EXCLUSIVE: How Tinubu Outsmarted Amaechi, Oshiomhole, Others to Present Osinbajo as Buhari’s Running Mate
Contrary to the widely held believe that former Lagos State governor and national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was interested in becoming the running mate of General Muhammadu Buhari, he has never thought he was going to emerged as the vice presidential candidate of the APC.
Rather, the whole show put up by Tinubu was a stunt to get leaders of the party, particularly those from the South East and South South zone to accept the nomination of Osinbajo as Buhari’s running mate.
According to an insider who spoke to ABUSIDIQU on the condition of anonymity, presenting Osinbajo as Buhari’s running mate would have failed if Tinubu had not put up the front of wanting to become the vice presidential candidate.
The source said Tinubu had on Monday flown into Abuja from Lagos to present Osinbajo as his nominee for the VP slot, having been given that privilege by General Buhari to pick his choice from the south west zone.
The choice of Osinbajo was agreed at a Sunday night/Monday Morning meeting of APC chieftains from the South West attended by Tinubu himself and many other party leaders from the zone including the immediate past National Chairman of the party, Bisi Akande, the immediate past Governor of Ekiti State and Chairman of the National Convention Committee of the party, Kayode Fayemi, governors Babatunde Fashola [Lagos], Ibikunle Amosun [Ogun], Rauf Aregbesola [Osun] and Abiola Ajimobi [Oyo].
Others present at the meeting include Segun Oni [Deputy National Chairman, South], Pius Akinyelure [Vice Chairman, South West], Tajudeen Olawutan Bello [National Financial Secretary], Lai Mohammed [National Publicity Secretary], and Muiz Banire [National Legal Adviser].
It was on the basis of the decision of the South West APC leaders that ABUSIDIQU reported on Monday that Buhari Has Picked Osinbajo as His Running Mate
However, when Tinubu got to Abuja and presented Osinbajo to the enlarged house of the party leaders, he was out rightly rejected by leaders from the South South zone.
But Tinubu who had already sensed that the choice of Osinbajo was going to be rejected at the meeting came with a plan B. It was at this point that he indicated interest that he was going to nominate himself for the Vice presidential slot, knowing fully well that his choice was going to be a hard nut to crack for the APC leaders.
At a follow up meeting to the Monday night meeting in Abuja, Tinubu did not turn up. However, he sent a delegation of South West leaders of the party to inform the meeting that he is interested in picking the VP slot and that the South West has already endorsed him as their consensus candidate.
As expected, the announcement of Tinubu’s interest infuriated many of the party leaders to the extent that Governor Rochas Okorocha and Atiku Abubakar, both of them presidential aspirants that were defeated by Buhari at the presidential primaries in Lagos walked out of the meeting.
The party had earlier agreed that it was not going to field a Muslim/Muslim ticket so as not to give credit to the perception that the APC is a Muslim party. It was this position that inubu cashed on, leaving the party leaders with the choice of picking him, a Muslim to pair with Buhari or picking Osinbajo, a Christian to pair with Buhari.
Although, the Monday night meeting of the party leaders that spilled into the early hours of Tuesday discussed other candidates like Governors Rotimi Amaechi, Adams Oshiomhole and former governor Kayode Fayemi, the party leaders were left with only two choices- Tinubu or Osinbajo.
The two choices notwithstanding, party leader from the South East and South South zone were adamant and wanted other potential candidates from the two regions be given considerations.
But Tinubu, with the backing of leaders of th eparty from the South West insisted the VP slot be given to Tinubu and since the party had decided against a Muslim/Muslim ticket, they were left with no choice but to leave the decision to General Muhammadu Buhari.
But to ensure that the party leaders do not disagree with the choice of Osinbano which had already been agreed with Buhari, the announcement was deliberately delayed, while Tinubu stepped up his game plan suggesting he is very much in the race for the VP slot.
This according to a very reliable source necessitated the deliberate inclusion of accusing the presidency of wanting to block Tinubu’s chances to emerge as Buhari’s running mate in the right of reply Tunubu Media Office wrote to SaharaReporters over claims that he was blackmailed by President Jonathan before the 2011.
However, a credible source told ABUSIDIQU that it was all plot to ensure that other party leaders who are opposed to the nomination of Osinbajo are left with no choice if they do not want him as a Muslim on the ticket with Buhari.
While this was going on, meetings were still being held by the party leaders where Osinbajo was finally accepted.
Another insider source who corroborated the information said Tinubu could not have gone to Abuja to say he was interested in the ticket when Osinbajo has already been presented to leaders of the South West zone, including traditional rulers and other notable figures.
He said Tinubu as very clever politicians just had to put up that stunt so that he could get his way in the party.
Asked if the stunt is not a way of showing too much control over other leaders of the part, the source said this is politics. He only played his game well.
Another source said Tinubu is very much interested in the APC in sending President Jonathan packing from Aso rock in 2015, which is why he supported the candidature of General Muhammadu Buhari whom he believed has more chances in defeating the president than any of the other four aspirants.
The source added that Tinubu with that interest would not have done anything that would give the PDP and president Jonathan a chance of remaining at the presidency in 2015.
Interestingly, Tinubu has also released a statement stating that the interest of the nation is more than that of his personal interest, which is why he decided to back out of his nomination to be considered as the Running mate to general Buhari.
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