Bola Tinubu, candidate of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has revealed the name of its running mate in the race for the supreme magistracy: it is Senator Kashim Shettima. A choice that is both logical and daring: logical because Mr. Shettima, 55, is native from Borno State, which balances the duo in terms of age and geographical representation. Dared, because they are both Muslims: Bola Tinubu thus breaks with a long-standing practice according to which presidential candidates choose running mates of different religions in order to promote national unity.
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“He is competent, capable and reliable”, justified the former governor of Lagos after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari in Katsina State (north), where the latter went to celebrate the Tabaski festival.
His competitor, former vice-president Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP, opposition) did not deviate from the norm: a Muslim from Adamawa (north), he chose a Christian and southern governor, Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, chief executive of Delta State , as a running mate. Since the end of military rule in 1999, Nigeria has followed an unwritten rule that power is shared between the predominantly Muslim north and the predominantly Christian south.
Growing insecurity will be a major electoral issue, particularly that caused by the ten-year Islamist insurgency, attacks and kidnappings for ransom perpetrated by armed gangs, mainly in le North West.