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2023: Is Osinbajo The Preferred Candidate President Buhari Spoke About?

By Seun Akinnawonu

Since Professor Yemi Osinbajo made a declaration to vie for the ticket of the All Progressive Congress and contest the presidential election in 2023, the political atmosphere in Nigeria has not remained the same.

It was as if everyone was practically waiting for his declaration before they began to launch their attacks on him.

Osinbajo in a video broadcast that was shared on social media on Monday announced his intention to succeed his boss, president Muhammadu Buhari in 2023. This was coming after many months of speculations and expectations from Nigerians.

However, the moves appears to have hit many of his opponents who paraded themselves as friends below the belt. Until after the declaration, little did many people know that Osinbajo was one of the most hated politicians in Nigeria.

Immediately the video went viral, the enemies within instantly resumed work with a savo of attacks and barrage of verbal and editorial assualt on his personality.

It actually began with Bola Tinubu Support Group, a collection of political jobbers who are ready to swim and sink with the AP. National leader. They hit Osinbajo’s  supporters on social media with a battery punch. They described Osinbajo as a bare-face betrayal who is simply out to reap from where he did not sow.

Just as the dust was yet to settle on the attack by the BAT Support Group, Farooq Kperogi, an Associate Professor of Journalism and Lecturer at Kennesaw State University launched his editorial missile.

In a lengthy article entitled: Two Major Lies In Osinbajo’s Declaration Speech, Kperogi described Osinbajo as narrow-minded, intolerant, and Christian fanatic who is only seeking for ways to enthrone the supremacy of RCCG in Nigeria.

Kperogi virtually opened the can of warms on Osinbajo and told Nigerians why it will be a great mistake to vote him in 2023.

On that same day, former governor of Lagos, Bola Tinubu was asked to comment on Osinbajo’s declaration for president. In a swift response, he denied the vice president, saying he does not have a son who is grown up to contest for president. Tinubu’s statement was loaded with an obvious hatred for Osinbajo.

However, his response did not come as a shock to those who follow the political relationship between the two aspirants. What made it surprising was how Tinubu could not rein in on his boiling emotions at that material time. 

Between Monday and now, Osinbajo has remained in the eye of the storm as party chieftains and several Nigerians are calling on him to renounce his presidential ambition for reasons known to them. And one of their key reasons is for Tinubu to have his way.

For instance, the Muslim Right Group described Osinbajo’s declaration as unfair and injustice to the Muslim society. They insist that it is either a Muslim aspirant gets the APC presidential ticket or no one else. In other word, Tinubu is the direction to follow.

What has however remained a nagging question is how Osinbajo’s declaration for president suddenly became a controversial topic across the country.

So far, about eight aspirants in APC have declared for the oval office, yet neither Tinubu’s suppoters nor anyone else has called for their heads. Osinbajo who is an aspirant like others has been the one receiving the heat from all angles.

This development should explain the fact that there is something about Osinbajo many Nigerians are yet to see. Two years ago, Osinbajo despite being in office as the vice president did not look like someone who could invite local government chairmen to a meeting and get a reasonable response from them.

Today, the same Osinbajo pulled the conclave of governors to his Agugda residence in Abuja to inform them of his ambition; the same governors that brought Tinubu from Lagos to Kebbi Governor’s lodge in Asokoro before he could have their audience.

For Tinubu to have rushed down to Abuja and desperately sought out a meeting with the progressive governors on the day Osinbajo made his intention known really shows there is fire on the mountain. Osinbajo’s announcement obviously created a ripple on the sea; a major disequilibrium in the political equation of the ruling party.

Considering his personality, personal ethics and spiritual background, Osinbajo does not look like a privileged politician or vice president who is hellbent on ruling the country. 

For him to have declared his intention to run against Tinubu and other heavyweight politicians in APC should be seen as a clear sign that the hand that is stretched forward is that of Esau but the whispering voice is that of Jacob.

It is therefore a deafening call to revisit the statement of President Muhammadu Buhari which says: “I have a prefered candidate as my successor but i will not disclose him now.”
In a matter of weeks from now, the reality of Buhari’s word will crash down on APC and Nigerians like a pack of card.

Seun Akinnawonu, a Journalist writes from Lagos

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