Osinbajo joins Presidential race, meets 12 APC governors
After months of consultation and speculation, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Sunday joined the presidential race aheead of the primary of the All Progressive Congress which comes up next month.
Osinbajo, at a dinner he hosted at the Presidential Villa for the breaking of Ramadan fast (Iftar), the Vice-President informed the APC governors of his plan to succeed his boss, Muhammadu Buhari, whose tenure as a president ends in 13 months’ time.
It was learnt that no fewer than 12 APC governors out of the 23 were present at the meeting.
Some of the governors present include; Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Babagana Zulum (Borno) and Babajide Sanwo Olu (Lagos).
“The VP invited all the governors to the meeting and informed them of his plan to contest. He is also seeking their support ahead of the primary. Of course, the Vice President has also informed President Buhari of his intention to contest. He will be formally announcing his candidacy on Monday (today)”, said a top source.
The Vice President is expected to release a video of his formal declaration on Monday on all social media platforms wherein he will seek the support of all Nigerians for his ambition.
Osinbajo will be contesting the APC presidential primary against Tinubu, his former boss; the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Ebonyi State Governors, Dave Umahi and Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State.
Others in APC who are rumoured to be nursing presidential ambitions include: Ekiti State Governor and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Kayode Fayemi, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Ngige. The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele is also considered a contender.
Speaking on Sunday, a human rights lawyer, Mr. Kayode Ajulo, who is an associate of the Vice President and member of his support group, described Osinbajo’s candidacy as a dream come through.
When asked if Osinbajo contesting against Tinubu would not be viewed as treachery, the activists said Osinbajo had to put his loyalty to 200 million Nigerians ahead of his love for the former Governor of Lagos.
Ajilo added, “Prof. Osinbajo started his career in public office in the 1980s and has served under several distinguished Nigerians including under then AGF, Bola Ajibola, who was later appointed Judge of the International Court of Justice from 1991 to 1994.
“It was not only under Tinubu that he served. Infact Tinubu identified his achievements and brought Osinbajo into his team. Buhari had lost three elections but won when he picked Osinbajo as his running mate.
“Osinbajo is who Nigeria needs at this point in time. He cannot sacrifice the wellbeing of 200 million Nigerians on the alter of loyalty to one man. This declaration is historic because he is the first Vice-President to declare and be accepted. He ewill make a formal public declaration on Monday (today), Just watch out”.
The South-West Agenda for Asiwaju 2023 (SWAGA’23), a group aimed at ensuring that Tinubu emerges President said that Osinbajo’s declaration was welcome.
The National Secretary of SWAGA, Mr. Bosun Oladele said that APC must ensure that the presidential primary which comes up next month is conducted in a fair manner as this would be the only way to maintain the unity of the party.
Oladele said no one should emerge as the presidential candidate of the party through back door.