According to the Daily Independent, the ruling All Progressives Congress’s (APC) South-West chapter may isolate Vice President Yemi Osinbajo if he decides to run for President in 2023 on the party’s platform.
If Osinbajo decides to square up against his benefactor and leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former Lagos State governor and APC national leader, as one of the leaders told the Daily Independent exclusively on Wednesday, it will amount to the “greatest treachery in the history of the South-West.”
Tinubu informed President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday of his decision to run for President in 2023.
Tinubu, who described his desire to hold the highest political office in Nigeria as “a lifelong ambition,” said he had not publicly disclosed his ambition to Nigerians because he was still in consultations with various interest groups across the country.
Despite the fact that several groups across the country have urged him to run, Osinbajo has stated that he is focused on his job as President Buhari’s deputy and will decide whether or not to run at the appropriate time.
When asked if Osinbajo will inform President Buhari in the same way that Tinubu did, one of his aides told the Daily Independent that his boss is very interested in running for the country’s top job.
Unlike Tinubu, who went to Aso Rock Villa to inform President Buhari of his intention to run, Osinbajo is waiting for directives from President Buhari on how to proceed for the 2023 presidential election, according to the aide.
A leader of the South-West APC, who is close to Tinubu, told the Daily Independent that they are keeping their fingers crossed and waiting for the vice president to declare his candidacy before taking action.
He stated that if he declares, they will have no choice but to ostracize him because no one in the South-West will have anything to do with him.
“I have read all the reports so far. While I can categorically tell you that Asiwaju will contest for the presidency in 2023 under our party, I cannot say that for the vice president because he has so far denied having any presidential ambition.
“Even if he has, I know it cannot be under APC because to me, I can’t imagine Asiwaju squaring up against his protégé whom he nominated to President Buhari as running mate in APC presidential primary. So, Tinubu will ask South-West delegates to vote for him in primary and the vice president will also do the same?
“I believe he (Osinbajo) is a complete gentleman and will not allow some mischief makers make him lose the respect we have for him. Our position is clear if truly he decides to contest. He may be ostracised and isolated and nobody will have anything to do with him.
“They said he is waiting for directives from Mr. President, without Asiwaju, does Buhari know Osinbajo? If Asiwaju said he wants to become president today, the number one person that should take that project like his own is the vice president. But so far, he has not said anything about it. Also, he has not condemned all those rubbishing Asiwaju and saying that he (Osinbajo) is the best man to succeed President Buhari in 2023.
“Like I said, we are waiting for him to state his position on the 2023 presidency. Then, we too in the South-West APC will clearly state our position on where we belong”, he said.
Also on Wednesday, Richard Akinnola, renowned journalist and lawyer, said he has informed some of his friends who are very close to Tinubu that he is backing Osinbajo for the 2023 presidential election.
In a post titled ‘I Have Decided’, Akinnola, a close associate of the vice president said even though Tinubu is eminently qualified to become Nigeria’s president, he strongly believes that Osonbajo is the best man for the job.
He wrote, “My name is Richard Akinnola. At my age and pedigree, I don’t hide behind a finger. I go by my convictions. I have told some friends who are very close to Asiwaju my position. They know I have nothing personal against him. But in respect of this 2023 presidential race, I stand by and with Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
“I settled this with God and I’m at peace with my choice and decision. I’m not against anybody and I don’t inherit other people’s enemies. Asiwaju has paid his dues and he is eminently qualified but…
“Also in the PDP, I have friends who are eminently qualified and have shown interest in the presidency. But as it is, I can only support one person per time.
“I’m not foisting my position on anybody. You are free to disagree and follow whomsoever you choose. I have made my choice. That is what democracy is all about. It would be simplistic to just pin this project to PYO. This is a movement that has taken a life of its own, beyond PYO who has been so much engrossed in state duties. There are larger interests involved but I can’t go into details. As far as this project is involved, I’m fully persuaded and fully involved”.