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The Politics of Running Mates in Nigeria

Article written By: Chukwuemeka Oluka



Running Mates

The presidential primary elections of political parties in Nigeria may have come and gone, but surely, the gimmicks and fireworks witnessed are yet to wane. 

The drama may seem to have faded now that the primaries have been concluded, but the heat is on, the pressure is high and the intrigues are starting to unfold following consultations, permutations and horse-trading over whom the presidential flagbearers of the major parties will pick as running mates. The search is on and indeed, it has reached fever pitch.

INEC Chairman, Running Mate
| INEC Chairman, Yakubu Mahmood

Recall that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday, June 9, 2022, gave Friday, June 17, 2022, as a deadline for political parties to submit the names of their Presidential candidates and running mates or face disqualification.

It also issued Friday July 15, 2022 as a deadline for the parties to submit names of gubernatorial candidates and their running mates.

Submission of names will be via INEC’s portal, and names must be uploaded on or before the deadline, after which the portal will automatically shut down.

According to the electoral umpire, the idea was established to avoid physical meetings that might occur between party officials and the commission’s staff to submit the list of Party Presidential and gubernatorial candidates as well as their running mates for the 2023 general election.

In the search for the Vice President (VP) slot for the leading opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), some governors elected under the party are scheming to be picked. They are believed to want to play a major role.

PDP Presidential flagbearer, Atiku, Running Mate
| Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, PDP Presidential flagbearer

Events in the party suggest it’s a battle between Nyesom Wike and Ifeanyi Okowa of Rivers state and Delta state respectively; both from the South-South region. It appears no one is thinking beyond governors. None is thinking the way of bringing a technocrat on board. Could this be why Aminu Tambuwal, governor of Sokoto state suggested that a former governor or a current member of the National Assembly will also be a good pick?

Going down some memory lane between 1999 and 2015 when the PDP held power, the party had maintained some political power balance between the north and the south, with presidential candidates and their running mates emerging from the two regional divides. However, not everyone from the PDP feels that the power balancing between the north and south has been fair enough.

For some, they are concerned that the national chairman is from the north, the board of trustees chairman from the north and the Presidential candidate of the party from the north. Yet for them, the surviving adrenaline of the party is in the south.

For others, they felt the PDP has not been fair to the southeast region that had continually thrown their weight completely behind the party. For this reason, some political observers say the region may be unlikely to accept the VP position.

Though some southern candidates were lobbying for the VP, the choice of who becomes the running mate to Atiku Abubakar remains another critical decision the party’s leadership must carefully consider.

Moving to the camp of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), many people are celebrating Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s emergence as the party’s flag bearer. It means the power according to the party shifting to the south.

Apc, bat
| Bola Ahmed Tinubu, APC presidential flagbearer

For the APC, it makes sense to have the president emerge from the south; unfortunately, not the part of the south many had expected it to be. Expectations were that the APC will demonstrate fairness if they believed in one Nigeria; if they believed in the unity, progress and development of the country as they preached. If they truly believed in equity, the opportunity to prove that to people in the southeast would’ve been taken by the party by micro-zoning the Presidency to the southeast.

One may ask how this is related to the search for the party’s presidential flagbearer’s running mate.

But then, ask no more because this portrays the APC as a party willing to take risks in the race to retain power in the coming 2023 general elections. As the permutations intensify for who Bola Tinubu’s running mate will be, the party is believed to be willing to damn certain consequences.

It is no brainer that the APC’s searchlights will be beamed towards the north since their presidential flagbearer is a southerner. But that is not just all; Bola Tinubu is a Muslim and the possibility of a Muslim-Muslim ticket is a puzzle the APC must solve as fast as possible. Is the APC ready to damn another consequence? Will the party be insensitive to pick a ticket that will further polarize the nation along religious lines? Have they looked in hindsight to the outcome of the MKO Abiola/Kingibe Muslim-Muslim ticket in 1993?

While political party members are kicking against a Muslim-Muslim ticket, Nasir El Rufai believes competence is vital for a running mate, not religion. However, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has warned the two leading political parties to bury the thought of a Christian-Christian or Muslim-Muslim ticket in the 2023 elections. Will the major political parties then ignore the big elephant in the room as their search for running mate intensifies? Time will tell.

If they decide not to ignore the big elephant in the room, this will mean that the presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar will be in search of a Christian Southerner since he is from the north, while the candidate of the ruling APC, Bola Tinubu a southerner, may be combing for a Northern Christian.

Peter Obi
| Peter Obi, Labour Party Presidential Flagbearer

For Peter Obi, the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate flagbearer, analysts believe his running mate will be from the northern part of the country, probably a Muslim, given that he is from the southern region and a Christian.

Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) is believed to be contemplating picking the party’s vice-presidential candidate from the south of Nigeria while following similar conditions with the PDP.

But unlike other presidential flagbearers, Obi has the power to choose his Vice. He will nominate his vice but will be based on the approval of the national convention of the Labour Party.

In the meantime, there is a clear constitutional provision that assigns duties to the VP of the country. She or he is the head of the economic management team; in this case, the National Economic Council, (NEC). Therefore, whoever emerges in terms of the general consideration the political parties should look at, must be somebody who is mentally cerebral, someone who has the mental stability, and who understands the general economic world-view. Political parties should be looking at all the indices

Yes, a lot of the job the VP does is assigned to him by his principal, the president. The VP is to provide a lot of administrative, economic, intellectual and political support to the president from the background without actually being in front. But part of the deal is that the VP should be as good as the president, such that in the event something happens to the president, the VP must have the same capacity to deliver where it becomes necessary.

Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Runnin Mate
| Rabiu Musa Kwankwao, NNPP Presidential flagbearer

He must not be a second-class administrator. Does this probably explain why Nigeria has had a history of producing VPs that are many times brighter than their bosses? In terms of academic qualifications, they were matchless. The difference was like day and night.

How about situations where most presidents and most governors hardly work well with their deputies? Most times, this is because deputies are selected by the party based on certain factors like expediency, political calculations or settling a particular zone or region. When such happens, the selected candidate may not be best of friends with the presidential candidate or may not be the presidential candidate’s choice of a favourite either. So, when you see a man the president or governor loves is when he picks chief of staff. This explains why the president works closely with the chief of staff.

There is the proclivity of mutual suspicion between the President and his vice because the president knows that if he dies in office, the vice will be the first replacement. So, deputies are the first suspect and they are kept sometimes at arm’s length. Everything is very formal. There is limited cordiality because you don’t lose your guards with a man you know will take over when you die and nobody wants to die.

But then, mutual suspicion rarely ranks top when political parties go in search of a running mate of a flagbearer. Rather, parties are on the lookout for a candidate who will contribute immensely to winning the election. The candidate must have the needed political clout to swing votes in favour of the party. Else, such a candidate should be one that can bring the needed financial resources that will be contributory to getting the votes for the party during elections.

The true situation remains that the Nigeria 2023 general elections have reached a crucial stage of preparation. The politics of who becomes the running mate to presidential flagbearers of political parties remains a critical decision party hierarchies must carefully consider. It can become the final piece of the jigsaw for any party who gets it right. It can also spell doom if not carefully considered. The time is ticking!

About the Writer

Chukwuemeka Oluka writes in from Enugu, Nigeria. He is a passionate writer, a research enthusiast and a graduate of Electronic and Computer Engineering. He tweets “@Mekus_Oluka” and can be reach via “[email protected] is on a critical mission; to objectively and honestly represent the voice of ‘grassrooters’ in International, Federal, State and Local Government fora; heralding the achievements of political and other leaders and investors alike, without discrimination. This daily, digital news publication platform serves as the leading source of up-to-date information on how people and events reflect on the global community. The pragmatic articles reflect on the life of the community people, covering news/current affairs, business, technology, culture and fashion, entertainment, sports, State, National and International issues that directly impact the locals.

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​A Mistake in 2023 Will Ruin Any Hope Left of Nigeria as a Nation

Article by Hashim Suleiman



Nigeria and 2023 elections

At 39 years of age, I have been privileged to have obtained 16 years working experience non-stop and these years are spread around all the geopolitical zones of the country and those who know​​ me know I’m open minded enough to mingle deep into people I come across with a view of integrating and enriching my life living strategies and skills.

This makes me loaded enough to understand the demography of Nigeria as well as a fair understanding of the likely outcomes of events related to national development. In these years, I equally made mistakes owing to certain misconceptions and the outcomes of it have added to my experiences.

Nigeria Elections 2023

The key tool to ensure such development of a country in a democracy is politics and the understanding and/or lack of it determines the stability that would create a room to develop or not. However, the participation in politics has over the years been tainted by economic insecurities and greed to the point where people appear to have not learnt any mistakes regarding the choices they’ve made but I also understand that the opinion of the majority of voters are decided by the elites who control them by way of economy, belief and tribe and the question will now be whether these elites have seen the writing on the wall regarding the likely outcomes of 2023 or not?

The key among the problems of the nation at this period is disunity but those who are comfortable in their corners are blinded to see any problems with this and we should remind them.

The insecurities happening all over the country are a result of decayed morals and disunity and nothing more. When so much hatred has been disseminated into people to the extent that it has become a habit, what do you expect the offspring of such individuals to be, also full of hate and such hate has led to mutual suspicion over the time and finally to killings and unrest.

No part of the country is isolated from this problem and has the potential of graduating from inter communal to inter country if not managed well because at the moment, no one is talking about it except some of the candidates and it resonates with me. 

Some people mistake infrastructural development as the real development but it is too much love for luxury and enjoyment that makes them see it like that. A country like Gambia does not have as much infrastructure as Nigeria but the Europeans consider it as their best destination for vacation as against Lagos or Calabar that have the same beaches but lack security, sanity and serenity.

So they get enough FOREX to carry out their economic activities while we’re here and break off it. This should amplify the need for peace and unity. 

We are now faced with elections around the corner and the arguments appear as some have forgotten or don’t know about these very serious issues and are about making same mistakes, now let me break down what a mistake would do to eroding any hope left of a country called Nigeria, I would have added United country but the reality is Nigeria is not United as this moment, the cracks and red flags are too glaring for anyone to see. 

Anyone who votes you based on some creed or personal expectations will naturally develop a sense of entitlement and once such expectation do not start to come in the first three months of administration, agitations start and ego will not let the president who was insincere enough to use divisions to win to agree to correct those perceived injustices and trouble starts, this is in addition to the so many that are currently on the ground and then your guess about the state of the nation will be as good as mine- CHAOS. 

Therefore, more than ever before, Nigeria only needs competence, experience and a nationalist who genuinely believes in the oneness and indivisibility of Nigeria and such person who comes with this has to also come with clean hands from day one and not any form of skewed tendencies and whether the voters understand this or not remains to be seeing in the coming days but the word of caution must be sounded!!! 

May God bless our dear and beloved country Nigeria, some of us have a passion for her wellbeing!! 

Hashim Suleiman writes from Abuja. He can be reached via [email protected]

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Nigerian Actor and Politician Kenneth Okonkwo lashes out on the PDP and APC presidential candidates for not adhering to rules



The Nigerian Actor and Politician, Kenneth Okonkwo has slammed the APC’s and PDP’s Presidential candidates for not implementing the major rule involved in running for presidency, which is being very physically very active in the activities involved to show that they are sound in their mind and body. For example, He stated that none of the mentioned party’s candidate have gone for interviews which means the citizens don’t even know what they have in mind and plans for them.

Kenneth Okonkwo

The Actor who had been a member of the All Progressive Congress party all the while, just recently resigned from it to join the Labour Party. In his interview, he stated that he can not be in a party where it’s candidates are unaware of their responsibilities based on the written manifestos that’s usually laid down for them. He further made it clear that they lacked structure so he had to move to a party that knows and stands with and for their structure.

Kenneth Okonkwo receiving his LP ticket

He calls Peter Obi the only greatest marketer of his brand.
Watch the video of all he had to say below and tell us what you think about his opinion.

KeNneth Okonkwo’s interview

Read also: We Will Declare Northern Independent If PDP or APC give Igbo man Tickets – Arewa

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Group celebrates Obiano at 67, lauds sterling developmental strides



FORMER Governor Willie Obiano has been commended for his quiet leadership and sterling achievements while in office as Anambra State chief executive.

Willie Obiano
 Making the commendation during the celebration of the former governor’s 67th birthday recently, Anambra Development Union  enumerated 67 signature projects delivered by the Obiano administration in the state.

 The socio-political group recalled that the former governor, fondly called ‘Akpokuedike’, demonstrated commitment to and genuine love for the people, the state and Nigeria in general.

 In a written address on the occasion, which was presided over by Alex Osaemeka and Chukwuka Udeokeke, ADU listed the 67 impactful projects that Obiano initiated and completed to include the first flyover in Awka, the state capital; the first digital databank for Anambra farmers and active situation room for progress monitoring and evaluation; introduction of Anambra rice; as well as introduction of the state’s brand signature with a new anthem, logo, core values and colours.

 Praising the Anambra Rice brand, which has been described as the best in Africa, ADU said it is gratifying to note that Chief Obiano did not make much noise about his achievements while in office.

“As we celebrate Akpokuedike today and many years to come, may we never forget that His Excellency tarred over 1,000 kilometres of roads in the state, was first in integrating social media and e-Governance, and was the most tolerable to rants, attacks and insults that come with leadership.

  “His Light-Up Anambra initiative reinvigorated nightlife in the state, thereby creating a 24-hour economy, built the International Convention Centre in the state, and restored the dignity of our traditional institutions by putting a stop to the idea of inviting and arresting monarchs by the Nigerian police, and gave them brand new Innoson vehicles.”

 Osaemeka, who is a development expert, remarked that by making Anambra the first state in the South East and second to Rivers in Nigeria in the Fiscal Sustainability Index, Obiano remains the state's unsung hero.

 “With that singular feat in FSI, the former governor outperformed Lagos, Kano and 32 other states, just as he was able to offset N1.8bn of pension arrears, while maintaining regular monthly payment of salary, in line with his promise to deliver on physical and human infrastructure,” he stated.

Obiano, a native of Aguleri in Anambra East Local Government Area of the state, was born on August 8, 1957 and served as governor from March 17, 2014 to March 17, 2022.

 Before his election into office as governor, he had worked with two top Nigerian commercial banks, First Bank and Fidelity Bank, and excelled as a top flight auditor and risk analyst. He also had a stint with Shell Petroleum Development Company. 

   It was based on his excellent service record that the people of Anambra beckoned him to serve the state as governor after his retirement from Fidelity Bank as Executive Director.
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