The All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Wednesday announced Prof. Yemi Osinbajo as his running mate, thus putting to an end, days of speculations on the issue.
Osinbajo was the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice when the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, was governor. The Ogun State-born serving pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, is married to a granddaughter of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Decked in a dark suit, a white shirt and a red tie, he promised, in his acceptance speech, to rebuild Nigeria with Buhari. Before Buhari formally unveiled him at the APC national headquarters in Abuja, Tinubu had issued a statement in which he said that the APC presidential candidate offered him(Tinubu) the position of running mate.
The former Lagos State governor, who was reported to have had interest in the post, explained that he rejected the offer because of his decision to remain a bridge builder across all divides. While presenting Osinbajo, Buhari said, “To assist me in this great task of securing Nigeria’s future, I have chosen a man of unimpeachable integrity, an excellent professional, a man of faith, a devoted family man and a role model to our fellow countrymen and women. “He is a professor of Law and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. An alumnus of the University of Lagos and the London School of Economics.
He is a prodigious author who has to his credit several books on civil procedure in Nigerian superior courts. “The vice-presidential candidate is a friend of the less privileged, compassionate and zealous in service. “A man of uncommon humility, a loyal, dependable and selfless patriot. He is Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who by the grace of God and the vote of Nigerians, will be the next vice-president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.” Buhari expressed gratitude to Nigerians for their growing support since his election as the APC presidential candidate for the February 14, 2015 poll.
According to him, the huge acceptance of the APC and his candidacy by Nigerians had boosted his resolve to lead the process of rebuilding Nigeria and securing “our future.” He recalled that in his acceptance speech, he pledged to run an efficient government, fight corruption and indiscipline in “our national life” if elected president. The APC candidate also promised to end the current regime of fear and uncertainty in the country and place priority on national security.
He pledged to rebuild our battered economy and reduce poverty by deliberate policies that would lead to the creation of jobs for Nigerian youths. Buhari said, “The challenging process of rescuing our country and changing Nigeria for good has commenced. One of the first decisions that I have to make is the choice of my running mate.” Explaining the delay in the announcement of his running mate, the former Head of State, said the method employed in choosing Osinbajo was “quite meticulous but yet rigorous.” He said that it involved the establishment of objective criteria, broad consultations with party leaders and a few opinion leaders outside the party as well as interactions with a number of nominees.
Accepting the offer, Osinbajo said he was privileged to be offered the opportunity to serve as Buhari’s running mate. He explained that he had consulted widely before taking on the task. The former commissioner said, “The task of rebuilding this nation is one to which I am fully committed.
There can be no other President, Leader and commander that can lead that common sense revolution Nigeria urgently needs than Gen. Buhari. “I will proudly serve this country with him. Gen. Buhari’s uprightness and fierce commitment to good governance are well known. It will be a privilege to work with him. “I come to this assignment with a lot of hope and a resolve to be a part of this movement to bring Nigeria back to its lost glory.
With the support of all Nigerians and the help of God, we shall make Nigeria work again. “I will work with him and the party to restore hope and confidence in millions of our youths and provide comfort and security for millions of our countrymen and women.” The selection of the APC vice-presidential candidate had generated intense debate and interest since the emergence of Buhari as the presidential candidate last Friday.
Governors Rotimi Amaechi(Rivers); and Babatunde Fashola(Lagos); as well as a former governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi; Senator Chris Ngige and former National Chairman of the defunct All Nigerian Peoples Party, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, had previously been tipped for the vice presidential slot. It was learnt after the unveiling of Osinbajo that Amaechi would be named the Director-General of the APC presidential campaign. Buhari offered me running mate position –Tinubu Earlier on Wednesday, Tinubu had explained that he decided not to jostle for the vice-presidential slot because he believed that his position as the APC National Leader, allowed him to serve as “a bridge builder across all divides.” Tinubu, in a statement he personally signed in Abuja on Wednesday, said, “There came a time during the course of the events when our Presidential candidate, offered the Vice-Presidential slot to me. “Being a normal human being, I was deeply moved and honoured that he would consider me for the position. Being a patriot, I had to weigh my potential candidacy in all of its dimensions.
“I have concluded that in the interest of the party, our campaign and the nation are better served if I retain my position as the National leader of the APC. Tinubu said despite the opposition that arose over his possible selection, Buhari stood firm and steadfast. He said with this, Buhari showed the traits of a leader in holding to a decision he believed was right despite the plots against it. The former governor said he was not bothered by lies being said about his person when his name was mentioned. He said, “When my name was raised, the political hatchet men tried to chop it down with rumour and lies. Over the years, I have developed a thick skin. “The personal attacks did not bother me. I am used to them.
While I have a thick skin, I don’t have a thick mind. There has been one form of attack that has troubled me.” The attack, he said, was that of Muslim-Muslim ticket, which according to him, was orchestrated by the Peoples Democratic Party. “That is the attack based on religion. The PDP and others have stoked fear of a Muslim- Muslim ticket.’’ Tinubu pleaded with Nigerians “not to allow the power lust of cynical politicians to set brother against brother, neighbour against neighbour. “If you look at those politicians who raise this issue the most, they are the least devout and faithful to any religion other than their self-interests.
“Nigeria has too many secular problems – insecurity, economic collapse, poverty, corruption and misgovernance – to allow inept people to use religion to keep us from solving these challenges for the benefit of all.” He said that those who exploit religion should be wary, because “ there really is a God and he does not like it when you play with His people or use His name to do the opposite of what He intends. “I ask the people to remove religion from the electoral equation now that the tickets of both parties are mixed. I ask you to select the ticket best able to end the downward slide that Nigeria has endured since this government took over.
I ask you to remember that too many Christians and Muslims are poor. “Most of all, I ask you to remember that the true religion of the PDP is poverty; the APC is here to bring prosperity to the people.” He promised to work and dedicate himself “so that our ticket succeeds and wins the 2015 election – not for his good, not for my good, not even for the party’s good but for the good of the nation we inhabit.” Choice of Buhari’s running mate belated–PDP The PDP has described the announcement of Osinbajo as Buhari’s running mate as belated. It also described the choice of Osinbajo as a confirmation of its stand that the APC was the personal project of a cabal commanded by Tinubu.
The PDP, through its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Olisa Metuh, said, “should power get to this cabal, who is desperate to control the political and economic power centre of the nation, then Nigeria is finished. “By the choice of Osinbajo, a well-known acolyte of Tinubu, who served under him as Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, the APC, Buhari and Tinubu have boldly recreated their well-known sectional and personal interests. “It is particularly worrisome that Buhari has surrendered his first official responsibility of choosing a running mate. He has invariably surrendered his powers to Tinubu even before he goes to the field to ask for votes.
“This is not surprising of Buhari, who has consistently exhibited a track record of incompetence. This is the same man who as military head of state surrendered all his powers to his second in command.”