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, THISDAY also learnt, 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.
Reliable THISDAY 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.