Much ado about a VP pick


Historically, the identity of running mates in presidential elections are not significant in terms of electoral outcomes. In this regard, Nigeria is not different from any other country. Of the list of vice-presidents: Atiku Abubakar, Goodluck Jonathan, Namadi Sambo and now Yemi Osinbajo, only the Waziri Adamawa brought significant political heft to the ticket.

However, this current cycle has changed that dynamic. The selection of Kashim Shettima, former Borno governor and current senator for Borno Central, as running mate to Bola Tinubu has generated a lot of debate about the propriety or otherwise, of a Muslim-Muslim ticket and the impacts on national unity and cohesion. Many references have been made to the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the late MKO Abiola and Babagana Kingibe in 1993, and the extent to which the political economy of Nigeria a generation ago is applicable to today.

In the PDP, a lot of the apparent turmoil in the party after a relatively rancour-free presidential primary has been due to the selection of Delta state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, despite Governor Nyesom Wike being favoured by a significant number of top party apparatchiks. The impact of the choice has been so divisive that Governor Wike is being actively courted by the ruling APC, with the political rumour mill on overdrive concerning permutations for 2023.

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