Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State has reacted to the controversy trailing the Muslim/Muslim presidential ticket being muted in the All Progressives Congress (APC).
This is coming amidst the speculation that the Presidential candidate of APC, Bola Tinubu, would be setting for a Muslim Northerner as running mate.
The speculation has generated a barrage of reactions on and off social media as citizens express worries that it would be an unfair move considering the religious status of the country.
In a chat with State House Correspondents on Tuesday, Uzodinma said Tinubu in choosing his running mate would do what’s best for the country.
The Governor said Tinubu would choose a running mate that would help him unite the country and promote peace among the citizens.
Uzodinma added that the former Lagos Governor would choose a competent candidate that will be accepted nationwide and can help win elections.
The Governor urged Nigerians not focus on the religious and geopolitical zone of Tinubu’s running mate, but rather be interested in who can deliver.
He however said the choice of the running mate would be decided by the party’s Presidential candidate after considering some important factors.
“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.”
Uzodimma asserted that spread of the running mate is also very important to be able to attract votes.
“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,” he said.
“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 discourse, 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.”
Speaking further, Uzodinma said the APC Governors would support any member of the party chosen as Tinubu’s running mate.
The Imo Governor said he would like to see a governor as a running mate to Tinubu.
“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.”