A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Magnus Abe, has said that the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal is on his own.
Abe was a member of the committee that recommended the former Governor of Borno State, Senator Kashim Shettima, as the running-mate to the presidential candidate of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
He has now revealed that the choice of Shettima was based on the recommendation of the committee, adding that there would always be a reaction, no matter the choice made.
Abe stated this Thursday night while featuring on ARISE News Channel, where he stated categorically that what would bring unity to the country is not the position of the vice president.
He said: “With all due respect to my friend and brother, Laws, I think that the path he has chosen is his personal path. First of all, the way he talks down in Asiwaju in public every time things are not going the way he likes them to go I considered it very disrespectful.”
Asked if Lawal does not have the right to freedom of speech, Abe noted, “Lawal has the freedom of speech as guaranteed in the constitution, but he does not speak as a citizen who is talking as guaranteed by the constitution but speaks as an associate of Asiwaju. That’s what gives prominence to what he’s saying.
“If you are speaking as an associate of somebody who you publicly proclaim is your friend, you are his supporter, you are working to make him president, you should show him some respect.”
While Abe refused to go into details of the criteria used in recommending Shettima as the most qualified running mate, he said there were several things the committee took into consideration before arriving at the decision.
He added: “Anybody who is a student of Nigerian politics understands that in a situation where the presidential candidate has come from a section of the country that is traditionally Christian, you have to choose a running mate from the other section of the country. You have to look at the possibility that it could go either way and that depends not just on religion but on a lot of factors.”
Abe explained that what Nigeria needed was a united, prosperous, and economically viable nation, adding that to be able to achieve that, there was a need for a structure that is strong enough to deliver on that.
Abe stated: “Everybody is talking that the country is disunited; the country has never been so divided, but we’ll have a Christian vice president. So it is clear that what will bring unity to our country is not the position of the vice president. It is the things that we do and how we manage ourselves moving forward.
“The only position in the government is not the position of Vice President, you have other positions, you have Senate President and you just said Babachir Lawal arguing that a Christian cannot be Senate President, but that decision has not been made.
“So it is clear that there are other positions that if given would help to bring that sense of unity. It is not only the position of the vice president that will bring unity. So, if a Christian and a Muslim ticket was to guarantee unity, the Nigeria should be very united. So, it is clear that there are other factors that guarantee unity.”