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General News of Saturday, 4 June 2022

Source: www.mynigeria.com

How Yemi Osinbajo became Buhari's running mate - What we know so far

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

Ahead of the 2015 general elections, the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, major retired General Muhammadu Buhari, announced Yemi Osinbajo as his running mate and vice-presidential candidate on December 17, 2014.

After several deliberations, the party came to a conclusion on selecting Osinbajo who was a lawyer, Professor and a Pastor in Charge of the Redeemed Christian Church of God’s Lagos Province 48 (Olive Tree provincial headquarters).

Having hailed from Lagos State and of Yoruba decent, Osinbajo served as Attorney General of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007.

So far, there have been different perspectives as to how Yemi Osinbajo became the vice president of Nigeria. There have been a version from the presidency, an article written by the Nigerian Tribune and Yemi Osinabjo himself telling his own side of the story.

MyNigeria brings to you all three versions as written and described by the people.

The Nigerian Tribune writes

"During the launch of a book: Muhammadu Buhari: The challenges of leadership in Nigeria, a biography on President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Monday, 3rd October 2016, Nigerians were fed with half-truths by the author, Prof John Paden, on how Osinbajo became the Vice President of the country. I don’t know how the author came about his story but he totally got it wrong because what he wrote basically is based on falsehood that reeks of deliberate misinformation and mischief.

“I know how Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu picked Vice President Yemi Osinbajo because I was part of the process that midwifed his nomination. In mid-December 2014, it was a Saturday morning after President Muhammadu Buhari had been picked by the All Progressives Congress (APC), at the party’s presidential primaries at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, Lagos. I received a phone call from Asiwaju to see him that morning. On my way to his house, I discovered that a car at a reasonable distance was that of former Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Dele Alake, who was also heading towards Asiwaju’s house in Ikoyi. Asiwaju must have called him, too.

As soon as we arrived, Asiwaju quickly asked us to join him in his car as we headed to a Guest House. At the Guest House, the former All Progressives Congress (APC) Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, Prof. Yemi Osibajo and one renowned pastor joined us. At the meeting, Asiwaju related to us the urgent need to pick a vice presidential candidate for the APC. He advised that we immediately discard the idea of his being nominated for the vice presidential slot as it was no longer possible to pick a Muslim-Muslim ticket. This, he reasoned, made sense if, indeed, we were to be realistic in our bid to defeat President Good luck Jonathan in the 2015 election. He reasoned that what was important and imperative at that time was to look for a good Christian nominee to complement President Muhammadu Buhari.

“I remember Baba Akande responded that he would still have preferred that Asiwaju should be the running mate since it had been done before. Baba Akande was obviously referring to the MKO Abiola/ Babagana Kingibe nomination. Asiwaju responded by distinguishing the political equation then from what was before us at that point in time. We all voiced our opinions and at the end of the day, it was resolved that we had to get a Christian candidate. It was at this point that Asiwaju reminded us to be fast in coming up with an option because he felt other geographical zones were also jostling for the same position, reiterating the need for the Southwest to get it as a must. Asiwaju audaciously told us that, left to him, he would suggest Prof. Yemi Osinbajo: That Osinbajo apart from being a brilliant legal luminary was also a committed progressive and democrat. He asserted that Alake and I, having served in his cabinet, could attest to the great works he did as attorney-general during Asiwaju’s administration as Governor of Lagos State. He also reasoned that the second major factor in favour of Osinbajo was the fact that he was a strong Christian and one that he was already a pastor at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG).

“Osinbajo’s nomination was well received by all of us at the meeting and Prof. Osinbajo was asked to start detailing with us at further strategy sessions to which he brought out his laptop and we all commenced a brainstorming session. The rest of the discussion was to strategize on how to contain other likely opponents from the Southwest zone before proceeding to Abuja to battle other regional zones in the coming nomination. The meeting did not end until about 9.00pm when we returned to Asiwaju’s residence (where we met) about six serving governors already waiting to see him from different parts of Nigeria.

How we chose Osinbajo — Presidency source

Indeed, a source close to President Buhari narrated the intrigues that shadowed the selection of Osinbajo.

The source said: “At the end of the day, it was Aregbe (Aregbesola) and Chief Bisi Akande, who supported Osinbajo. Asiwaju had suggested it initially on a theoretical basis but actually wanted the job himself. On the eve of the deadline, the President said he couldn’t do Muslim-Muslim ticket. Asiwaju was enraged. Mr President walked out on him as there was an altercation.

"Akande, Aregbe and Oshiomhole were around. The President called Amosun to narrate the altercation as he left Asiwaju’s house.

“Asiwaju stopped pushing for PYO (President Yemi Osinbajo), because PYO opposed Muslim-Muslim tickets when Asiwaju set up a small team to consider the possibility and how it could fly Muslim-Muslim tickets.

“So, after the President left Asiwaju’s house in Abuja, Aregbe told Asiwaju it has to be Osinbajo. Asiwaju said no, he doesn’t want Osinbajo to benefit after he had opposed Muslim- Muslim ticket. Aregbe insisted, and with Akande’s encouragement sent Osinbajo’s name. By then Amosun had also joined at Asiwaju’s house. Chief Akande signed the paper and sent it to the President. The President’s narrative was captured in Prof. John Paden’s book: “Muhammadu Buhari”— The Challenges of Leadership in Nigeria”.

Finally Yemi Osinbajo's take

How I became president: “I was working on the case at Penel Apartments in Abuja on December 18, 2014, when at 1 a.m. I received a call from Rauf Aregbesola that they were coming to Lagos to pick me up.

“I said I was in Abuja. He said ‘good because you have been nominated as the vice-presidential candidate’ and I said is that how you nominate people?”

These three narratives makes one wonder what really is the true story of how Yemi Osinbajo became President Muhammadu Buhari's running mate and vice president.

Concerns have begin to raise after Tinubu stood boldly and told delegates of the APC in Ogun state that he made Osinbajo vice president.

Is he feeling betrayed that Osinbajo declared his ambition to contest the 2023 presidential election on the ticket of the party after he announced his bid?

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