Thursday 9 June 2022

Alhassan Ado-Doguwa: How Tinubu’s Running Mate Will Emerge


Leke Baiyewu

The Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, has said the running mate to the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, may come from the North-East geopolitical zone.

According to Ado-Doguwa, this is based on the current zoning arrangement of the APC.

Tinubu, a former Governor of Lagos State and National Leader of the APC, had emerged as the candidate of the ruling party on Wednesday.

Despite that governors from the North in APC had reached a consensus that power should shift to the South after the two-term tenure of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; and Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, had contested against Tinubu. 

While Bello is from the North-Central where the incumbent National Chairman of the APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, hails from, Lawan is from Yobe State in the North-East.

Speaking on Politics Today, a current affairs programme on Channels Television few hours after the presidential primary of the APC on Wednesday, Ado-Doguwa said the vice-presidential candidate might come from the North-East while the leadership of the ruling party would deliberate on the religions factor.

The Majority Leader said, “There was a tentative zoning arrangement. I may be wrong but I know of a tentative zoning arrangement that started with the emergence of the National Chairman of the party from the North-Central and we gave it to Abdullahi Adamu. On the same zoning arrangement, it gave out the presidency to the South and God, in His mercy, has given it to the right person – Bola Ahmed Tinubu. And in that same contemplated zoning agenda, it has given out the vice-presidency to the North-East. I may be wrong. This is not an official declaration of the party. I know of this tentative zoning arrangement that started during the election of the National Chairman (of the APC).”

There are concerns that Tinubu, a Muslim, might be forced to pick a Muslim running mate from the North where Christians are the minority.

When asked about the likelihood of the APC flying a Muslim-Muslim ticket, Ado-Doguwa partly said, “My thought on that is straightforward in the sense that when you have someone who has earned and garnered a lot of confidence among various communities and peoples of different walks of life, Bola Ahmed Tinubu has garnered this sophisticated and unprecedented confidence in him. I think when you now begin to contemplate or talk about running mate, I think it is an issue that does not matter at all.

“I want to tell you that Nigerians believe in Bola Ahmed Tinubu. It does not matter who he takes. It could be a Muslim-Muslim ticket, I don’t want to contemplate that because this is something that should be discussed at the very high level. I may be part of it but for now, I should not contemplate that. It is not going to be quite significant. It is not going to be a difficult issue. I’m a member of NEC; I’m a member of the National Caucus of the party; I’m also a member of the tripartite body of the party, with Mr President being the Chairman. So, when such a time comes, we would discuss that. At this level, I would not like to contemplate, especially when the first thing we have to do is fence-mending and we have commenced that already.”

The Majority Leader of the House, who disclosed that he was part of some of the horse-trading that took place before the primary, noted that he was not surprised that other aspirants from the South-West stepped down for Tinubu expect the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo.

“In fact, what was even a surprise to me was that the VP did not step down. I thought so because I had seen how governors from the northern part of the country agreed to go (step down). Everybody knew even before the election that it was not only an agreement to allow the South to produce the presidential flag bearer, the agreement went beyond that. Governors from the northern part of the country did not only agree to concede power to the South, but also galvanised their support and solidarity with Bola Ahmed Tinubu. It was not a secret. So, I thought the Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, would have played ball, being someone that is a kinsman…”

The House’ Majority Leader, who is from Kano, also described Tinubu as Buhari’s version in the South. “The emergence of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the presidential flag bearer, to me, is scientific. Is it scientific because the two major factors that you cannot take away from our political space today is the fact that you have two Buharis in the nation. The Buhari of the North and the Buhari of the southern part of the country in terms of their unprecedented popularity, in terms of their connection, in terms of what it takes to even deliver (electoral victory for the party).

“So, to me, Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the Buhari of the South and we have our own Buhari in the North. And when you have a Buhari of the South and that of the North on the same page, that means success all over. I want to believe that his emergence (as APC candidate) to many Nigerians was not a surprise but the least we expected. We expected that from the outcome of the election. We expected that out delegates would be reasonable enough to pay back to this person whose dues he has paid extraordinarily,” he said.

Meanwhile, the member representing Ilesa-East/Ilesa-West/Atakumosa-East/Atakumosa-West Federal Constituency in Osun State, Babatunde Ayeni, stated that Tinubu had invested over the years to have deserved being the presidential candidate of the APC.

The lawmaker, in a statement issued on Wednesday, titled ‘Hon Lawrence Ayeni Congratulate Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu on His Emergence as the Presidential Candidate for APC in the 2023 General Election,’ said it was the manifestation of decades of the ex-governor’s “ceaseless investment in human capacity and national development.”

The statement partly read, “Without mincing words, the show of good sportsmanship demonstrated by some of the aspirants cannot go unnoticed, and I am confident that your loyalty will further entrench democratic values and ethos in the current dispensation and beyond.

“I am optimistic that your reign as the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria will in no way change a lot of narratives in the polity and impact positively on all Nigerians irrespective of tribe, religion, race, ethnic and colour, knowing fully well your track records.

“As we all look forward to the presidential election in February, 2023, I wish to urge all the party faithful as well as Nigerians across party lines to rally support for a man who has the wherewithal to bring the country to greater heights by providing solutions to myriads of security challenges, including high rate of unemployment, dearth of infrastructures, food insecurity, among others.

“With God on our side, I am optimistic that the future of our children and all the citizens will be better than the current situation. Once again, congratulations Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu.”[

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