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Tinubu versus Osinbajo, APC presidential ticket dead on arrival?

BENJAMIN OMOIKE


That Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, have both declared interest to run for the office of the President, is no longer news.
Political observers and analysts posit that their running for the highest office in the land is well within their purview and a venture they have a right to as qualified Nigerians.


However, considering that Tinubu is the ‘political godfather’ of Osinbajo, tongues have started wagging, observers have started making permutations and creating scenarios as to what could and would eventually be the fate of the two men, who are of South West extraction, as they gun for this lofty office.


It appears there are divergent views and different leanings in disposition by the political class, supporters or followers, as the case may be, and, observers as well, on the matter.
As some claim that it would be foolhardy for the Vice President to ‘challenge’ Tinubu, the man ‘who made him’ politically speaking; yet, some are of the opinion that there is nothing wrong in Osinbajo giving the party’s national leader a run for his money. In fact, another group says Tinubu should throw his weight behind Osinbajo to become Nigeria’s next president.

Prof Yemi Osinbajo greeting Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu at an event


Tinubu, an accountant, has been national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, since the party’s formation in 2013. He previously served as the Governor of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007 and Senator for Lagos West during the brief Third Republic.
Professor Osinbajo, on the other hand, is a lawyer, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, at that. He is the 14th and current Vice President of Nigeria since 2015. He has previously served as Attorney General of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007 in the government of Bola Tinubu as governor.


From analysis, interactions and investigation, there are some key reasons why Tinubu may never be handed the APC ticket.

There are many incidents and issues working against his aspiration and why he may never get the APC ticket.


Firstly, the retired Generals, from Alani Akinrinade to TY Danjuma, and former president Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, etc., do not want Asiwaju to contest. Akinrinade and Danjuma, it is alleged, have asked him to withdraw from the race and analysed to him the danger of losing everything if he contested the primaries and lost (his position as national party leader and king maker may never be restored).

General Akinrinade is close to Asiwaju and does not want him to lose face, post the election.


Secondly, the governors told him at the meeting he had with them that they would not support him. They accused him of being obsessed with power and they reminded him of how he snubbed them when they pleaded with him to support former Lagos Governor Ambode and current Edo Governor, Godwin Obaseki.


Also, Afenifere leaders are totally against his presidential ambition. Olu Falae and Baba Fasoranti pointedly told him so, while Ayo Adebanjo has never hidden his disdain for Asiwaju’s presidential ambition. Another issue of concern is his health challenges. This they say, are too overwhelming to be ignored.


Nigerians want a healthy president who will be available to lead the country out of the woods.


Too many faux pas. Since announcing his intention to contest, Asiwaju’s campaign has been bogged down with self-inflicted errors through wrong pronouncements from asking people to renew obsolete voter’s cards to the threat of violence.


Many doubt his mental capacity, even though he insists he has the capacity to lead.
One other issue is the avoidable rift with the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW. Tinubu sided with MC Oluomo against the NURTW, which has a nationwide reach.
Traditionally, Tinubu’s camp had enjoyed a good rapport with the body during past elections. That base, it appears, is no longer there.


Some inside sources posit that the aspirant the stakeholders within the party hierarchy is considering now is Professor Yemi Osinbajo.


Considering the body language of the Presidency, Asiwaju is not on President Buhari’s radar and the President, allegedly, has told close associates that he will never hand over power to Tinubu or Atiku because of the concern over greed and corruption.


Yet another twist to the matter is that Fayemi and Amosun may equally declare their intention any moment from now, but once the party decides on consensus to support Osinbajo, which is being mulled, they will most likely, throw their weight behind him. 
Fayemi and Amosun’s declaration could further enfeeble Asiwaju’s ambition.


Of course, analysts say Fayemi and Amosun would like to win but they would realise that their chances may be slim.


Furthermore, the general consensus in the South West is that Osinbajo stands a better chance to win at the general election than Asiwaju. Some even believe that Asiwaju himself knows.


They therefore cannot understand why he is playing the spoiler role.

Almost all members of the Tinubu original power/intellectual base and allies when he was governor, it is believed, are not in support of his Presidential ambition.
Aregbesola, Afikuyomi, Ojudu, Onanuga, Alake, Fasola etc., it is believed, may all work for the VP.


Some social observers have made a comparison between Lagos an Dubai in 1999, when Tinubu took over as Governor and has been the ‘power behind the throne’ since then.
There is no basis for comparison between what Dubai has become between 1999 and now and what Lagos has become in the intervening period, in spite of the enormous resources of Lagos.


They pinned it down to one source; the avarice of Tinubu.


They do not see how Nigeria can make the kind of progress the people want with Asiwaju’s leadership style. These observers say that the country wants and needs is a selfless leader who will work for the best interest of the people and not self.


Above all, the nation won’t survive a Muslim – Muslim presidency. It is too dangerous, they say, to try and Tinubu is insisting on that. It was for this same reason he could not be VP to both Atiku and Buhari at different times.

The non acceptance of this is not even from the Christians but from fellow Muslims.
Many say his greed is believed to have no comparison. Some said it could only be compared to that of Abacha.


Recently, it is alleged that he moved to an 11 million pounds house in London, transferred to him by Madam Deziani in 2016, as payment for protection from the administration which they believed he brought to being.


Another luxury apartment owned by the same Deziani and transferred to him allegedly, has been located in New York and the government of Nigeria has filed actions to recover them.
Osinbajo, on the other hand, some political analysts say, may have shot himself in the foot, even as he announced his ambition, in what they described as an ‘underwhelming and self-sabotaging speech’. 


His excellent poise and delivery would have been enough to sway gullible citizens but Nigerians have long learnt to look past a soothing voice and a calm demeanour. A severe case of once bitten, twice shy.


Osinbajo is not only a lawyer, but a professor, a pastor and Nigeria’s second citizen. Naturally, all the cards should be in his favour. However, his honourable titles have done nothing but prove that one bad egg indeed spoils the rest.


Truth is, considering happenings in the land today and the way many Nigerians at home and abroad feel; by his mere association with the current government, earning the people’s trust is something he would have to work very hard for.


If he planned to do that in his declaration speech, then, observers say he has shot himself in the foot.


His opening line, “In the past seven years, I have served as vice president under a true Nigerian patriot, a servant of the nation in war and peace, and a man of integrity, President Muhammadu Buhari,” has left many wondering if the VP is still acting with his hands tied. 
What about Buhari making him a servant of the nation, his constant shock at disasters in the country or his frequent trips out of the country?


If Osinbajo is to prove his loyalty, then he must show us who he serves – his boss or the people?


He goes ahead to tell of his conversations with Nigerians from all walks of life, and how they have helped him understand their fears and hopes. This has made him to “believe that the very reason why the Almighty God gave me these experiences, these insights, and these opportunities, is that they must be put to the use of our country and its great peoples.”

Many, again ask, “in his seven years as vice president, how has he used these God-given experiences to shape the nation? Or at the very least, an attempt.”
His sense of humour then comes to play in his promises. 


The first assurance is to complete what the current administration has started. To this, many Nigerians say that as a Nigerian, he had not relieved their fears, probably only worsened them. His promises of radically transforming the security and intelligence architecture; completing the reform of the nation’s justice system; rapidly advancing infrastructure development; especially power, roads, railways and broadband connectivity; is baffling, to say the least.


Nigerians have not forgotten that under this administration, the rates of banditry and kidnapping have astronomically risen. Justice has been denied to victims of the EndSARS protest. Twitter was banned for seven months! Yet, he says he plans to complete what the current administration has started. What a poor choice of words, observers agree.


Nigerians today are saying, gone are the days where they were moved by outward appearances. Photos of sharing a cup of tea with a child in the village is not going to cut it either. Nigerians have learnt to clearly distinct equating promises as the truth. If the vice president plans to ‘woo Nigerians’ into voting him as president, then he ought to do two things – prove his loyalty and hire a better speechwriter, analysts conclude.


So, the die is cast, so to speak. Nigerians have yet another date with destiny, as they march on in hopes of electing another president – among the growing list of contestants across the length and breadth of the nation – come 2023.

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