From Ibrahim Husseni, Abuja
Presidential hopeful, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has told leaders of thought in the northern part of the country that his South West Yoruba people will not mind a Muslim – Muslim ticket.
Addressing some elders of the North some days ago in Abuja at a secret meeting arranged by his long time friend Senator Abu Ibrahim, Tinubu said they should leave the task of convincing the Yoruba to him if selected by his APC party to carry the banner of the party in the 2023 elections.
The issue of who will be his running mate according to our sources became a major issue. They told him flatly they will not accept a Christian northerner to be his running mate.
He was said to have promised to pick a Northwest politician who will be a Muslim. It was then a prominent politician and former governor asked him how that will be taken in the South.
Tinubu, said our sources , told his guests the South East and South South who are largely Christians will not matter. It is the South West, he was quoted to have said , that could raise issues but he will manage that and they will not mind.
Tinubu , at the meeting was said to have argued that the vote of the North West, North East , some largely Muslim states in the North Central as well as South West were enough to make him President.
“ All I need is your support,” he was quoted as having said. “ Leave the rest to me, I will handle it.” His guests were said not to have been convinced by his assurance as no regime in the country since independence has governed with both head and deputy as Muslims.
It is believed that come February , the party APC , under which he want to seek the office is most certain to pick a Muslim Chairman from the North Central part of the country. Aspirants for this position are already emerging from Niger , Kwara and Nasarawa states . These candidates are all Muslims . If Tinubu therefore emerges as APC candidate and picks a Muslim candidate from the North West it means all of the important positions in the party are held by Muslims to the exclusion of the Christian.
Part of the argument of the pro -Tinubu elements is that this has happened before when the late billionaire Muslim Aare Moshood Abiola selected Alhaji Babagana Kingibe as his running mate . One of the northern leaders present at the meeting said ,while this is true, that time is different from now. There are all manners of tensions in the land and the security of the nation is fragile.
If anybody does that now it will be like deliberately setting the country on fire. “ The IPOB issue is still raging in the South East, young elements are restless in the SW and calling for Oodua Republic, banditry , Boko Haram and ISWAP insurgency has enveloped the North. Why would anyone want to add religious crisis to it”, he asked.
“Only a non patriot will experiment with this. I told him my mind. This will not work. Let him accept this or not but I won’t be part of the effort to set Nigeria on fire”, he added.