Governor of Plateau State, Simon Bako Lalong has weighed in on the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket controversy which has dominated the Nigerian media and social media space.
Lalong who is also the Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum (NGF), said he believes in politics of inclusion.
In an interview with Trust TV, Lalong said jettisoning a known tradition would not augur well for the polity and it amounts to exclusion.
The Plateau state Governor also noted that he is not aspiring to be the running mate of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress because of religion.
“I am not aspiring to be vice president because of my faith; I am aspiring because I am qualified.”
Speaking on the role northern governors played in reducing tension at the height of campaigns before the APC’s special convention, Lalong said;
“When we picked them (five presidential aspirants), we didn’t talk about religion but then in politics, there is always a tradition.
“When people believe in that kind of tradition, the moment you deny them that tradition, it means that you are already excluding them from politics.”
On how he managed politics of inclusion in his state, He said;
“I realised that some of the crises that were happening in Plateau were because of exclusion. People believed that they were excluded.
“In politics, you talk about the majority having their way while the minority should be given the opportunity to have a say. Once you have that, you have complete peace in your place.
“We are talking about a peaceful federation. Already we are in crisis. Managing the crisis is not only winning the election but also how to govern the country.
“When you start thinking about that, you must look at every interest and give them that sense of belonging.”
On what the northern governors were doing on the selection of a running mate, Lalong added;
“I am sitting down like any other person and hoping because this is politics. I have heard my name here and there and other names.
“The flag bearer is at the discretion of choosing and I am sure he is going to do that in conjunction with Mr President. Though we expect that there will be cooperation in selecting a running mate, Mr President has not directed us to look for a running mate.”