You are currently viewing Did Tinubu reward loyalty over competence, electoral value, and religious balance?
Share this story

In a move that could undo his aspiration and hurt the future of his party, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, yesterday, announced a former governor of Borno State and Senator representing Borno Central, Kashim Shettima, as his running mate, effectively rewarding loyalty over competence, electoral value and religious balance.

Tinubu, who had deliberately stalled the pick of a presidential running mate, on account of the need for more time to further consult, has by this decision, called the bluff of the Christian community, which had been pushing for a representation on the APC ticket and boxed his party into an unsavoury position in the political calculus of 2023.

Unfortunately, he has also by this deliberate decision, thrown the party into unintended crisis as some of the APC governors and other members as well as stakeholders of the party, have started to react to the development, with a majority of them describing his move as a miscalculation.
The choice of Shettima has since yesterday come under serious attack immediately it was announced. This is because, aside being governor for eight years, a period that could hardly birth any outstanding development strides, nothing seemed to have qualified Shettima more than the others that were bypassed for him, especially, the governors from the North West.

Therefore, if it was about competence and capacity for the job, there was no way Shettima could have defeated other preferable choices from areas with better electoral value.

Put in context, his electoral value, as at the 2019 elections, the voting strength of North West alone was over 20 million, representing some 24% of the national spread, while the North East boasted a little over 11 million votes, which represented 13.44%.

Yet, the only vote that Shettima is known and able to bring to the table is the Kanuri vote, which, sadly, is less than 5%, unlike the other states in the North West and some parts of the North East, which boast the same ethnic stock as Hausa/Fulani and naturally vote along that stretch.


Instructively, if the votes from Bauchi and Adamawa States, were added to those of North West since they are of the same ethnic stock – Hausa/Fulani –  and who are wont to vote the same way, the total voting strength of the North West, would go up by some reasonable percentages, and depleting whatever the extrapolations for North East.

In fact, the only reason Borno did well in the 2019 election was the factor of the former Chief of Army Staff, Yusuf Tukur Buratai, who was determined for President Muhammadu Buhari to return and had helped to set up IDP camps for people of the state to enable them to vote, else, the voting pattern in Borno was not enough to earn Shettima the number two slot.


Talking about religious balance, which has also become an even more sensitive issue, given the rise in terrorism and other forms of insecurity, believed to have assumed a religious slant, the choice of Shettima has been considered even more insensitive to the current realities in the country as much as the existential fault lines.

But, Tinubu, who was in Daura, Katsina State, yesterday, to spend time with President Buhari, during the Eid-el-Kabir celebration, also seized the opportunity of the visit to talk about his partner, stating that, the spirit of the 1993 presidential election, which presented the nation with a rare Muslim-Muslim combination, had come upon the nation in the 2023 polls.


Although inside sources claimed that, Tinubu, had long submitted a list of possible running mates to the president for some time now, on which Buhari had refused to act, Tinubu, then, seized the initiative since the deadline is Friday, July 15, and formally announced Shettima before the cutoff date.
Expectedly, the announcement has begun to create a row in the party, as some of the governors, who worked tirelessly to ensure Tinubu clinched the ticket, considered the manner he broke the news ‘arrogant’ and against the understanding he had with them.
To this end, the governors, a majority of them from the North West, who did not have issues with the choice of Shettima but how Tinubu ignored all the understanding they shared to announce the name, have scheduled to visit the president in Daura, tomorrow to formally register their displeasure, before taking further steps.

But that appears to be the start of a new crisis for Tinubu as some members of the party have started to react to the development. While Senator Ishaku Abbo from Adamawa State, has allegedly resigned from all Tinubu’s campaign groups, another member of the party and legal practitioner, Bwala Daniel, has resigned from the party, because Tinubu’s choice was insensitive to the unity of the country.
This, nonetheless, other party stakeholders, including the governors, were said to have got into another battle of a sort with Tinubu over his suggestion that he would not mind making a former national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, the director-general of his presidential campaign, as they all objected to the idea.

At the same time, the Presiding Bishop, Christian Global Network, (CGN), Taiwo Akinola, has stated that the same-faith ticket embraced by the APC and its candidate, Tinubu, would further entrench national division because the church was deeply concerned about the potential consequences of such an arrangement, “thus, we hereby speak up against it before it becomes too late.”

The APC presidential candidate had earlier sent the name of a former Welfare Secretary of the party, Ibrahim Kabir Masari, as his placeholder for running mate, just to beat the deadline set by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).


But, Tinubu, yesterday, unveiled finally Shettima, after Masari had announced his standing down as the temporary running mate, in a statement.
Tinubu, who first spoke with journalists after meeting with the president, said he had spoken with  Masari, whose name was submitted as a ‘placeholder’ to enable him and the APC to meet the June 17 deadline set by the INEC for political parties to submit the names of their candidates and running mates.
Noting that he was in Daura to pay Sallah homage to the President, Tinubu added he was there: “To equally, discuss the question of my running mate, substantive. One of them withdraw today, I mean, the only one as a placement, withdraw today and there had been already an announcement to replace him fully with substantive. I have already spoken with him (Masari) today to be replaced by a substantive running mate.”

Asked who the substantive candidate is, the two-time former governor of Lagos State responded unequivocally: “Kashim Shettima,” adding: “I have not discussed with him, I have disclosed it to you since I’ve disclosed it to the President,” adding that the choice was based on the competence of the candidate.
While stressing that the APC would win the 2023 election, he said he selected Shettima,” because he is competent, capable, reliable and able.”
When asked if APC was in the right condition to win the election, the standard-bearer said, “We are gonna win. Insha Allah. We’re gonna win.”
Prodded further on why so much confidence, Tinubu replied: “Because we are a progressive party. We are focused on Nigeria’s problem and we face the challenge squarely. We are not running from it. We have a better programme for the people and about the people and are ready to serve. Within a short period of time, there will be a good foundation on infrastructure.”


On the challenges of terrorism facing the country, he admitted the problem but added that to solve it, you have to be a good thinker and observer.
“We face challenges of terrorism. We know that. It’s only a poor thinker and observer that will not recognise the challenge. But once you recognise the challenge, you can prepare yourself very well to tackle it and defeat it. And that is what our party is all about.”
Soon after dropping the hint, Tinubu issued a detailed statement on his new partner and why he settled for him.

Why I Chose Shettima, Explains APC Presidential Candidate

Lennox Mall

“Fellow Nigerians, we enter a moment of renewed hope. We hold the chance to move the nation and our collective cause forward as never before. Let us seize this moment so that history may write kindly of us. It is time to focus with utmost devotion and love of country to do all we can do to advance the ideals of democratic and progressive good governance in the land.

“We must end poverty and bring greater prosperity and more lasting peace. Let us be wise of thought yet courageous in action, as we embark on a collective enterprise that brings jobs, education, food, medicine, hope and belief in a better life to those who need them.
“I stand ready to begin this journey with you, hopefully, to lead the nation on this needed path as your next President by the grace of God. I believe this is a pivotal moment at which the dynamics of history and destiny call us forth to reshape our beloved nation. This is our moment.


“We all must answer the nation’s call. For some, this requires of us that we step forward, assuming new roles and responsibilities. For others, it may mean something else. For all of us, it requires that we dedicate ourselves to the collective national task as never before.
“To re-envision and reshape the nation, I must compose the best team possible, a team put together with but one overriding purpose: to forever establish just, capable, and compassionate governance for the people of Nigeria without regard to religion, region, or ethnic origin.  

“In full compliance with existing law and regulation, I submitted all necessary documents regarding my nomination as the APC presidential candidate to INEC. But, as was expected, the choice of my Vice Presidential running mate remained an open and burning question. This gave rise to much speculation and debate.
“Recent events (the voluntary withdrawal of my dear friend and brother Ibrahim Masari)mean that I am called upon, today, to put an end to the speculation. I have never been an indecisive man and have no present intention to become one.  


“What I am, however, is a democrat. And a democrat must listen to, and consult with, the people and his advisors so that he may reform and govern wisely and on their behalf. This I have done. My political career was not built on blind indifference to the views of others.
“I appreciate the perspectives of leading members of the party, political allies and key national figures who see Nigeria’s future as I do. They gave me their views so that I might add their valuable insights to mine to reach the best decision possible and do so in a manner that strengthens the institutional fabric of our party as well as accelerates the evolution of our political democracy.

“Having now listened to the sage, careful advice of a broad section of the party and of the nation, there are a few points I feel I must make about the exceptional and extraordinary person with whom I will share the APC ticket and the principles of open and good governance that informed this choice.
“I realize the momentous times we have entered. I know what lies in the balance. I also know that our political choices and activities send both intended and unintended signals to portions of the Nigerian electorate.  
“All my life, my decisions regarding the team around and supporting me have always been guided by the principles of competence, innovation, compassion, integrity, fairness, and adherence to excellence.

“Our focus, therefore, must be on getting the job done; and that means getting the very best and competent people to do it. In this crucial moment, where so much is at stake, we must prioritize leadership, competence, and the ability to work as a team over other considerations.
“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 counselled 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 reason 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 toward 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.


“This is why, today, I announce the selection of Senator Kashim Shettima as my partner and running mate in the mission to advance and reclaim the fortunes of this great country and the hopes of its people.

“Senator Kasim Shettima’s career in politics and beyond shows that he is eminently qualified not only to deliver that all-important electoral victory but, also, to step into the shoes of the vice president. As a man with talent, maturity, the strength of character, and patriotism he has my implicit confidence and faith.
“I am aware that many will continue to focus on a particular detail, the question of his faith. However, if we truly understand the challenges upon us a nation, then we must also see the imperative of placing competence in governance above religious sentiment.
“In 1993, Nigerians embrace Chief MKO Abiola and a fellow Muslim running mate, Baba Gana Kingibe in one of our fairest elections ever held. The spirit of 1993 is upon us again in 2023.

“As such, the ticket we present today represents a milestone in our political history. It symbolizes our party’s determination to be a leading light among political parties in Africa. The democratic process and the decorum that characterised our presidential primaries and the selection of our vice-presidential candidate exemplify why we are the party of the people and of the betterment of their future.  
“With this selection, the All Progressives Congress surely shall continue to be the party that shows the way and carries this nation towards its best future. I implore you all to join me on this journey to a brighter future.”
But the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), has said it was left for the Nigerian electorate to decide on the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket.
In it’s a reaction to the announcement by Tinubu that he had settled for a Muslim running mate, the Media Assistant to the CSN president, Adebayo Ayodeji, said: “It is clear that the situation in the country now is not conducive for a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“It is up to Nigerians to accept or reject. Today’s Nigeria is not the same when Nigerians voted Abiola-Kingibe ticket, which was eventually annulled. Our prayers are with Nigeria and Nigerians.”

Yet, in his reaction, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, SAN, who said, “HE Sen. Kashim Shettima is the perfect choice as VP”, described him thus: “Quintessential banker and economist, suave gentleman and politician, intellectually fertile, economically sound, intergenerationally mobile (he’s young, yet experienced), fiercely loyal, phenomenally complimentary to @officialABAT.”

Governors Angry over Decision, Meet Buhari Today in Daura

Some APC governors, who were unhappy with the announcement of Kashi Shettima by Bola Tinubu as his running mate, have scheduled to meet with President Buhari today in Daura, to formally register their displeasure before taking the next step.
THISDAY gathered that the governors and Tinubu had been back and forth on the choice of running mate, and while they were naturally opposed to the idea of two former governors pairing, they had started considering pandering to Tinubu since his sentiment appealed to Shettima.
But to do this, the governors were said to have agreed with Tinubu that the unveiling would be done with the present, to show consent and agreement.
However, going ahead to announce as if they did not matter in the equation, more so that some of them were uncomfortable with the Muslim-Muslim idea, has further angered them. But they first wanted to intimate the president with this before deciding what to do next.
Aside the governors, Senator Abbo, from Adamawa, who was on some of the Tinubu support groups and committees, has sent a scathing message to the group, in which he expressed his disappointment in Tinubu, for going against popular counsel to choose a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
Abbo, who promised to formally send in his letters today, said if as an ordinary citizen, Tunubu has refused to listen to counsel, then, he would be worse as president and subsequently resigned his membership of all the committees.

Similarly, a lawyer and member of the party, Daniel, who tweeted via his verified account @BwalaDaniel, immediately after the unveiling of Shettima, posted: “Tonight, I officially resigned my membership of @OfficialAPCng on principles and conviction that I hold so dear. At this time of our national existence, our efforts and energy should gravitate towards uniting our people

“Asiwaju has announced Kashim Shettima as his running mate. Kwankwaso is planning to announce a Pentecostal bishop as his running mate. Interesting times lie ahead.”

Masari Stands Down, Writes Tinubu

Masari, while stepping down yesterday, in a statement, stated: “This is to inform our esteemed party leaders under our able President Muhammadu Buhari, teeming party members and the great people of Nigeria, of the outcome of a crucial discussion I just had with the flag-bearer of our great party, All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“Recall that I had the singular honour and privilege of being nominated as the running mate to Asiwaju Tinubu last month after a keenly contested presidential primary ahead of the 2023 general elections.

“But, after much reflection and wider consultations, I now wish to step down. I realised that my decision will enable Asiwaju have more latitude to give more accommodation and inclusion that will position our party to win the coming elections, with the support of the people of Nigeria.
“In stepping down, I believe I can still serve our party and the country in several other capacities. I wish to confirm that I have submitted my withdrawal letter and affidavit to that effect as the Vice Presidential Candidate to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed TInubu in the coming elections.
“On behalf of myself and family, I wish to sincerely thank Asiwaju Tinubu — the Incoming President, Insha Allah — for his trust in me and we promise to remain steadfast in our support for him and the party.”

Interim National Coordinator of Bola Tinubu Campaign Organisation, Honorable James Faleke, also confirmed Masari’ withdrawal as Tinubu’s running-mate.
Faleke’s words, “This is to inform and confirm that Alhaji Ibrahim Masari has stepped down as Vice Presidential nominee to the flag-bearer of APC in the 2023 presidential elections, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“Alhaji Masari has communicated his decision to us from Saudi Arabia where he is presently performing the lesser hajj. While saluting Alhaji Masari’s sacrifice, we believe this will give Asiwaju Tinubu an opportunity to take a decision that will further enhance the chances of our great party

How Tinubu Fought for Shettima

Settling for Shettima seemed as difficult as Tinubu’s emergence as the APC presidential candidate, but sources in the party claimed that Tinubu knew all along that a Muslim-Muslim was his best bet, but the religious politics introduced to it as well as the position of the governors, was what delayed the announcement as he sought more time to convince people to buy into Muslim-Muslim idea, before picking the lucky candidate.
While the governors were not very keen about the role of religion in the pairing, they, at many of their meetings with Tinubu, objected to the idea of running with a former governor since Tinubu himself is a former governor.

To that extent, the governors said while Tinubu as the candidate represents the former governors on the ticket, he should pair with a sitting member of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, for some sort of balancing, which they reckoned would give them a sense of belonging in the Tinubu administration, if he won.
Thus, they suggested to him, either the Governor of Borno State, Professor Babagana Zulum, a Muslim, or his Plateau State counterpart, Simon Lalong, a Christian. But they both represent the class of the sitting governors as NGF members.

Yet, they saw the problem with the choice of Zulum, since his benefactor and predecessor, Shettima, is also in consideration for the job and might set them against each other. Besides, some had also argued that cancelling out Zulum would not be as difficult since he had personally come out to opt-out of the consideration for a running mate to Tinubu.

In a statement widely circulated, Zulum, had thanked those touting his name as a possible running mate to the APC candidate, saying if there was anything he wanted, it was to return to Borno to finish off the development he had started and this position, he was said to have personally relayed to Tinubu, when he visited Borno to poach delegates ahead of the convention,
When it was clear to the governors that Tinubu was not comfortable with the two suggestions (Zulum and Lalong), sources said, they further suggested to him another sitting governor, albeit, from North West, he quickly retorted that he could never pair with the particular governor, who many people, including his colleagues, considered controversial.

According to the source, Tinubu told them that he could not afford to have the very governor in question in a position he could not fire or reprimand him, whenever he misbehaves, hence, he did not think it was smart to pair with him on the presidential ticket, knowing he would be protected by immunity.
But, with the deadline staring them in the face, Tinubu, did not relent on his push for Shettima as he continued to call the governors and other stakeholders, seeking their consent on the choice of the former Borno State governor, whom many believed had since positioned himself for the job.
Even more instructive is the fact that, while many of the governors wanted one of them to be on the ticket, they were willing to defer to Tinubu on his choice for running mate, since he’s the candidate.

However, after securing the tacit consent of the governors and other stakeholders, who were also of the view that the candidate should be allowed to choose whoever he could work with, Tinubu then went for Shettima, whom he had always wanted and also resolved to brief Buhari on his choice partner before a formal announcement is made ahead of the deadline this Friday.
Meanwhile, another hurdle more difficult to cross for Tinubu is the thinking he could make Oshiomhole, an intending senator, his campaign DG, an idea, which has been roundly rejected by almost everyone he had broached it with.
Tinubu, while meeting with some of the stakeholders, the governors inclusive, had mooted the idea of appointing Oshiomhole to lead his campaign. But the people he ran the idea by immediately protested, saying Oshiomhole would kill his presidential dream.
But the presidential candidate had given as his reason for wanting an Oshiomhole to lead his campaign, the “need for a mad man” that could contain the opposition, intimidate them and lead the party to a resounding victory in 2023.

But they immediately told him that, while they agreed that Oshiomhole had the stamina, he was too combative and disruptive to undertake such an assignment, adding also that as a southerner presidential candidate, picking a southerner as DG, especially, after a Muslim-Muslim ticket, might have begun to awkwardly tilt the balance and present a wrong impression overall – to the voting populace.
Instead, they suggested a Christian northerner, in which case could be one of them – talking about Lalong of Plateau – or any other prominent Christian northerner, who is not seeking an elective office, so he could concentrate on the campaign 100 per cent.
Therefore, while the issue of running mate. Might have been finally laid to rest with Shettima fitting Tinubu’s bill, the choice of who becomes the DG has yet to be addressed as the party gears up for campaign proper.


Do you have an important success story, news, or opinion article to share with with us? Get in touch with us at or Whatsapp +1 317 665 2180

Join our WhatsApp Group to receive news and other valuable information alerts on WhatsApp.

Share this story

Leave a Reply