The declaration by Bola Ahmed Tinubu on the 2023 presidential election has halted all momentum in Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s camp, DAILY POST gathered.
Tinubu, the national leader of the APC and godfather of the Vice President, on Monday, declared his intention to run after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
In a press briefing after the meeting, Tinubu said the ambition to be the president of Nigeria has been a lifelong ambition.
Sources in Osinbajo’s camp saud that the move by Tinubu has temporarily halted the underground mobilization that is ongoing.
“Once baba had indicated interest, there is no need to contemplate running for the office,” the source said.
Before the announcement by Tinubu, Osinbajo was in a strong momentum. In December, former military president, Ibrahim Babangida had given some sort of endorsement. “I want you to tell him to stay on cause,” IBB had said.
It would be recalled that the Emir of Daura, Alhaji Dr Umar Farouk Umar, also had glowing remarks about the Vice President during the turbaning of Yusuf Buhari in Daura.
That was not the first time the Emir of Daura would be paying glowing remarks on Osinbajo. In 2018, the monarch said, “I can assure you that our son has enormous trust in you, I want you to continue to justify that confidence he reposed in you.”
Equally, despite the romance between Tinubu and Governor Umar Guanduje of Kano State, Kawu Hafiz, a member of the House of Representatives from Kano State also openly endorsed the aspiration of Osinbajo.
The Osibanjo Grassroot Organization had been moving around the country to solicit support for the former Attorney General of Lagos State.
In one fell swoop, this momentum is under threat because of the relationship with Tinubu.
Long years of loyalty to Tinubu
In 1999, Tinubu appointed Osinbajo as his Attorney General, a cabinet position that Osinbajo served in for 8 years. After the administration, Osinbajo remained part of that set of politicians like Rauf Aregbasola, Babatunde Fashola, Muiz Banire, Lai Mohammed and others.
From being commissioners, all these politicians have all been elevated to different positions and remained loyal to Tinubu. Aregbesola who was Commissioner for Works became governor of Osun State and now the Minister of Interior. Babatunde Fashola who was Chief of Staff later became Governor of Lagos State and now Minister of Works and Housing. Lai Mohammed also served as Chief of Staff and currently is the Minister of Information and Culture.
After a failed bid to join Buhari’s ticket as running mate as stated in the book by Bisi Akande, ‘My Participation’, Tinubu nominated Osinbajo as running mate to Buhari.
In 2016, speaking on who nominated him, Osinbajo had said, “An APC national leader whom I had served when he was governor was interested in putting me forward as the running mate of President Muhammadu Buhari in consensus with other national leaders of the party.”
6 years of Loyalty to Buhari
In 2019, during the 59th Independence Day, in the “This is Nigeria” magazine, Osinbajo had in a message titled “Uncompromised Loyalty” pledged his loyalty to Buhari
“He is the best boss and I find it thrilling to serve Nigeria under him. It is only responsible of me to give my unwavering loyalty to President Buhari,” the VP wrote.
The level of loyalty that exists between the two was further amplified by Buhari after his death rumour
“Poor Professor Yemi Osinbajo, even he had to deal with the rumours. Some people reached out to him to consider them to be his vice-president because they assumed I was dead. That embarrassed him a lot; we discussed it when he visited me while I was convalescing,” he said.
In 2018, when the President was in London for medical attention, the men of the Department of State Services (DSS) laid siege at the entrance of the National Assembly. Following the uproar, Osinbajo as the Acting President fired the once-powerful Lawal Daura.
Hence, when the President declared that he has a preferred candidate, but he will not mention the person, many believed it could be Osinbajo. In the aftermath of the declaration, Mr Tinubu notified Buhari of his intention to run despite claiming that he is still consulting.
On Tuesday, the Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi also went to Buhari to inform him that he is running.
Chief Segun Okunloye, a Chieftain of the APC, told DAILY POST that the campaign is all about timing and momentum. “The President’s declaration of having a favourite has sped up the process.
“The race to succeed Buhari is going to be about decisiveness because the APC is the biggest party currently, you can see the difficulty in even picking a date for the convention. So, politicians will have to be fast, else, you are out.”
Proxies battling it out…….
During the declaration, Mr Tinubu declined to talk about individuals, rather focused on selling himself; while Osinbajo is yet to make any comment on the issue, however, proxies have been talking.
On Tuesday, the Director-General of Bola Tinubu Support Group Council and former member of the House of Representatives, Abdulmummin Jubrin was on Arise TV. During the interview, he said even though both Osinbajo and Tinubu are qualified, only Tinubu can clinch the ticket and also win the general election.
According to him, Osinbajo’s aspiration is coming at the wrong time.
“I am not seeing registration of any organization called Asiwaju political dynasty. Asiwaju Tinubu himself is a product of long years of mentorship. He was a Senator standing many feet behind the then Presidential candidate, MKO Abiola, he then rose to become the governor Lagos State, one state out of 37. Every man is destined to take his own path. The path the Vice President had been destined to go through Asiwaju. As I mentioned, someone who is married to the granddaughter of the scion of the Yoruba dynasty, Obafemi Awolowo, already has a proud political heritage.
“Is he a member of the Bola Onagoruwa family, is he a member of the Awolowo family– it is still very impossible to match the Awolowo political legacy in Yoruba land or Nigeria today. Or maybe you want to call him a member of Tinubu’s family,” he stated.
While this is ongoing, Nigerians are waiting to hear from both politicians.