The South-West chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) may isolate Vice President Yemi Osinbajo if he decides to pursue his presidential ambition in 2023 on the party’s platform, Daily Independent has been reliably informed.
One of the leaders, who exclusively spoke with Daily Independent on Wednesday, said it will amount to the “greatest treachery in the history of the South-West” if Osinbajo decides to square up against his benefactor and leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former Lagos State governor and APC national leader.
Tinubu on Monday informed President Muhammadu Buhari of his decision to run for the office of President in 2023.
While describing his desire to occupy the highest political office as “a lifelong ambition”, Tinubu, however, said he had not publicly disclosed his ambition to Nigerians as he was still in consultations with various interest groups across the country.
On the part of Osinbajo, even though several groups across the country have been calling for him to run, he had said he is focused on his job now as President Buhari’s deputy and will decide on whether he is going to contest at the appropriate time.
When asked if Osinbajo will also inform President Buhari as Tinubu did, one of his aides told Daily Independent that his principal is very much interested in vying for the number one office in the country.
The aide, who said Tinubu’s declaration won’t stop Osinbajo from contesting, however, said unlike Tinubu, who went to Aso Rock Villa to inform the president of his intention to contest, Osinbajo is waiting for directives from President Buhari on the way forward for the 2023 presidential election.
Speaking with Daily Independent, a leader of the South- West APC who is a close associate of Tinubu said they are keeping their fingers crossed and waiting for the vice president to make his bid known before taking action.
On what they will do if he declares, he said they will be faced with no option than to ostracise him as nobody will have anything to do with him the South-West.
“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”.