By Adebayo Felix
Thousands of Nigerians are urging Ahmed Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress to select Yahaya Bello, the governor of Kogi State, as his running mate in order for the ruling party to have formidable candidates whose influences extend across the north and south, as well as across religion and age groups.
If the APC truly wants to win the 2023 election, it must look no further than Yahaya Bello as Tinubu’s running mate for several reasons: Bello is acceptable to both Christians and Muslims; Bello is the candidate of the youth; Bello has the northern influence required of a southern candidate; Bello has the required fame; and Bello already has an existing structure and supporters base.
1. Investigating these five items Let us start with Governor Bello’s acceptance across religious lines. To begin, the governor is currently regarded as the most religiously tolerant of Nigerian leaders. This follows the massive Church he built for Christian worshippers in the Kogi State Government House. It was the first of its kind in the state, with the majority of Muslims, and he went on to unify all religions, making the state free of religious crises. With this track record, Nigerians are willing to accept a Muslim-Muslim ticket if it is Bello and not a core northern Muslim.
2. Of course, Tinubu’s age has been a major factor militating against the APC having a massive youth support, and in order to overcome this, the party must bring a youthful person onboard as a running mate. This will also allow various youth organizations formed in support of Yahaya Bello’s ambition to collapse structure in favor of Tinubu and the APC.
3. A Southern candidate winning the presidency on a joint ticket with a strong northern leader is nearly impossible. Bello, once again, fits in. He is now regarded as the most powerful governor in the north, owing to the fight he put up during the recent Primary Election, in which he received many votes while others received none. The APC can rely on Bello to deliver the north. His domain is the north central, and the north east and west are where he could get reasonable votes or possibly win votes for the APC.
4. The Kogi State governor has been widely discussed on social media and offline in recent times. His fight against insecurity, as well as his unusual audacity in running for president, earned him widespread fame, with many Nigerians rallying behind him. Tinubu should think about this very carefully.
5. Finally, as a former presidential candidate, Governor Bello has an existing political structure that Tinubu and the APC must leverage in order to overcome the opposition’s fierce alliance.