As the search for a vice presidential candidate intensifies within the All Progressives Congress (APC), stakeholders of the party have insisted that the running to the party’s presidential flag bearer must be northern Christian.
The APC national stakeholders urged the party’s leadership to ensure national inclusion which, according to them, would help to manage the divisive tendencies and promote national unity.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja on Monday, spokesman of the APC national stakeholders, Aliyu Audu, implored the governing party to narrow its search for the vice presidential candidate of the party to a Christian from the North, which he said the party has in abundance.
The stakeholders noted that just as the APC was able to ensure the emergence of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a southern Muslim as the party’s presidential candidate, the party leadership should also work towards the emergence of a Christian running from the northern part of the country.
Audu stated: “Having successfully crossed the hurdle of producing a presidential candidate from the southern region, All Progressives Congress is now faced with yet another important hurdle it must cross before the deadline for the submission of nominations by political parties elapses.
“The bone of contention this time around lies in which of the two dominant faith will produce the Vice Presidential candidate. There have been arguments that Vice Presidential candidate which is primed to come from the north must be of the Christian faith, while some others have argued that for the APC to stand the chance of winning the 2023 presidential election, the Vice must be a Christian, since the South has already produced a Muslim as the Presidential candidate.
“The APC national stakeholders are deeply concerned about the raging controversy which has heated the polity in the last few days. Why we are conscious of the fact that religion should not be a determining factor in the our leadership selection process, the peculiar circumstance the nation funds herself calls tor do reflection in the decisions we take, so long as they bother on our national lives.
“Today, the country is deeply divided within our fault lines of ethnicity and religion and we cannot afford to jettison this sensibilities in critical decision making. This is why we think that the All Progressives Congress must be guided by the sense of these sensibilities in the selection of the Vice Presidential Candidate of the party.”
The stakeholders warned that picking another Muslim as vice presidential candidate would further fuel the division in the country and give room for mischief makers to take advantage of our differences.
“The northern APC has in its fold capable individuals from the Christian faith with proven track record that can deliver just like anyone from the other faith. Their capability to deliver on the ideals of party aside, they also have the capacity to win elections for the party. Suffice to add that no individual wins elections for any political party, it is the collective of all and we are sure the APC can achieve this,” Audu added.
On their part, APC youths under the auspices of North East APC Youth Stakeholders Forum insisted on special consideration for the zone in choosing a vice presidential candidate.
Chairman of the forum, Haruna Sardauna, said the VP slot should be given to anybody from North East, irrespective of whether he is a Muslim or Christian.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, Sardauna noted that giving the VP slot to North East would neutralise the stronghold of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, help in mobilising massive support from the region and other zones to ensure victory for Tinubu and the APC.
The youth stakeholders said, “The North-East region had consistently given block votes to the APC and supported candidate from the other region, right from its inception. We therefore, appeal to our national, state critical and non-critical stakeholders, especially our father President Muhammadu Buhari, our candidate, Bola Tinubu and Abdullahi Adamu led APC National Working Committee to give to zone it to us.”