As the search for a Presidential running mate in the All Progressives Congress intensifies, the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma has asserted that the South-East wanted to be president of Nigeria and not running mate.
Speaking with correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa Abuja on Tuesday, Uzodinma, said the decision to choose a running mate is entirely within the power of Bola Ahmed Tinubu and not the APC governors.
Hope Uzodinma said the ultimate goal of the party is to win the election and Tinubu will factor into consideration some ideas and issues like how to create a spread to attract votes.
On the issue of running mates, Hope Uzodinma added that the South-East is not meant for running mates because what they wanted was to be president of Nigeria and it was proper for them to ask for it.
When asked to comment on the move by Tinubu to run with a Muslim-Muslim ticket, the Imo governor argued that the Nigerian Constitution does not dwell on religion as a factor in the selection of a presidential running mate.
He said: “There are internal characteristics that the decision-maker may consider in the process of making his decision. The decision whether to choose Mr A or Mr B to be a running mate to a candidate is entirely that of the candidate.”
“You started by saying the governors of the South-East are complaining of not having the opportunity of being a running mate anymore. But that is not the sole ambition of Southeasterners, let alone the governors. In the business of presidential primaries, there is no election for a vice-presidential candidate. The business there is just to elect a candidate.”
“In that ballot paper, there is no room for delegates to vote for who will be your running mate. So, that explains why it is not a decision for the public. It is the decision of the candidate. The first thing to do is to let the candidate. Now a candidate has emerged.”
“Now the candidate will factor into consideration some ideas and issues like how to create a spread. 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 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.”
“So, maybe I’ll start from the denomination, ethnicity, or followership. In this business of democracy, I think the 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 about how to use where I come from in taking national decisions.”
“The second question which is about a running mate, South-East is not meant for running mates. What we wanted as a zone was to be the president of Nigeria and I was convinced that it was proper for us to ask for it. But in this business, it is partisan democracy, the minority will have their view but the majority will have their way. In the wisdom of the delegates that elected the presidential candidate, a candidate has emerged, our party APC will come together, work for our candidate and produce the next president.”