On Sunday, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, finally unveiled Senator Kashim Shettima as his running mate.
Being a Muslim, many Nigerians expected the former governor of Lagos state to select a Christian as his running mate.
But he didn’t. He went for a fellow Muslim instead.
Here are four reasons his choice of a Muslim as running mate may backfire in 2023.
Fear of Islamisation
For long, there has been growing fear of Islamisation in Nigeria. The development gained more attention under the President Mohammadu Buhari-led administration due to his perceived silence on attacks against Christians.
Opting for a Muslim-Muslim ticket is therefore likely to make many Christians withdraw their support for Tinubu in 2023. In Nigeria, religion is one of the major factors that influence the electorate’s choice of candidates and many expected Tinubu to have done better in this regard while picking his running mate.
Growing anti-APC movement
In 2015, the APC ousted the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after the latter’s 16-year stint in power due to demands for an alternative party by many Nigerians.
The APC is likely going to face the same conundrum as the 2023 election closes in. The ruling party has largely lost its once-cherished goodwill due to its failure to make good most of its campaign promises, particularly in fighting insecurity, corruption and revamping the economy.
Tinubu’s Muslim-Muslim ticket may therefore further shrinks the party’s already waning popularity which could bring about its defeat in 2023.
The Buhari factor
To many Nigerians, Buhari represents failed leadership. He is considered too old to handle a demanding office like the presidency. With the Buhari experience, there’s already growing scrutiny over Tinubu’s ability to deliver. The Muslim-Muslim ticket will likely thicken criticisms about him in the coming days.
Fear of domination among minority groups
With an estimated 200 ethnic groups in Nigeria, fear of domination is a common phenomenon among minority groups. This informed growing allegations of marginalisation and secession in some quarters.
For instance, several people clamoured for a president of Igbo extraction in 2023 and asked the APC and the PDP to zone their tickets to the south-east.
But the two major political parties didn’t heed such calls. Tinubu’s Muslim-Muslim ticket will depeen fear of domination among minority groups ahead of the 2023 elections and that may affect his chances at the polls.