How Babachir Lawal’s panel suggested Muslim running mate to Tinubu
The Planning and Strategy Committee of the Tinubu Campaign Organisation (TCO) headed by Babachir David Lawal recommended Kashim Shettima as running mate to the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Alongside Shettima are ten other candidates, most of them equally Muslims.
A report submitted by a sub-committee chaired by Senator Grace Folasade Bent contained names of eleven persons, out of which Tinubu was advised to pick his running mate.
Reports said members of the Lawal committee submitted their final report to Tinubu, and Lawal had to travel to London on Wednesday to meet Tinubu who, thereafter travelled back to Nigeria to announce Shettima as his choice for running mate on Sunday.
Shettima was first on the list of the seven persons shortlisted from the North-East geopolitical zone, in addition to four others recommended from the North West.
A member of TCO’s Planning and Strategy Committee told Nigerian Sketch that he was baffled to hear Babachir’s lamentations on the choice of Shettima.
Babachir, a former secretary to the government of the federation (SGF) between 2015 and 2017, had on Tuesday faulted the selection of Shettima as running mate to Tinubu for the February 25, 2023, presidential election.
In a statement Tuesday night, Babachir said Christians all over the country will revolt against the APC for choosing Shettima, a Muslim, as running mate to Tinubu.
Babachir‘s outward opposition to the Muslim-Muslim ticket obviously contradicted the recommendations of the committee he led.
The report of the committee weighed the merits and demerits of Muslim-Christian and Muslim-Muslim tickets for the APC candidate and highlighted the implications of possible apathy and protest from the Christian community in the event of the adoption of a Muslim running mate.
In the committee, which was constituted three months ago, are Senator Magnus Abe; Malam Nuhu Ribadu; Senator Abu Ibrahim; Senator Bent; Senator Ishaku Elisha Abbo; Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, Rep Abiodun Faleke, Rep Musa Sarkin-Adar, among others.
One of the members of the committee said after the emergence of Tinubu as the flagbearer of the APC, a sub-committee was constituted to provide guidance on the selection of a running mate and director general of the campaign team.
He said Senator Bent was named as the chairperson of the sub-committee under the supervision of the main committee chaired by the former SGF.
Another member of the panel said the decision to pick Shettima was in line with the committee’s recommendation, insisting that Tinubu worked with the guidance provided.
“In arriving at our recommendation, we looked at all persuasions including religion, gender and acceptability. We looked at those who can add value to the ticket,” he said.
He said that the report of the committee passed through Lawal before getting to the former Lagos State governor.
“He was part of the decision and the report got to the presidential candidate through him,” he said.
“First, we sent the soft copy of our report to Asiwaju before BD Lawal took the hard copy to him in London last Wednesday,” he said.
Other recommended persons
It was gathered that the committee recommended seven persons from the North East and four persons from the North West geopolitical zones.
The panel did not recommend any person from the North Central geopolitical zone.
Panel members said the North Central was not considered because the National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, hails from Nasarawa State in the geopolitical zone.
After Shettima’s name, in the list from the North East, is Kashim Imam, an associate of Tinubu. Other persons recommended from the zone were; the Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum; a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammed, Ambassador Fatima Balla and Senator Anthony Manzo.
In the North West, the committee recommended Hajiya Naja’atu Mohammed, Kaduna State governor, Nasiru El-Rufai, a former governor of Sokoto State, Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, and the Kebbi State governor, Atiku Bagudu.
Babachir distances self from recommendations
Daily Trust reports that Lawal confirmed chairing the planning and strategy committee but claimed he was not aware of any sub-committee.
“I chaired the Bola Tinubu Planning and Strategy Committee, which was set up to implement strategies for Tinubu to pick the ticket. But I’m not aware of the sub-committee that recommended running mates. It is not our work. You know politicians can cook up anything,” he said.
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