By Marie-Therese Nanlong

Jos – The former Secretary-General of the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, Anthony Sani has asked Presidential candidates of the different political parties to consider the three dividing lines of ethnicity, religion, and region in the choice of their running mates ahead of the 2023 general elections saying those advocating for the Muslim/Muslim tickets do not understand the constitution and the principle of federal character.

He faulted the Kaduna State Governor, Ahmed el-Rufai for suggesting such explaining that Kaduna is not as diverse as Nigeria and Christians in the country cannot be underrated.

Sani advised the All Progressives Congress, APC Presidential flag bearer Bola Tinubu and the leadership of the party to pick a Christian from the North as Vice President, even as he urged that of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP to look south for his Vice as this is the surest way to peace and unity given the realities in the country.

Speaking with journalists in Jos on Monday, Sani noted many names have been listed as possible running mates including that of the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara but in his opinion, Dogara has what it takes to support Tinubu to deliver good governance to the people if he is chosen as a running mate.

His words, “… Dogara is a young man with sufficient public intelligence with a rich electoral asset. If you look at his electoral value he has never lost an election. The former Speaker was able to command national respect because of his liberal disposition and because of that, given his liberal posture, I am tempted to recommend him for the position of the vice president of Nigeria.

“My suggestion does not mean that I have an influence on Tinubu and the leadership of APC, but Tinubu has earlier said he knows how to hunt for his first eleven, and as far as I am concerned Dogara can make his first eleven.”

On the controversy on whether Tinubu should pick a Christian northerner or a Muslim, he added, “The constitution is very clear on it in respect to the federal character which says no any group should dominate as such a thing will not promote the unity of the country. As far as Nigeria is concerned the dividing lines today are about three, ethnicity, religion, and region and there is no way the President can pick his running mate from his region or religion.

“If the President comes from a region, the vice president from the other side. If the president is coming from the south, naturally the vice president should come from the North. Because religion is also part of the three dividing lines, the constitution expects that the vice president should come from the opposite of the president’s religion.

“Tinubu has made it very clear that he is coming to unite the country and not to divide it and if people are talking of Muslim/Muslim ticket I wonder if you they are mindful of the federal character. Tinubu wants to unite the country so that it will be peaceful for the younger generation to inherit, I am not expecting Tinubu to pick a Muslim from the North as his running mate.”

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