Intrigues on how the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, arrived at the choice of former Governor of Borno state, Sen. Kashim Shettima as his running mate, despite pressure from the APC North-West governors have been revealed.
NewsBeatng learnt that the governors preferred the Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu and his Kaduna State counterpart, Nasir El-Rufai, but Tinubu initially offered the ticket to the Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum.
It was learnt that one of the causes of the delay in selecting a running mate was the refusal of Zulum to accept Tinubu’s offer.
It was revealed that Tinubu had offered Zulum the ticket on a silver platter but he refused to take it.
An associate of Tinubu who wished to remain anonymous, said, “Based on wide consultations as well as a survey, Zulum was the most popular option. He was repeatedly offered the ticket but he turned it down for two main reasons. The first was that he was eager to complete his tenure as governor of Borno State and implement his reconstruction programme.
“Secondly, his loyalty to Shettima was also a factor. Zulum was Shettima’s commissioner when he handpicked him as his successor in 2019. They have maintained a cordial relationship which is rare between governors and their predecessors. Zulum finally stated that he would only accept the VP slot if Shettima asked him to take it.
“But it was difficult for Tinubu’s men to ask Shettima to plead with Zulum to take the job when it was obvious that Shettima also wanted the job. With INEC’s deadline fast approaching, Shettima became the sure option. In any case, Shettima’s loyalty to Tinubu has never been in doubt. So, it became easy to settle for him.”
NewsBeatng had reported that the six North-West governors who are members of the All Progressives Congress had met with a view to ensuring that Tinubu picks one of them as a running mate.
One of the governors, who was said to have been interested in the position was Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State who is one of the biggest advocates of the Muslim-Muslim ticket having successfully implemented it in his state.
However, El-Rufai’s frosty relationship with the Christian community was said to have discouraged Tinubu.
Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State could also not be considered despite his closeness to Tinubu because of the party crisis in his state that had contributed to the popularity of Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso and the New Nigeria Peoples Party.
It was learnt that associates of Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, who is also the Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, had reached out to Tinubu with a view to ensuring that he gets the ticket since he is the only northern Christian governor in the APC.
However, Lalong’s popularity in the North was said not to be strong enough to boost Tinubu’s chances.