All may not be well within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) over its presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s picking of Kashim Shettima, former Borno State Governor, as his running mate.
According to credible sources in the APC, Governor el-Rufa’i is unhappy with the choice of Shettima over him.
The sources said the party leadership is trying to manage the issue so that it would not blow open like that of the major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Recall that Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, is currently at loggerheads with Atiku Abubakar, the party’s presidential candidate, who announced Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as his running mate.
In the APC, the list of potential running mates was reportedly narrowed to el-Rufa’i, from the North-West geo-political zone and Shettima, from the North-East. While many had thought Tinubu would settle for el-Rufa’i, the former Lagos State governor announced Shettima.
It was gathered that the northern APC governors had agreed that based on the role they played in his emergence as APC flag bearer, especially the communiqué they issued declaring support for power shift to the South, Tinubu should pick one of them as his running mate. It was also gathered that Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, who is the chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, (NGF), was pencilled down if Tinubu decided to fly a Muslim-Christian ticket.
However, when it was obvious that he wanted a fellow Muslim as his running mate, Shettima and el-Rufa’i were shortlisted; however, without consulting with the governors, Tinubu allegedly opted for the former Borno State governor, who is one of his staunch loyalists. Despite the development, the governors managed to keep their grievances from public scrutiny and turned up in Osun State last week for the grand finale of the party’s governorship campaign. Its candidate, Gboyega Oyetola, lost to the PDP candidate, Ademola Adeleke.
One of the sources said, “El-Rufa’i is not on good terms with Tinubu. He also enjoys the sympathy of some APC governors, especially those in the North, as they had always insisted that for supporting Tinubu in the primary, he must pick one of them as his running mate”.
“Announcing Shettima, a former governor, as his choice without consulting with the governors was seen as an affront by the APC governors, who are major stakeholders in the party”, he added.