
This conversation, among others, was the reason Tinubu requested to further consultation on the best winning strategy, while at the same time factoring in the country’s cultural and religious diversities.
It was also the reason, the source added, that Tinubu advanced the idea of using a ‘place holder’ to beat the June 17 deadline set by INEC, while widening the consultation for the most ideal and suitable partner in the circumstances.
The source explained that, ordinarily, Tinubu, would rather have a Muslim-Muslim ticket since it was what many considered a winning strategy, given the population of the Muslim northerners, the north west and north east, especially, in the political calculus of the nation.
In consulting on the choice of vice presidential candidate, a source close to Tinubu said the long delay might not be unconnected to the fact that Tinubu could have commissioned a poll to give a more clinical and scientific approach to selecting a running mate.
Accordimg to the source, “If I know Tinubu very well and this is not saying he had discussed this with me, he had commissioned a poll on this matter and awaiting the result. The Tinubu that I know does not take a major political decision or risk without first weighing his options and he does this by conducting a poll that will guide him and set a clear path to follow.
“However, it does not mean he could not ignore the poll in some instances, but he would like to throw his cards open and on the table first, from which he would decide which way to go. So, the delay you are seeing is most probably, because the poll result is not out yet and he wants to be guided near-accurately by it.”
The source further stated, “No one knows yet when he would give the name of a substantive running mate or submit those shortlisted to the president. If it is true he is waiting on a poll, we don’t know when the result would be ready. But all we can say is that, soon, this phase will be over for the campaign to take centre stage.”
Another source dismissed speculations that a recent meeting of the president and some governors of the party was to discuss the issue of running mate with them.
The source explained that the meeting between the president and the governors had nothing to do with matters of running mate but a mere appreciation visit.
The source said, “I can assure you there was no such thing. Nothing about the running mate or vice presidential candidate was on the agenda or discussed at all. The Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) only came to thank the president for his leadership and neutrality during the convention. Trust me, and the meeting lasted just 15 minutes.”
Coordinator of the APC Integrity Group, Mallam Dawu Mohammed, and Secretary, Mr. Chinsom Nwakanma, in a statement yesterday, said the 2023 elections would be keenly contested, stressing that the APC would do itself good in presenting candidates that would appeal to the people.
It noted that the 2023 elections would be totally different from 2015 and 2019 elections in which the issue of how to revamp the economy would be on the front burner.
The source said, “The APC presidential candidate and running mate must be equipped with the knowledge of global economy to be able to catch the fancy of the Nigerian electorate, especially, the youth.
“When one listens to the Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi, he has a message that appeals to the youths and other Nigerians. To square up with such a candidate, the APC must consider a running mate, whose focus of governance must be that which would be desired by Nigerians.”
Wike meets PDP senators, Orubebe
The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike on Thursday received the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leadership in the Senate in Rumuepirikom, his country home in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state.
The PDP delegation was led by the Senate Minority Leader, Philip Aduda.
Also a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe met with Wike
Orubebe recently resigned from the Peoples Democratic Party.
In attendance at the meeting were the Senate Minority Whip, Chukwuka Utazi; Shuaibu Lau, Danjuma La’ah and Barry Mpigi.
A Government House source said the senators arrived at the governor’s residence some minutes past 3pm and immediately went into a closed door with their host.
The outcomes of the separate meetings were not made public.
ADC presidential candidate denies tax fraud allegations in US
The presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Dumebi Kachikwu, has denied allegations of tax fraud in the United States.
Kachikwu said this in a statement on Wednesday titled, ‘Allegations of tax evasion, fraud against me untrue, politically motivated’.
The presidential candidate said the allegations were propagated by his political opponents who were unhappy with his victory at the ADC Presidential primary.
The Roots TV boss, therefore, asked supporters to ignore online reports that the US government had indicted him for tax evasion running into millions of dollars.
The statement read in part, “A few days ago, my campaign team received information that one of the aspirants who lost out in the just concluded ADC presidential primaries was planning a series of smear campaigns against me.
“I was therefore not surprised when I saw this story. Contrary to the information being peddled, I was assessed an additional $9m several years ago by the US Inland Revenue Service.
“This amount was reduced to $2m and when the IRS sued to collect the amount, my lawyers didn’t contest it and instead waited for a default judgement in order to go to the next stage which is making an offer in compromise to reduce the amount to be paid. This is a standard legal practice in tax matters.”
Kachikwu also denied allegations that he delivered a bribe to convicted US Congressman, William Jefferson.
The ADC candidate said rather, he was the one who reported the former Congressman to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The statement further read, “(The report) claimed I had delivered a $100,000 cash bribe to curry the favour of the former US Congressman. This is another lie as multiple evidence abounds online clearly showing I was the victim who reported the US congressman to the EFCC and the FBI for defrauding my company.
“I have now instructed my lawyers to sue all digital media organisations who participated in the dissemination of this falsehood.”
The Roots TV boss said he was sure of victory in next year’s Presidential election.
Kachikwu, who is a younger brother to a former Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, surprisingly defeated a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Kingsley Moghalu, to win the ADC’s Presidential ticket.
Kwankwaso’s party gains one, Labour Party another as senators defect from APC, PDP
Two Senators on Wednesday announced their defection from their former political parties to another party ahead of the 2023 general election.
The Senators are: Francis Ezenwa Onyewusi representing Imo East Senatorial district and Haliru Dauda Jika representing Bauchi Central Senatorial district.
Their defection was made known by the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan during a plenary on Wednesday.
While Senator Francis Onyewusi who is a first-timer to the Senate was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and defected to Labour Party (LP), his counterpart in Bauchi was a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) before he defected to the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).
The defected Senators cited injustice and inequity in their former political parties that made them fail the primary elections.
On Tuesday, three All Progressives Congress (APC) senators defected to other political parties.
Ahmad Babba Kaita, senator representing Katsina north; Lawal Yahaya Gumau, senator representing Bauchi north, and Francis Alimikhena, senator representing Edo north, all defected to other parties.
Kaita, who represents President Muhammadu Buhari’s senatorial district, defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) alongside Alimikhena.Advertisement
Gumau defected to the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), a party led by Rabiu Kwankwaso, former governor of Kano state.
The defectors have cited “marginalisation” and unfair treatment by their former parties as the reason for joining new parties.
Most of them were seeking reelection, but lost their tickets in their former parties.
The number of APC senators now stands at 66.
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