Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State has weighed into the controversy over the choice of the running mate of the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
There have been arguments and counter arguments on the choice of Tinubu’s running mate, with many divided over a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
Speaking with reporters after governors of the ruling party met with President Muhammadu Buhari at Aso Rock on Tuesday, Uzodimma said the choice of a running mate for Tinubu would take into considerations all the indices that would promote fairness and unity of the country.
“We are looking for a united Nigeria, where governance will be the issue, where a president would be ajudged by his capacity to deliver democratic dividends, develop Nigeria to look like other parts of the Western world where democracy is working.
“I don’t want us to reduce governance in Nigeria to certain things that will encourage divisiveness, rather, we should be a united Nigeria, be our brother’s keepers, have a president of Nigeria that will be a president representing, every tribe, every religion, every denomination. And when we get there, we will cross the bridge.
“The decision also to choose a running mate does not reside with any of us the governors. It is the presidential candidate that will look at the local characteristics and every factor, political and apolitical that will make him win his election and take the decision. So it’s not a decision that we will sit here and take for the candidate.”
On if he would like to see a governor as a running mate to Tinubu, Uzodinma, “Why not? Ahmed Tinubu, have you forgotten he was a governor for eight years? If he chooses a governor so be it, we will support it. For now, we are no longer talking about who becomes running mate and who is not running mate. I have told you whose decision it is. The next thing as party leaders now and opinion leaders, is for us to rise up, mobilize the quality and get members of our party to commit to a successful election by 2023. So that our president that is leaving will also be handing over to our own president of APC, that is our preoccupation now how to win the election.”
Uzodinma, while reacting to a question on how the people from the South East could achieve what they wanted in future, having said the Constitution is not against the issue of single faith ticket, said: “I did not say is not about single faith ticket.
“I said these are internal characteristics that the decision maker may consider in the process of taking his decision. The decision whether to choose Mr. A or Mr. B to be a running mate to a candidate is entirely that of the candidate.
“You started by saying the governors of the south east are complaining of not having the opportunity of being a running mate anymore. But that is not the sole ambition of the south easterners, talkless of the governors to be a running mate. And in the business of presidential primaries, there is no election for a vice presidential candidate, the business there is just to elect a candidate.
“In that ballot paper there is no room for delegates to vote for who will be your running mate. So that explains why it is not a decision for the people. It is a decision for the candidate. The first thing to do is to let the candidate, now that a candidate has emerged.
“Now the candidate will factor into consideration some ideas and issues like how to create a spread. Spread is very important to be able to attract votes. So the decision of who becomes your running mate, if I were the candidate, what will inform it is what will I do as an action that will enable me to get the kind of votes I’m looking for because the ultimate goal is to win the election.
“So maybe I’ll start from the nomination, ethnicity, or followership. In this business of democracy I think number is what is very important. And there are certain things as a nation, we should not bring to the public discuss, those things that are capable of creating divisiveness against national unity should not be encouraged. It does not mean that I will not remember that I come from a place but I must also be cautious and careful how to use where I come from in taking national decisions. That is very important.”