ALL Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate Bola Tinubu has said he will pick a Northern Christian as his running mate.
Tinubu was reacting to speculations that he will pick a Muslim as his running mate for the 2023 presidential election.
He spoke at the APC governorship rally in Ekiti State on Monday.
The APC presidential candidate said those behind the Muslim-Muslim ticket rumour are undemocratic elements who are threatened by his imminent victory in the coming presidential elections.
“The VP slot belongs to the Northeastern region and particularly the Christians, but consultations are yet ongoing as to who will be decided,” Tinubu said.
The former Lagos State governor assured Nigerians that no group, institution or person can impose a running mate on him.
However, Tinubu faces the tricky task of picking a running mate and navigating Nigeria’s complicated religious and ethnic permutations.
Power is usually rotated between the North and the South, which are respectively dominated by Muslims and Christians.
Tinubu, who hails from South-West Nigeria, is a Muslim and has to decide if he will pick a Christian politician from the North as his running mate, or go with a Northern Muslim.
Tinubu’s reputation has suffered a hit before now.
Two years ago, Dapo Apara, an accountant at Alpha-beta, a firm where Tinubu allegedly holds stakes through a crony, accused him of using the firm for money laundering, fraud, and tax evasion, amongst other corrupt practices.
Tinubu and Alpha-beta, who were both sued, denied the allegations, but all parties decided to settle out of court in January.
He was also docked by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for allegedly failing to declare assets but was eventually cleared.
During the 2019 general elections, an armoured van used by banks to move money driving into his palatial compound in the Ikoyi area of Lagos fuelled suspicions that he was involved in vote-buying, which he made no great effort to deny.
“If I have money, if I like, I give it to the people free of charge, as long as [it’s] not to buy votes,” he said.
Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.