JUST IN: Tinubu visits Osinbajo in Abuja, as VP congratulates ex-Lagos gov
Osinbajo and Tinubu

Olusesan Laoye

For the past six months, there had been heated arguments and debates as to who picks the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the coming presidential election.

Just as Nigerians are divided on the issue, the division is more intense in the APC and it has also thrown the party into camps and mapped out the intentions and dimensions of where the groups are going.

What people thought initially that could be a clog in the wheel of the APC, was the National convention and picking those who would man the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.

This gave the party a big headache which led to not finding its bearings on the criteria to adopt with even dates of the convention being postponed several times, till President Muhammadu Buhari waded in.

But now, that the convention is over, National Executives in place, the main issue in the party is who gets the flag of the party in 2023 presidential race.

Already, it has been agreed that the presidency be zoned to the South and within the geopolitical zone, several names have come up in the South west, South East, and the South South.

Some of the prominent names are the National leader of the party Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi, Transport Minister, Rotimi Chubike Amaechi, former Abia State governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, among others.

But the names that are now raging with controversy are that of Tinubu and Osinbajo, who people believed are hot contenders, but may likely cancel each other.

The notion in the party has been that the presidential ticket of the party must have been conceded to the South West, which has been the reason why Tinubu and Osinbajo are regarded presently as serious contenders in the Region, since others like Kayode Fayemi are yet to declare their intentions openly.

It is pertinent to recall that last year when the debate of who succeed President Buhari was hot, the president himself, knowing that his influence would count on the matter, declared that if he announced his preferred candidate to succeed him, that person would be assassinated.

Since then, those in the party and the entire Nigerians have been guessing who is preferred candidate. There had been many guesses like Tinubu, Osinbajo, Fayemi, and Amechi. Some people even came up with the name of the former Ogun State governor Senator Ibikunle Amosun.

But right now, the three believed to be on the top list for the president are Amechi from the South South, Tinubu and Osinbajo from the South West, believed to have been mostly favoured for the ticket.

Tinubu and Osinbajo who have both made known their intentions could now be said to be at loggerheads and may have strongly engaged in a serious onslaught over their ambitions.

Tinubu who had declared interest since last year, has been moving round the country to meet those that matter politically, opinions leaders and traditional rulers, is not taking the battle for the presidency lightly and has been giving it all it takes for him to emerge.

Osinbajo too, who declared his intention after the convention of the party was said to have also watched the trend of events in the country and the party before his declaration.

Right now, both Tinubu and Osinbajo’s ambitions have been trending, with controversies and both camps trading words, as if they had not been political friends or what others would say political son and father.

Since Osinbajo made it known that he is interested in the same position like his former boss, Tinubu whom he served in his government as the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, things drastically changed and both have been working at variance to pursue their ambitions.

While the foot soldiers of Tinubu have been accusing Osinbajo of betrayal and an ingrate, arguing that he ought not to have come out having benefitted greatly from Tinubu, those in Osinbajo’s camp too, are accusing Tinubu as a greedy and selfish person, who wants everything for himself without considering others.

This has even brought to light more facts, as to when and how the cold war between Tinubu and Osinbajo started concerning the presidency.

It was argued that Osinbajo’s name came into the picture without the contribution of Tinubu who had been nursing animosity against Osinbajo, who was a member of the committee set up in 2014 to look into the workability of a Muslim Muslim ticket.

According to our findings, it was Osinbajo who sternly against the idea out of all the members of the committee, that comprised, Dele Alake.Tokunbo Afikuyomi and others.

Osinbajo was said to have told members that the arrangement would not work and being a pastor he could not go home to his Christian family that he was a party to that arrangement.
When Tinubu was told the stand of Osinbajo on the matter, he was displeased with it and that has been the beginning of the cold war between them.

It was however argued that Tinubu never supported Osinbajo for the vice presidential slot which Chief Bisi Akande confirmed in his remarks about Osinbajo in his book “My participation.

What is now giving APC concern Is how they would wriggle out of the crisis which the presidential ticket is brewing as the party is now sharply divided along Tinubu and Osinbajo factions.

In the past few weeks both groups have been showing that they are at war, especially over what the presidential primaries should look like.

While some members of the party are calling for consensus, especially those in Osinbajo’s camp, thinking that would favour them, others in Tinubu’s camp are for direct primaries arguing that there is no way that is adopted that wouldn’t favour them.

It was also believed that some powerful cabals both in the party and the presidency, are working to ensure that Tinubu doesn’t get the ticket.

Both have now begun to show power play and intrigues in their favour. They have also both met the the governors in the party to showcase their intentions and what they are bringing to the table that would be in the interest of the party and Nigerians in general, since the citizens are believed to have been disenchanted with APC.

The argument therefore, has been who would be the most acceptable and who can deliver to enable the party win the presidential election 2023.

Again, just as he did for the convention to hold after so much issues, President Buhari is also expected to have a say as to the mode the primary the party would take.

With the already split over them the battle rages on, as the the political organizations of both have started sensitization of the people to sell their principals.

In the South West for instance, the battle has commenced and both camps are not taken chances and blocking loopholes that could affect the chances of their candidates.

Recently, knowing what Tinubu who has the total control of the party in Lagos State could do to forestall Osinbajo moving forward after his declaration, with his being expelled from the party in his ward in Lagos, where he had for long been a member, Osinbajo’s membership immediately moved to Ogun State in Ikene ward One where he would now be with his people, at home, who are solidly behind him and ready to protect his interest.

While making the world to know Osinbajo’s new ward in Ogun State, his aide Laolu Akande said Osinbajo no longer a member of the APC in Lagos but now in Ogun State, where he moved his membership to in ward one Ikene “to prevent any suspension that may emerge due to his declaration for the presidency which Tinubu is also eying”

It is not only in the political circle that Osinbajo is receiving support, those in his professional constituency have risen in his support. Lawyers throughout the country have stood up to show their solidarity.

Barrister Kayode Ajulo, the convener of Progressive lawyers for Osinbajo Presidency, has said that the body would move all over Nigeria to sell Osinbajo to the people. He also argued that at the end of the day Tinubu may be Osinbajo’s number one promoter.

“I strongly believed that both politicians may join hands and Tinubu may be the Chief promoter of Osinbajo presidential aspiration.”

Those in Tinubu’s camp believed that Ajulo’s argument may not materialize since Tinubu has already showed his anger against Osinbajo, arguing that he was not his son, as he has no son running for the presidency.

Tinubu who was asked by reporters to react to his son’s declaration for the presidency after his meeting with APC governors at the Kebbi State government lodge in Abuja, retorted, “I don’t have any son grown up enough to make such declaration.”

Also in Osun State, the Rauf Aregbesola Group has not hidden its disdain for Tinubu’s presidency, while those loyal to Oyetola too, showed their unflinching support for Tinubu.

In his reaction, the commissioner for works in Osun State, Remi Omowaiye said that no matter what, Tinubu will defeat Osinbajo.
He said he did not know why those in Osinbajo’s group are afraid of going for direct primary and calling for consensus.

He argued “since President Buhari was not picked through consensus in 2014 it should not happen now but all aspirants should be allowed to test their popularity on the field of play through direct primary.”

In his own reaction, one of the loyalist of Aregbesola, Adetunbi Ige said that Omowaiye’s position was hypocritical, saying “if consensus was good to pick their Omisore as the National Secretary of the party, then consensus is also good to pick Osinbajo as presidential candidate.”

It was however argued the odd is now strongly against Tinubu as some people in the North are working against him, pointing out that he may not be the right person to succeed Buhari. It was learnt that this these groups are trying to convince Buhari to back Osinbajo.

It was further said that what may create problem for Tinubu is the emergence of Buhari’s men at the National head office of the party, with Senator Adamu Abdullahi, leading the the team.

Senator Shehu Sani corroborated the fact that Buhari’s men are now in control of the party and it would be difficult for whoever not in their good books to emerge as the flag bearer of the party, with or without consensus because they would work towards the direction of where President Buhari stands.

Also Deji Adeyanju human rights activist commented that the APC has dealt with Tinubu with the emergence of Abdullahi Adamu as the National chairman.

Meanwhile, Mr. Joe Igbokwe has said that if Tinubu failed to get the ticket of the party APC will fail.

 

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