Ahead of Friday’s deadline for political parties to submit the names of their presidential candidates and running mates to the Independent National Electoral Commission, most of the political parties are making hurried moves to beat the deadline.
The commission had said it would not extend the deadline for the submission of the names of the candidates and their running mates.
In the Peoples Democratic Party, the committee set up by the party to advise it on the most suitable running mate for Atiku Abubakar will hold its final meeting on Tuesday, Sunday PUNCH reliably learnt on Saturday.
The panel, which comprised governors, National Working Committee members, former governors and Board of Trustees members, was given the mandate of recommending to the party the best candidate that would be acceptable to many Nigerians and help the party win the February 25, 2023 election.
In the ruling All Progressives Congress, it was also learnt that the party and its candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, might settle for a Muslim-Muslim ticket, given the party’s difficulty in finding a Christian from the North, who would boost the party’s chances in the election.
A top source in the party told one of our correspondents on Saturday that even though consultation was still ongoing, the idea of picking either Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State or the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, who are both northern Christians, was no longer topical due to their limited clout in the region.
The source noted that North-West and North-East had the bloc votes in the region and that if the party could not find a stronger Christian from the two sub-regions, it might settle for a Muslim.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday’s meeting of the PDP panel, a reliable source, who is also a member of the panel, told one of our correspondents that the committee adjourned its previous meeting to enable members to broaden their consultation.
“The deadline for submission is June 17, so the meeting was adjourned till Tuesday, June 14, to give room for more consultation and unification efforts. They will take a final decision on Tuesday,” The source said.
It was gathered from other sources in the party that Atiku, who is a BoT member, would also be part of the meeting, and that the party might take a final decision on the issue.
“Our presidential candidate will be part of the meeting on Tuesday and the major organs of the party are represented as well, so the decision there is as good as final. The announcement may be delayed to ratify the choice and of course we will watch what the other parties will come up with,” one of the sources stated.