The All Progressives Congress, APC, National Stakeholders have called on the party’s leadership to narrow the search for its 2023 Vice Presidential candidate to a northern Christian.
Aliyu Audu, the National Coordinator of the group, made the call at a news conference on Monday in Abuja.
He added that picking a northern Christian as the party’s vice-presidential candidate would ensure national inclusion and help to manage differences and promote national unity.
“Having successfully crossed the hurdle of producing a presidential candidate from the southern region in the person of Sen. Bola Tinubu, the APC 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 religious faith will produce the Vice Presidential candidate,” Mr Audu said.
He added that the APC national stakeholders were deeply concerned about the raging controversy which had heated the polity in the last few days.
“Why we are conscious of the fact that religion should not be a determining factor in our leadership selection process, the peculiar circumstance the nation finds herself calls for 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 these sensibilities in critical decision making.
“This is why we think that the APC must be guided by the sense of these sensibilities in the selection of the Vice Presidential Candidate of the party,” he said.
He added to do otherwise, would be to further fuel what divided us and gave room for mischief makers to take advantage of our differences.
According to Mr Audu, Nigeria is in dire need of good governance and this can come from either a Muslim or a Christian leader.
“But in the spirit of nationalism, justice and fairness which the northern governors demonstrated a few days ago, the leaders of the North on whose shoulder the emergence of the Vice Presidential candidate rests must also demonstrate this spirit,” he said.
This, he said, they should do by ensuring that the vice presidential candidate comes from the Christian faith.
He added that the northern APC had in its fold, capable individuals from the Christian faith with proven track records that could deliver just like anyone from the other faith.
Mr Audu said aside their capability to deliver on the party’s ideals, they also had the capacity to win elections for it.
He stressed that no one wins elections for any political party, but the collective will of all, adding that the APC could achieve electoral victory with unity of purpose.
“The APC National Stakeholders therefore call on the party to narrow its search of a Vice Presidential candidate to a northern Christian whom we have in abundance.
“Doing this will ensure national inclusion and help to manage our differences and promote national unity,” he said.
Meanwhile, the North-East APC Youth Stakeholders Forum, also in a news conference, appealed to the party leadership to pick its vice presidential candidate from the North-East.
Haruna Sardauna, Chairman of the forum, said zoning the position of the Vice President to the North-East would neutralise the chances of PDP presidential candidate at the election.
He added that it would also help in mobilising massive support from the region and other zones to ensure electoral victory for the APC and its presidential candidate.
“While appreciating our party’s loyal members, especially from the North-West and North-Central Zones, we are appealing for their special consideration for the North-East Zone to produce the country’s next Vice President,” he said.
He added that the region had brought block votes to the APC at every elections and had always supported its candidates from the other regions from its inception.
He said the region is currently faced with issues of insurgency and other social unrest, adding that the party’s critical stakeholders should consider its position.
Mr Sardauna, however, appreciated the media for successfully covering the APC Special National Convention and Presidential Primary Election that produced Senator Bola Tinubu as the party’s 2023 presidential candidate.
He also congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari for recognising June 12 as Democracy Day.