Ahead of the Friday deadline given to political parties by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for submission of nominated candidates, discordant voices continued to trail likely choices of running mate to the standard-bearer of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Two-term Abia State Governor and Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu said the opposition towards likely choice of a Muslim as running mate to the APC presidential candidate was misplaced.

Speaking with newsmen on Wednesday at the National Assembly, Senator Kalu said what was paramount to the APC was how to attain victory at the general elections.

He said: “Do you want me to speak the truth? If I am Bola Ahmed Tinubu whose wife is a senior pastor at a Pentecostal Church, I will go for a Muslim-Muslim ticket.

“The most important thing is for the party to win. We should stop the issue of whether you put a Christian there or not.”

He noted that it would be almost difficult for the APC to win the election in 2023 if Tinubu does not play a Muslim-Muslim ticket.

“I know the Church I go to. There is nothing wrong with a Muslim-Muslim ticket, just as there is nothing wrong with a Christian-Christian ticket.

“Tinubu is a minority Muslim from the south, and if you pick a Christian from the north, it will be a minority Christian, and you cannot play two minorities; it is difficult.

At a separate briefing in Abuja, a group operating under the platform, APC Patriots (APC-P) called on the APC National Working Committee and stakeholders in the ruling party to consider Niger state governor, Abubakar Sani Bello as running mate to Tinubu.

Addressing journalists in Abuja, Prince Zadok Bukar and Chief Omini Ofem, national coordinator and the Secretary of APC Patriots, respectively, said: “the call to adopt Governor Sani-Bello as Tinubu’s deputy is based on his performance as governor, acceptability among his colleagues and Nigerians, his sense justice and equity and his contributions to the development of APC as a ruling party.”

According to the statement, Governor Sani-Bello is known for “his personal sound character and his gentle disposition, a bridge between the young and the old, who has no record of religious bigotry, is physically fit and mentally balanced and a bridge-builder between the North and the South, among others, suit him for the position.

“The experience gained in governing Niger state will certainly come in handy in his role as Vice President.

“When you talk about experiences, Sani-Bello, having been a two-term governor has cognate governance experience, even as the governor of the largest state in the country.

“We believe that any man who can govern Niger state successfully as Governor Sani-Bello has done should be considered for the Vice-presidential slot.”

The group also recalled the role played by the Niger State Governor in ensuring the conduct of the national convention that set machinery in motion for the seamless conduct of the presidential convention.

“Apart from being a loyal member of the party, leaders and members should not forget in a hurry how the Niger state governor rescued APC when it was going adrift before the emergence of Senator Abdullahi Adamu-led National Working Committee (NWC), among other meaningful contributions.”


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