Running Mate: Atiku Considers Four APC Govs, Fayemi, Others
Ahead of the December 10, 2014 presidential primary of the All Progressives Congress, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has begun the search for a possible running mate.
It was learnt in Abuja, on Friday that Atiku, who is one of five contenders for the party’s sole ticket, has started consultations with regards to a running mate for the 2015 presidential election.
It was also gathered that three factors are likely to influence his choice. The factors are said to include political balance, religious balance, and competence.
A document to this effect was sighted in Abuja by our correspondent.
On issue of political balance, the aspirant is said to be considering the need to balance the political interests of the North/South.
The South comprises of the three geo-political zones of the South namely: South-South, South-East and South-West.
Using this as a basis, members of his team pushing for this argue in support of one of the four serving APC governors: Babatunde Fashola of Lagos (South-West); Rochas Okorocha of Imo (South-East); Rotimi Amaechi (South-South) and Adams Oshiomhole also of the South-South.
Although this could appease the party’s governors, some fear the political calculations could alter this arrangement. For example, in the case of Okorocha, there are fears that his political value is limited and picking him could cost the aspirant South-West votes. In contrast, if the Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola, is given the slot, it is believed that critical South-West votes could be secured. There is however the controversial issue of Muslim-Muslim ticket which could become an albatross.
For Governor Rotimi Amaechi, some argue that he can only deliver a limited number of South-South votes.
His counterpart in Edo State, Governor Adams Oshiomhole, is also said to be in control of few votes which some argue will be limited to his native Edo State.
A source who asked not to be named for fear of retribution said to navigate this potential political landmine, “Atiku can take a Tinubu nominee. By doing so, Atiku would be satisfying a desire by the APC leader to play a role at the federal level. This will without doubt deliver the votes, especially from the South-West.”
The source further explained that the former Vice-President might look in the direction of either Fashola or Mr. Wale Edun.
Supporters say Fashola’s acclaimed competence and performance as governor makes him stand tall but will depend on Tinubu’s nod.
Another Tinubu close associate who is also being considered is Mr. Wale Edun. His choice could fit into the religious equation. He is also considered competent, smart and intelligent.
Several commentators have argued that Nigerians will not back a ticket dominated by same religion ticket.
For this reason, Atiku may look in the direction of three persons namely Professor Yemi Osibajo, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora.
Professor Osibajo is leading member of Tinubu’s inner circle. He is a serving Pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God and a close associate of Pastor Enoch Adeboye, the General Overseer of the RCCG. Many Christians are likely to support this choice.
A former Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, is equally in contention, his loss of the Ekiti governorship election notwithstanding.
Should Senator Olurunminbe Mamora be picked, it is expected that former and serving Senators nationwide will be fully mobilised to work for such a ticket.
But when contacted, the coordinator of the Atiku Media Office, Shehu Garba, denied knowledge of the existence of such a document.
He said, “The aforesaid document is unknown to us but what we can confirm is that the Turaki will pick a man or woman as running-mate as agreed by the leadership of the party when he gets to that bridge.”
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