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#OtvOPINIONS: The weight of Buhari-Osinbajo presidential ticket, by Johnson Momodu via @opinionsng

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After a lot of speculations and behind-the-scene
manipulations, the Presidential candidate of the All
Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu
Buhari, presented Professor Yemi Osinbajo to the
public as his running mate for the 2015 presidential
election. The choice was not a great surprise, since
the Professor’s name had always been in the air as
one of the dark horses for the position.
Professor Osinbajo is a Law Professor who served
as Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General
under the administration of Bola Tinubu in Lagos
State, between 1999 and2007. Although Osinbajo’s
name surfaces in the newspapers once in a while,
since that time, he is not known to be a politician. In
fact, his experience in government can be said to be
limited to a provincial level, having been only a State
Commissioner. He is, definitely, an unknown
quantity at the national level and, therefore, not a
person of national significance or with appreciable
national following, if any at all.
Why was Prof. Osinbajo the choice of the APC for
the Vice-Presidential slot, out of the constellation of
superstars who were interested in the position? The
expectation was that the Vice-Presidential candidate
of the Party would have been one of the serving
Governors, such as Babatunde Fashola, Adams
Oshiomhole or Rotimi Amaechi. An ex-Governor, Dr.
Kayode Fayemi, was also regularly mentioned. It did
appear that the struggle for the position was mainly
between the South-West and the South-South.
Interestingly, nobody in the South-East was
considered. This, perhaps, was due to the fact that
the only APC Governor in the South-East, Rochas
Okorocha, had contested for the Presidential
candidacy of the party. The popular wisdom is that
anyone who has shown such an ambition would not
normally be suitable for a secondary role.
The choice of Osinbajo was a product of Tinubu’s
failed ambition to be the Vice-Presidential candidate
of the APC. Buhari and Tinubu were able to work
together because of their mutual ambition. Tinubu
facilitated the merger that resulted in the formation
of the APC and bank-rolled the party because he
wanted to be Buhari’s running mate. It has been
suggested that Tinubu’s ultimate ambition was to be
the President, in view of Buhari’s age. The
understanding between the two men to run together
was the reason behind the floating of the idea of a
Muslim-Muslim ticket.
In spite of the general revulsion and public
condemnation of a Muslim-Muslim ticket, Tinubu
was still pushing his ambition, even after the
emergence of Buhari as Presidential candidate.
However, he could not overcome the heavy
resistance from important stakeholders in the party.
Nonetheless, he insisted on the Vice-Presidential
slot going to the South West/ACN component of the
APC, which, in essence, meant that he gave himself
the right to nominate the Vice-President. It would,
therefore, not be uncharitable to say that Professor
Osinbajo is a proxy of Tinubu. Some might even say
that the Professor is a puppet and Tinubu the
puppeteer.
Professor Osinbajo may be a helpful hand in certain
areas of legal or administrative matters. However,
given that he has no political background, lacks any
national experience in politics and governance and,
considering the physical disparity obvious at his
introduction, he looks more like a newly appointed
Special Assistant (SA) to Buhari than a Vice-
Presidential candidate. The desperation by the APC
to find a winning formula has led the party to
conjure a flawed combination, which may be
described as a combination of fanaticism. The
partnership between Buhari, who is an Islamic
extremist and Osinbajo, who is a Pentecostal
fundamentalist, is surely a recipe for failure, if not
disaster.
Professor Osinbajo’s apologists have been quick to
point out that he is a pastor of the Redeemed
Church, which is to suggest that he would bring the
mass membership of the church behind Buhari.
Well, all I can say is that it would require a miracle
for this to happen! Also, the fact of his being a son-
in-law to the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, has
also been advertised as one of Prof. Osinbajo’s
virtues. Is it not sardonic that the name which
Tinubu has laboured hard to supplant now provides
a straw which he and his party now seek to hold on
to in their desperate bid to capture the south-west
votes for Buhari, an unrepentant religious bigot,
northern irredentist and political demagogue?

Earlier published on Opinions.ng

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