For declaring that he is running for president, Yemi Osinbajo has clearly provoked the anger of certain interest groups in the country. Supporters of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu have shifted into high gear, doubling down on their malicious campaign against the Vice President, while Farooq Kperogi has accelerated the pace of publishing his sinister and malicious articles against the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) and the vice president. President. But overall, an overwhelming number of Nigerians have responded positively to the VP entering the race. The opinions are rather glowing and the feedback very encouraging. His inspirational message resonated with many Nigerians, greatly helped by the fact that Nigerians already had a positive impression of him.
Contrary to the lies peddled by some of Tinubu’s supporters, there is absolutely no pact anywhere that remotely suggests that Tinubu would be the anointed successor of President Buhari. Likewise, there has never been an agreement or injunction prohibiting the VP from standing in the presidential election against the former governor of Lagos or any other candidate. No one will ever enter into such a deal in politics anyway, although such stories usually surface in every election cycle. In Akwa Ibom state, for example, a PDP gubernatorial candidate lamented that Udom Emmanuel reneged on his agreement with the governor to succeed him. Of course, no one took him seriously, and I think he dropped the claim. Such claims are made by politicians desperate to mislead voters.
Anxiety in Tinubu’s camp stems from his strong sense of entitlement to the presidency, perhaps because he has pocketed Lagos State for the past 22 years, feeding off the treasury unchecked. He actually believes he now deserves the whole country. Having helped Buhari win in 2015, Tinubu certainly thinks the presidency should be his, and for that his cronies and supporters relentlessly attack the vice president for daring to run. But Yemi Osinbajo is not Tinubu’s son; he has not signed any pact with Tinubu and he is not tied to the strings of Tinubu’s apron. Even though Tinubu nominated Osinbajo for vice president (a recent account disputes this story however, pointing out that Asiwaju didn’t even support the nomination because Osinbajo was against Asiwaju being chosen by the Buhari as running mate) , the vice-president has the right to pursue his dreams , like all of us. That there was never a pact between Tinubu and the VP over the presidency means that Osinbajo could not be accused of being a traitor for making his intentions known to Nigerians.
Tinubu’s camp also likes to insinuate that Osinbajo’s candidacy might offend some Yoruba traditions because the professor had once served as commissioner under Tinubu. It’s quite irritating, to say the least. Osinbajo has not been subjected to any slavery or peonage in Tinubu since he left the Lagos State government in 2007. Along the same lines, the presidency is not akin to some kind of stool of Yoruba chiefdom in which claimants to the throne must be subject to certain tribal traditions and conventions. Osinbajo is now a national figure whose profile has crossed tribal and ethnic lines for the past seven years. I insist that the Vice President be treated with the utmost respect, dignity and courtesy by his people in the South West in general and by Tinubu supporters in particular.
A bit of history is important here. By the time it was clear that Chief MKO Abiola had won the June 12, 1993 elections, he had already become an imposing national figure. Defeating his rival, Othman Tofa in his home state of Kano was a huge electoral achievement for MKO and for many Nigerians it meant the beginning of the end for tribal politics in the country. But after the unfortunate annulment of this election by the BWI junta, many activists and politicians began inserting ethnic and tribal sentiments into the popular uprising that had erupted against BWI. Periodically, the ethnic jingoists resumed the mass protests and soon, the MKO brand was badly affected and the essence of the protests was defeated.
Likewise, the constant attempts by Tinubu loyalists to denigrate and insult the Vice President are an ill wind that blows on no one. It should be clear that Tinubu will never triumph training Osinbajo. It is therefore in the interest of the South West region that Tinubu can call his supporters to order and ask them to refrain from insulting and insulting the vice president.
Let me conclude with a line or two on Farooq Kperoqi. It’s obvious that this man is on a relentless, yet malicious and wicked personal vendetta mission against the VP. The reasons are not clear to anyone I have spoken to. He produces erroneous and misleading statistics to support his sinister campaign. I know for certain that, contrary to Kperogi’s lie, Osinbajo did not appoint Okechukwu Enelamah as Minister in 2015. He was appointed by the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Anichebe, when the late President’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, had requested the help of the monarch to fill Abia’s state ministerial post.
As a candidate, Buhari suffered endless media attacks in the build-up to the 2015 elections. If that didn’t scare Buhari out of the running and prevent his victory, Kperogi and his ilk will never succeed. . Nigerians are wise enough to see through a despicable and baseless agenda of hate.