Tinubu Returns From France, Considers Shettima, El-Eufai For VP Slot


HAMISU KANKIYA

After nearly two weeks in France, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, returned to Nigeria on Saturday morning.

Tinubu had, on June 27, left Nigeria for France, and according to a statement by Tunde Rahman, his media aide, the trip was for “important meetings”.

During his stay in France, reports say he met with political associates to consider his Campaign Organization as well as a possible candidate for the position of Vice Presidential candidate.

GOV. Nasiru el-Rufai

Kabir Masari, former APC welfare secretary, is currently the APC’s “placeholder” vice-presidential candidate.

Now that he has returned to the country, Tinubu is expected to announce the name of his running mate for the 2023 elections. Indications are that he will unveil his running mate immediately after the Mislim holidays.

Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State and Senator Kashim Shettima have in the past 2 weeks emerged frontrunners for the position. Initial efforts to woo Borno state governor, Babagana Zulum, did not yield fruitful results.

Zulum prefers remaining as Borno governor and insists his predecessor, Shettima, for the position.

Tinubu has also received criticism from those who believe a Muslim-Muslim ticket will aggravate sensibilities in the country. Since the search started, Plateau governor Simon Lalong is the only Christian seriously considered for the position.

While in France, Femi Otedola, billionaire businessman, as well as Dapo Abiodun, governor of Ogun, visited him.

Senator Kashim Shettima

Also, during his time in France, there were speculations that the APC presidential candidate met with Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers and a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on the 2023 elections.

However, his media office had denied the claim, saying although Tinubu holds Wike “in high esteem”, no meeting of the sort held in France.

Meanwhile, earlier on Friday, three APC governors — Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, and Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos — held a closed-door meeting with the Rivers governor at the latter’s Port Harcourt residence.

Details of what was discussed at the meeting are not yet clear, but the development comes amid speculations that Wike may defect from the PDP following his loss of the presidential and vice-presidential tickets.


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