**Why VP argued for a Christian running mate for APC presidential flagbearer*

The eventual adoption of a Muslim-Muslim ticket by the presidential flagbearer of the ruling APC has ignited a new wave of tension in the party as the country’s most senior Christian official, the Vice President is said to have warned that such an adoption would not augur well both for the party and the nation.

An informed source in the Presidency disclosed yesterday that the VP, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has expressed a serious objection to the adoption of a Muslim-Muslim ticket.

According to the source, “Prof. Osinbajo is opposed to this thing announced on Sunday, and his objections are well known both to the party and even the flagbearer himself.”

The presidential source disclosed that the VP had initially opposed a Muslim- Muslim ticket in 2014, even before what later turned out as his own eventual nomination as VP.

Then he was reported to have pointedly explained to former Lagos Governor Bola Tinubu that a Muslim-Muslim ticket would simply alienate Christians. An article published by Thisday’s Olawale Olaleye, who is believed to be the publicist of Sen. Ibikunle Amosun, had noted that the VP’s opposition to the Muslim- Muslim ticket in 2015 was responsible for Tinubu insisting that Osinbajo should not be put forward as VP.

Later the then APC flagbearer, President Muhammadu Buhari also shared that position and rejected overtures to name Tinubu as his running mate after emerging as the presidential candidate.

Buhari’s view then was that a Muslim-Muslim ticket would clearly alienate the Christian community across the country at a time when religious sensibilities had become so widespread. Many believe that such sensibilities may have even deepened further, eight years after.

The informed source said on Monday that the VP had again recently been quoted in a news piece by an online platform Quest Times on June 16 2022, counselling the APC chieftains and the flagbearer to avoid an unbalanced ticket, arguing that such would simply be untenable and an unnecessary risk.

The VP reportedly explained in that report that “the logic, fairness and justice of a balanced ticket is unassailable. The argument that merit should be considered above a Muslim- Christian balance presents a false choice. It is not one or the other. You can get all the merit you want in a balanced ticket.”

In addition the VP is said to have recently affirmed the view again, saying “anything short of a balanced ticket would create needless tension and further aggravate some of the country’s already sore fault- lines”

As the political tensions brew, fresh talks of political realignments were already buzzing since after the announcement on Sunday as the NNPP and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso are renewing the plan to build a coalition with the Vice President, Prof. Osinbajo in what is seen as an opportunity to offer a credible and faith-balanced option in next year’s Presidential election.

A source said a meeting to explore such a possibility is now in the works.

Also, Christian leaders including major denomination heads are now said to be considering reaching out to eminent Nigerians, a former president and even
top party chieftains across some of the leading political parties in the country on the need to offer the Nigerian electorate a “saner option which does not relegate any religion to a perpetual second class.”

Another Presidential source who pleaded for anonymity said “APC may have shot itself on the foot with this kind of ticket, and the tensions going on in the party and the country since the announcement was made is a bad thing.”

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