As expected, the placeholder of the running mate to Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of Nigeria’s ruling party, the All-Progressive Congress (APC) Alhaji Ibrahim Masari voluntarily resigned and Senator Kashim Shettima announced as the new running mate. The unveiling of Senator Kashim Shettima is following several months of party scheming and strategizing to crown a rightful running mate acceptable to a majority of Nigeria’s voting population.
The announcement of a Muslim-Muslim candidacy by the APC is not the first of its kind in Nigeria’s electoral history as in the 1993 election, late Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola won the election with a fellow Muslim as a running mate named Baba Gana Kinigbe.
State of play
The announcement of Senator Kashim Shettima as the running mate to APC’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, has raised the eyebrows of many Nigerians with one of the foremost cries being the acceptability of a Muslim-Muslim candidacy at a time when religious crises have surfaced in certain parts of the country.
- Fresh in the memory of Nigerians is the gruesome murder of Deborah Samuel, a second-year Christian student of Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto State, for allegedly blaspheming the Muslim religion.
- Also recently, Nigerians witnessed the murder of about 40 Christian worshipers at St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State by suspected members of the Muslim terrorist group, Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP).
- The Christian sect who makes up at least 45% (as of 2018) of Nigeria’s 200 million population mark has been at the receiving end of the religion related crimes such as named above.
- This can potentially create a bias in the heart of Christain voters to the advantages of the opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and third force party, Labour Party (LP) who both have the customary Christain-Muslim candidacy pairing.
What to watch
The customary and most acceptable pairing of election victors in Nigeria from 1999 till date has been a Southern-Northern and Christian-Muslim candidacy. Another favored factor that gives election victors an edge over their opposition is party popularity. Right now, tick two of the three above boxes.