By Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
In compliance with the Electoral Law and Guidelines of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the standard bearer of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Asíwájú Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and his Labour Party counterpart, Mr Peter Obi yesterday returned their duly completed nomination forms to the commission with the names of their running mates.
A Chieftain of the APC from Katsina State, Ibrahim Kabir Masari was named as Tinubu’s running mate while Labour Party picked Dr Doyin Okupe, former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Special Assistant on Media and Publicity as Obi’s running mate.
The submission of the names of both Masari and Okupe was however done to beat the June 17 2022 deadline by INEC for the submission of the names of parties’ running mates. The parties are at liberty to substitute the names at a later stage before the general election.
Tinubu’s spokesman, Tunde Rahman confirmed that the forms were returned on Wednesday June 15, two days ahead of schedule. “We wish to reiterate that Asíwájú Tinubu now stands ready to contest the February 25, 2023 presidential election to deliver progressive good governance to our people”, he stated.
A chieftain of the APC from Katsina state, Alhaji Kabiru Faskari also confirmed the name of Ibrahim Kabir Masari as the vice presidential candidate of the party.
Vanguard had earlier reported that Masari’s name would be submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC in “holding capacity”, implying that he could be substituted later on.
Speaking on a Channels Television programme monitored in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti state capital on Friday, Faskari said; “Ibrahim Kabir Masari is our vice presidential nominee and he was the National Welfare Secretary of the APC under Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. He is a well known politician”.
Asked whether Masari’s name had been uploaded to the INEC candidates nomination portal, Faskari said; “Yes, his name has been submitted”.
When probed further on the religious identity of the nominee, Faskari said; “Well, he qualifies as a veteran in terms of politics. He began as a member of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP. He is young and represents the youth. He is grounded in politics because he was even a national officer of the APC.
“He is quite close to the presidential candidate because he has been with him for a long time and I believe it is a very informed decision to put out his name”.
Faskari added that the decision was entirely that of the presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu having consulted with President Muhammadu Buhari, state governors and the national leadership of the party.
He said though Masari may not have been very popular in the sense of being a state governor or cabinet minister, but that “he is very known to us in the APC”.
INEC National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye and the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi did not immediately respond to calls seeking confirmation of the nomination.
National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Barr. Felix Morka did not also answer his calls.
The Labour Party, on its part submitted the name of the former Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Dr Doyin okupe as the party’s vice presidential candidate. Okupe who disclosed this by himself last night while featuring in a programme on the Channels Televison, “Politics Today”, said that his name had been submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, by his party as the Vice Presidential candidate.
He said, “I stand in as the vice presidential candidate of the party. Labour party has submitted my name as the VP of the party”.
Okupe who spoke on how his party was going to dethrone the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, said LP would ensure it returned Nigeria to its rightful owners, noting that Nigerians have suffered so much in the hands of APC.