Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a presidential candidate, has informed northern intellectuals that his South West Yoruba people will not mind voting for a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
Tinubu told some elders of the North during a conference in Abuja organized by his longtime friend, Senator Abu Ibrahim, that if he is chosen by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to carry the party’s banner in the 2023 elections, they should leave the burden of persuading the Yoruba to him.
The topic of who would be his running mate, however, became a point of dispute when the elders told him explicitly that a Christian northerner would not be acceptable as his running mate.
Tinubu vowed to choose a Muslim politician from the Northwest, while a senior politician and former governor questioned how it would be received in the South.
Tinubu informed his guests that the South East and South South, which are predominantly Christian, will not be a problem, and that the South West may cause problems, but that he will handle it.
Tinubu claimed that the votes of the North West, North East, and several predominantly Muslim states in the North Central and South West were sufficient to elect him president.
“All I need is your support. Leave the rest to me, I will handle it,” he said.
The northerners, on the other hand, were unconvinced by his assurances, because no administration in the country has governed with both a Muslim president and vice president since independence.
While this is true, one of the northern leaders present at the meeting stated that the situation is different today because there are numerous tensions in the land and the nation’s security is in jeopardy.
“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 South West and calling for Oodua Republic, while banditry, Boko Haram and ISWAP insurgency have enveloped the North. Why would anyone want to add religious crisis to it?
“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 said.
The APC is expected to choose a Muslim Chairman from the North Central region of the country in February, since Muslim candidates for the job have already emerged from Niger, Kwara, and Nasarawa states.
If Tinubu wins the APC nomination and chooses a Muslim candidate from the North West, all of the party’s significant positions will be occupied by Muslims, to the exclusion of Christians.
Part of the pro-Tinubu argument is that this has happened before, when Aare Moshood Abiola, a late rich Muslim, chose Alhaji Babagana Kingibe as his running mate.