After Informing Buhari, Osinbajo Dares Tinubu, Declares Presidential Bid Today

After  Informing Buhari, Osinbajo Dares Tinubu, Declares Presidential Bid Today

*VP meets 12 APC govs,  opens campaign office at Wuse 2 in Abuja

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

After months of speculation, suspense, and endorsements from different parts of the country, the vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has concluded plans to declare interest in the 2023 presidential run today, although in several online platforms.  Apart from that, it is not known if there are plans for  declaration in front of large crowd of supporters.

The decision followed weeks of consultation, and after formally informing his principal, President Muhammadu Buhari, which culminated in a meeting last night with governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Competent sources confirmed not less than 12 governors attended the meeting called by the Vice President.

THISDAY checks, revealed that many governors who could not attend were either abroad to observe umrah or had engagement that made them unavoidably absent. For instance, Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu travelled to Germany,  Kwara State Governor, Abdulrazaq Abdulrahman is away in Dubai, Niger State Governor, Sani Bello is away on Umrah,  Borno State Governor is bereaved, lost his father-in-law on Saturday. And of course, quite away others had engagement previously scheduled.

THISDAY had exclusively reported over a month ago that the vice president would declare his presidential aspiration soon after the APC national convention. The convention was held on Saturday, March 26 at the Eagles Square, Abuja, the nation’s capital.

This paper had also stated that one of the forces that further inspired the vice president to throw his hat in the ring was the go-ahead he had since secured from his spiritual father, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye.

Although Osinbajo’s spokesperson, Laolu Akande, had gone on his verified Twitter account to disclaim the THISDAY story, dismissing it as false, and claiming that if there was going to be any such development, he would be the first to issue a statement to that effect.

However, as at midnight, when plans had been concluded ahead of the declaration today, the spokesperson, who seemed to hardly know about critical decisions of his principal, had yet to author any statement, as he had promised his Twitter clan.

But, according to informed sources and active players within the vice president’s strategy team, today’s declaration might have “put paid to speculations as to whether he will not challenge his political godfather and APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who earlier declared interest in January.”

Besides, by this step, Osinbajo, sources claimed, was believed to have already informed his boss, Buhari, and subsequently secured a “go ahead” before choosing to finally throw his hat in the ring.

With what seemed like a properly conceived plan and execution clearly mapped out, Osinbajo concluded his consultations, as a prelude to today’s declaration, with a meeting with APC governors last night at the Akinola Aguda House, the official residence of the vice president.

The parley, Villa sources said, was held after Iftar dinner (breaking of fast) hosted by the vice president, since incidentally, both Muslims and Christians are currently observing Ramadan and Lent.
Thus, attendance of the governors cut across religious and geographical divides.

The meeting, which lasted for about three hours, had in attendance the Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, who led some 12 of his colleagues of the  Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) to the meeting
It was after the Iftar that Osinbajo informed the governors about his plan to succeed Buhari come May 29, 2023 and chronicled his activities as Vice President in almost eight years as well as his sojourn as Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007 during the administration of Tinubu.

After listening to Osinbajo, the governors were said to be non-committal but only wished him well as he pursued his political ambition.

Apart from Bagudu, others who attended included Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufa’i; his Ogun State counterpart, Dapo Abiodun; Hope Uzodinma of Imo State; Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos and Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State.

Osinbajo is expected to formally launch his presidential bid on Monday by 7am simultaneously on different social media platforms showing a 10-minute recorded video of him addressing the public on his presidential ambition.
To further lend credence to the move, he has also secured a campaign Office in Central Area of Abuja, located on 15B, Buchanan Crescent, Wuse 2.

The campaign office, which is a one-storey building has been equipped with state of the art equipment with staff already employed to run the place.

Hinting on the significance of the “breaking of fast” with the APC governors, one of the sources, said, “Professor Osinbajo has a special relationship with the APC governors as well as governors of other parties, most of whom he has built fraternal bond with in the last seven years as the chairman of the National Economic Council of which all the governors are statutory members.

“The VP felt being his key allies, he needed to formally inform them (governors) and seek their cooperation in the political journey ahead. Besides, many of the governors (APC) are also members or directors of some FG-owned agencies, where the VP is Chairman and their relationships in these agencies have also been deepened over the years.

“Before now, I can confirm to you that Oga has done a lot of consultations across the country and with critical stakeholders and interest groups in his determination to fix Nigeria and restore hope to Nigerians. His consultations with other critical stakeholders, like the National Assembly, will continue in the times ahead.

“By now, you should have known that Oga is a hard-worker, who is not interested in seeking personal glory for the progress made under this administration. The governors trust and respect him as someone, who has been championing their interests. Working with President Buhari, different financial bailouts and refund of Paris Debt have been given to these governors to help them deliver in their respective states.”

Although a virtual event, what is no longer in doubt is that Osinbajo will declare today and, by implication, challenge his political godfather, Tinubu.

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