FACT-CHECK: Did Awololwo Pick a Fellow Christian from the South as Running Mate in the 1979 Presidential Election?
The late Chief Obafemi Awolowo was claimed to have picked a Christian faithful from the South, Chief Umeadi Philip as his vice presidential running mate during 1979 election in the second republic.
A Facebook page titled; Buharist Reporters had on June 30 published a list of past presidential candidates who picked Christians as their running mate at various presidential elections in the country. The post which was captioned as ‘FLASH BACK CHRISTIAN-CHRSTIAN TICKET’ contained the names of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr Nnamdi Azikwe among others as credible example of such past presidential aspirants who ran Christian-Christian Tickets.
The page even went ahead to cite the military regime of former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, a retired General and Joseph Akinwale who ruled Nigeria between 1966-1975 as another case study.
Recently, the Nigerian polity has been heated up with furore across the public space which was occasioned by the choice of a serving Senator and former governor of Borno Dtate, Kashim Shettima by the flagbearer of All Progressive Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as his running mate.
Tinubu’s decision to fly his candidature through Muslim-Muslim ticket has continued to steer up reactions across the lengths and breadth of the country.
Some pundits argued that presently, a mono-religious ticket will not be good for a heterogeneous nation like Nigeria especially that the citizens’ division along the ethnic, religious, regional and political affiliations is more pronounced.
However, pro-Tinubus have supported this decision, emphasizing that this is not the first time a same religious faithful ticket will be run in the country for presidential election.
An online search by PRNigeria revealed that the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo had truly picked late Chief Philip Umeadi as his vice presidential candidate during 1979 electioneering season under the platform of Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN).
Awolowo was from Ogun State in the present-day South-West geopolitical zone while Umeadi was from the Old Anambra State now in the South-East and both of them were Christians.
However, there are accounts that Awolowo was forced to pick another southerner to deputize him in the election when his choices in the North actually turned him down.
The above revelation was made by the former Minister of Transport during the late General Sani Abacha’s military regime and the Director of Organization of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), Chief Ebenezer Babatope, in an interview published by Vanguard on December 25, 2010.
It is true that, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo had chosen a Christian faithful, the late Chief Philip Umeadi from Anambra to deputize him during the 1979 presidential election.
Based on the available information, it is an established fact that late Chief Obafemi Awolowo run a Christian-Christian ticket during his presidential bid in 1979 general elections.
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Report By: PRNigeria.com