Having won the presidential primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC), former Head of State Gen. Mohammadu Buhari has one more headache, it is choosing the right running mate that will make the chances of the party brighter in the 2015 presidential election.
Buhari had in recent times won more friends than enemies in the electorate, especially with the security situation in the country, which many have blamed on President Goodluck Jonathan’s incompetency, but fear remain about his alleged extremism and Islam-biased ideas. One thing that will douse whatever doubts remained in some quarters about him is choosing the right running mate.
Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, had in October warned against a Muslim-Muslim ticket following a comment by Buhari that he was not opposed to it.
“It will be insensitive to the point of absurdity for any leader or any political party to be toying with Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian ticket at this juncture,” Obasanjo had said.
“Nigeria cannot at this stage raise the spectre and fear of Islamisation or Christianisation. The idea of proselytisation in any form is a grave danger that must not be contemplated by any serious-minded politician at this delicate situation in Nigeria, as this time is different from any other time.
“Therefore, disregarding the fact that there are fears that need to be allayed at this point will amount not only to insensitivity of the highest order but will also amount to very bad politics indeed,” he added.
National of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu had on two occasions visited the former president to ask for advice on how to ensure a successful outing for the APC in the 2015 presidential elections, and Obasanjo must have reiterated his opinion about the right blend for the presidential election.
However, with President Jonathan still sure of a good percentage of the electorate, if recent independent polls are anything to go by, Buhari will be doing himself a great disservice if he makes the wrong choice.
With the former head of state a staunch Muslim, Governor of Lagos State Babatunde Fashola, who many see as a perfect fit has been ruled out of the vice-president seat.
Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, who had been an ardent supporter of Buhari since defecting to the APC had in the past been touted as the right man for the vice president’s seat, but his recent unguarded comments and actions might have soiled his reputation. More so, he is no longer seen as someone intelligent enough to bring up great economic policies that may save Nigeria from its current state. Buhari needs someone with such qualities.
Reports say Imo State Governor Rochas Okorochas would seek re-election in 2015. That leaves Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomole and former Governor of Ekiti State Kayode Fayemi, who won plaudits for his handling of the national convention of the APC, as the top contenders for the seat.
Many will also not be surprised to see the party that talks so much about ‘change’ offer Nigerians the first ever prospective female vice president in Abike Dabiri-Erewa. She has being a member of the Nigeria Federal House of Representatives representing Ikorodu Constituency in Lagos State from 2003. She is however not running for any office in 2015.
Buhari is expected to make his decisions in the coming weeks (or days; sources say Monday), after due consultations. As much as several Nigerians earnestly awaited who would win the APC primaries, many more seem to be waiting to know who Buhari will pick as his running mate. Whoever he picks may hold the key to how APC would fare in the 2015 presidential elections.