Running Mate: Why Tinubu Rejected Lawan, Yahaya Bello

Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has turned down proposal to pick either Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, or Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, as his running mate, sources in the party informed Daily Independenton Wednesday.

Our correspondent gathered that both Lawan and Bello who contested the APC presidential primaries with Tinubu earlier this month have been lobbying President Muhammadu Buhari and other stakeholders in the party to prevail on the former Lagos State governor to choose them as his running mate.

While Tinubu won the primary with 1,271 votes, Lawan polled 152 votes while Yahaya Bello got 47 votes.

Our source, a former minister in the South-Western part of the country, said though Tinubu, who is currently in France is not averse to picking a Muslim as his running mate, he flatly rejected both of them as they are direct contestants with him and they have their minds set on becoming president.

Just like he did during the presidential primary, President Buhari is also maintaining a neutral position on who becomes the vice presidential candidate despite pressures from his allies to intervene in the process.

“Yes both men (Lawan and Bello) have been making moves to be nominated as vice presidential candidates but I can assure you that Asiwaju is not considering them at all.

He met with President Buhari shortly before his trip to France and I strongly believe that must have been part of their discussions as both men have been lobbying the president to prevail on Asiwaju to consider them.

“Even those who are associates of Asiwaju Tinubu are against their choice as both of them are not strong personalities that can bring the needed votes in the North”, he said.

Tinubu had submitted the name of Ibrahim Masari, a party chieftain in Katsina State, who is a serving board member of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies in Kuru, Jos, Plateau State, to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as its surrogate running mate or placeholder pending when he gets his desired running mate. However, weeks after Masari’s name was submitted to INEC, the APC had yet to settle for a candidate.

Speaking in Abuja shortly before his trip to France, Tinubu had said he was still studying how the House of Representatives Speaker, Gbajabiamila, and the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, had been working harmoniously, in his search for a running mate.

The APC national leader, who spoke at the 60th birthday celebration of Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the House of Representatives, said, “I could see his deputy (Wase) sitting down there too.

You are a very good symbol of unity, dependability and honesty. Thank you. Thank you for both of you, you have not rocked the boat. I will need to learn from both of you (on) how you made the pair work because I’m still searching for my running mate.”

While members of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) bloc in the APC are demanding for the running mate slot, our correspondent also gathered that the party is zeroing in on the North-West and North-East as the region where the vice-presidential candidate will come from.

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