Political standoff seems to be brewing though subtly between Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and his godfather, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, as an Osinbajo support group made public weekend their principal’s intention to take a shot at the presidency in 2023 with the launch of a campaign office in Abuja.
Interestingly, after months of equivocation and outright repudiation, Osinbajo appears finally ready to emerge from the shadows of doubt and throw his hat in the ring for the country’s top job.
However, some of the vice president’s supporters denied the office launched was Osinbajo’s campaign office, they said it was merely the office of a coalition aiming to draft him into the 2023 presidential race.
Osinbajo’s spokesperson, Laolu Akande, also denied the opening of a campaign office by his principal, in a chat with a national daily (not LENS), describing the report as “fake news”. But this action by a motley coalition of his supporters is a major pointer to suggest the obvious.
The campaign office, located at No. 15b, Buchanan Crescent, off Aminu Kano, by Emab Plaza, Wuse 11, Abuja, was inaugurated on Saturday in Abuja. It was decorated with Osinbajo’s banner, bearing the inscription, “Face of Hope.”
Publicity Secretary of the group, Mr. Emmanuel Pippa, in a statement Sunday, reiterated that the office belonged to the support group.
The statement read, “Our attention has just been brought to online publications, which allege that the vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has opened a campaign office in Abuja ahead of the 2023 elections.
“We wish to clarify that the said office belongs to our coalition of support groups, which strongly believes in Professor Osinbajo as the leader Nigeria needs in 2023, and is determined to get him to declare an interest in running for the office of President as early as possible.”
The group said to actualise the objective of bringing the vice president into the presidential contest, they recently acquired an administrative office in the heart of Wuse 2 area of Abuja.
They added that though Osinbajo was yet to be acquainted with their activities, they intended to operate through a new organ, The Progressive Project (TPP), to coordinate the youth, women, and other groups across the federation.
The group declared: “Ours is, therefore, not a campaign office but a venue for coordination, handling of the increasing volume of correspondence, and meetings in readiness for the time, when Vice President Yemi Osinbajo accedes to our request for him to run and consolidate gains made under President Muhammadu Buhari.”
The group stressed that party chieftains would lead the real campaign in the fullness of time. It also stated that being a heartbeat away from the number one job, there were countless members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and even non-partisan citizens across the federation, who were pushing for Osinbajo to succeed Buhari in the interest of the country.
The group said it was convinced that Osinbajo’s level of familiarity with the vision, achievements, and challenges being handled by Buhari was second to none and that such insight would enable a new APC administration to hit the ground running in 2023.
The group has been working behind the scene and openly to push the vice president’s candidacy. A case in point was a letter dated July 14, 2021, titled, “APC and The Future of Nigeria: Why We Must Get It Right and Consider the Osinbajo Option in 2023,” and jointly signed by its National Coordinator, Mr. Ahmed Mohammed, and National Secretary, Dr. Eberechukwu Dibia, said there was a need for early preparations towards ensuring that Osinbajo and some elements within the current administration emerged to deepen APC and Buhari’s legacies after 2023.
Meanwhile, the Tinubu Support Group refused to give an opinion on the development. Acting Director, Media and Publicity of the group, Mr. Tosin Adeyanju, when contacted for his reaction, declined comment on the latest development coming from the Osibanjo camp.