Gov Hope Uzodinma of Imo state has said the South East was more interested in producing the next president of Nigeria than angling to be a candidate’s running mate.
Uzodinma stated this on Tuesday, while speaking to State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja
Gov Hope Uzodinma, however, said the choice of the running mate would be decided by APC presidential ticket, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and not governors.
Fielding a question on Muslim-Muslim tickets and the choice of a 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 South easterners, 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.”
When asked to comment on the alleged 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.