The camps of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart, Atiku Abubakar have narrowed down on two persons for consideration as running mates.
Credible sources told Daily Trust that the Tinubu’s camp has narrowed down on Senator Kashim Shettima, a former governor of Borno State and Atiku’s backers are concluding talks on Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa for the position of the vice president.
Barring any last minute-changes, Shettima and Okowa would be unveiled as the running mates of the two principal contenders for the 2023 presidency.
Since the conclusion of the primaries of the two political parties, attention has since shifted to the selection of running mates of the two leading political parties in the country.
Analysts say the choice of the running mates will determine the victory or otherwise of the two candidates in the February 25, 2023, presidential election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed June 17, as the deadline for the submission of candidates for the presidential positions.
Multiple sources confirmed that Tinubu had pencilled down Shettima, who played a critical role in his campaign as his running mate, bringing on a muslim-muslim ticket on Nigerians, which the Christian Association of Nigeria had warned against.
Another source in the presidency said Shettima enjoys the full support of all the three APC governors in the North East geopolitical zone even as he has been supporting programmes and policies of President Muhammadu Buhari by attributing the success he recorded in Borno to the support of the president.
“Buhari is not averse to the candidature of Shettima,” he said.
Similarly, Atiku, the candidate of the PDP is set to nominate Governor Okowa for the position of vice president.
A committee constituted to assist Atiku in searching for a suitable running mate, chaired by General Aliyu Gusau, a former National Security Adviser (NSA), has submitted its report.
The Gusau-committee, according to sources, has recommended Okowa as well as two others – Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and Akwa Ibom State governor, Udom Emmanuel for consideration.
The source, however, said the former vice president is more comfortable with the Delta State governor given the role he played during the party’s presidential primary.
“Okowa mobilised resources for us during the primary. He is the preferred contender, even though others are making case for Wike and Udom,” he said.
The report of another committee constituted to search for a suitable running mate is expected to be ready today.
The committee, comprising governors, members of the National Working Committee (NWC) and the Board of Trustees (BoT), was constituted to carry forward the assignment given to the Gusau’s committee.