Nigeria’s Tinubu picks Muslim senator as presidential running mate


LAGOS (Reuters) – Nigeria’s presidential frontrunner Bola Tinubu on Sunday picked as his running mate a sitting Muslim senator and former governor of northeastern Borno state, the heartland of an Islamist insurgency that has killed and displaced 1000’s of individuals.

The transfer by Tinubu, who can be Muslim, breaks with previous apply the place presidential candidates from main political events have chosen running mates from a unique faith in a bid to foster unity within the nation.

Tinubu, 70, was final month elected as the ruling All Progressives Congress occasion’s candidate to succeed incumbent Muhammadu Buhari, who will step down subsequent 12 months after finishing two phrases.

A Yoruba Muslim from southwestern Nigeria, Tinubu informed reporters after assembly Buhari in northern Katsina state that he had chosen Kashim Shettima, 55, to be his presidential running mate.

By selecting Shettima, Tinubu may be searching for a deputy broadly acceptable to powerbrokers within the north, which is a big voting block.

“He is competent, succesful, dependable and ready,” Tinubu stated.

Atiku Abubakar, the principle opposition candidate and Tinubu’s principal rival, is a northern Muslim who has picked a Christian running mate from the south.

Since the top of navy rule in 1999, Nigeria has adopted an unwritten rule the place energy is shared between the largely Muslim north and primarily Christian south.

Growing insecurity can be a serious election challenge subsequent 12 months. A decade-long Islamist insurgency and assaults and kidnappings for ransom by armed gangs largely within the northwest are among the main safety challenges.

During Shettima’s 2011-2019 governorship, Borno state grabbed international headlines when Boko Haram militants kidnapped greater than 200 schoolgirls in Chibok group in April 2014.

Shettima was amongst those that supported the discharge of low-risk detainees caught up within the authorities’s struggle towards insurgents, as a good-will gesture.

(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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