The Director-General of the Tinubu Support Group, Abdulmumin Jibrin, has said a Muslim-Muslim ticket does not matter if the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, becomes the presidential candidate of the ruling party in the 2023 general elections.
Jibrin, a former member of the House of Representatives who led the campaign for Femi Gbajabiamila to become Speaker of the 9th House, said Nigerians are more interested in the quality of persons to occupy public offices.
The former lawmaker, who is now Executive Director (Business Development) at the Federal Housing Authority, stated this on Politics Today, a current affairs programme on Channels Television which was monitored by our correspondent from Abuja on Monday.
Jibrin noted that there are thousands of Tinubu support groups across the country, adding that the TSG that he is leading is to coordinate and supervise the other groups.
When asked if it is true that the former Governor of Lagos State is running for president, the ex-lawmaker said, “Yes, he is running. Absolutely, he is running for office… for the Presidency in 2023. Take it to the bank, he is running. Absolutely. We have discussed with him extensively. So much is going on now behind the scene.
“Sometimes, I even find it a bit funny when I see people saying ‘is he contesting or is he not contesting?’ The only thing that is left is just the formality of organising when he is going to express his aspiration, just to notify the public that, ‘Yes, I am going to contest.’ But the issue of Bola Tinubu contesting is a done deal. He is going to contest the election, I can assure you that. Insha Allah, he is going to be on the ballot paper.”
Speaking on the zoning of the presidency and whether the North is convinced that the office should go to the South after the tenure of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), Jibrin said as far as the APC was concerned, if the party wanted to be fair, power should rotate to the South.
The head of the TSG, however, noted that contestants usually emerge from other zones in the previous elections against the power rotation principle, stressing that people are free to contest regardless of the zoning.
When asked about the fate of the South-East geopolitical zone, he said once power is zoned to the South, the geopolitical zones in the region are free to seek power.
Responding to a question of the ethnoreligious configuration should Tinubu, a Muslim, emerge as the candidate of the APC, Jibrin said, “I completely agree and understand that our country is sensitive when it comes to politics, the issue of ethnic and religious considerations. It is very serious. Nobody can sweep that under the carpet.”
He added, “But talking personally and weighing the mood of the country, I can assure you that if you give people a choice of someone who will come and improve on what we already have on ground, and revamp the economy and increase every aspect and every part of the country, people will just want to see progress. People just want to see development. For me, it doesn’t matter.
“If you bring a Christian-Christian presidency or a Muslim-Muslim presidency, for me, personally, it doesn’t matter. Even within the party and my TSG, we have had this conversation.”
The former lawmaker, who noted that ethnicity and religion are critical factors in Nigerian politics, said Tinubu is detribalised and not a religious fanatic. He added that the APC chieftain would “make the right decision” when choosing his running mate.
Jibrin recalled how David Mark and Ike Ekweremadu were opposed by lawmakers for being Christians when they were to become the President and Deputy President of the Senate, respectively, in the 6th and 7th Assembly. According to him, they not only won their elections in the chamber but also supervised the most stable Senate since 1999 under their leadership.
Jibrin also cited the example of the current Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila; and Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, who are both Muslims.
“I led the (speakership) campaign. They said we were not going to win. I said when Nigerians see quality, they take quality over ethnicity and religion, except you do not present quality to Nigerians,” he said.