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APC: Divergent sounds over choice of running mate

THE emergence of Prof Yemi Osibajo as the vice presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, came as a mixed bag to a lot of people.

By Dapo Akinrefon & Charles Kumolu

Coming tops out of other names that have been touted as possible running mates to Gen Mohammadu Buhari, his nomination is one development that has taken the political scene by storm.

But for those, who may have been responsible for his pairing with Buhari, the reactions trailing the emergence are hardly unanimous on what it portends for the APC.

While the former Attorney General of Lagos State comes across as someone of with an impeccable pedigree and with little or no baggage, some see him as a political neophyte whose electoral value is in doubt.

This feeling cuts across party lines, ethnic and religious inclinations.

Religious inclinations

The rationale given by Buhari, who many believe hardly had any input into the choice of the law professor, has not stopped the mixed reaction over what the decision holds for the APC.

APC Presidential Candidate, Gen. Mohammed Buhari with his running mate Prof.  Yemi Osinbajo SAN in Abuja. Photo: Gbemiga Olamikan
APC Presidential Candidate, Gen. Mohammed Buhari with his running mate Prof. Yemi Osinbajo SAN in Abuja. Photo: Gbemiga Olamikan

Buhari had explained that he chose Osinbajo as his running mate based on his impeccable integrity.

He stated that the process of choosing his running mate was both meticulous and rigorous.

“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 the Vice-Presidential candidate and my running mate.

“The method employed in this choice was quite meticulous but yet rigorous. It involved the establishment of objective criteria, broad consultations with party leaders and a few opinion leaders outside the party and interactions with a number of nominees.

Bad choice — Shettima, Northern youth leader

Picking holes in the reasons given for Osinbajo’s choice, president of the Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shetima described the choice as a wrong one.

Shettima, who told Vanguard that the choice was an unfortunate one, said “the wish of the people was that the APC was going to be a strong opposition to the PDP but to my surprise, the choice of Osinbajo is a departure from what we expected. When you have the likes of Fashola, Oshiomhole and Rochas Okorocha, they went ahead to pick an unpopular candidate.”

In his argument, the Arewa youth leader said “the only thing I can remember Osinbajo for is that he was Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General of Lagos state during the administration of Bola Tinubu.”

He also opined that “It is a total failure and I am sure the choice of Osinbajo is not the choice of Buhari, he was foisted on Buhari due to certain reasons best known to them. I am sure Buhari would never agree to this kind of choice. It is so unfortunate that at a time we’re looking towards having a better country, the APC is trying to miss that mark. The APC has lost our support.”

APC is free to make its choice — Balarabe Musa

For Second Republic governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, “the APC is free to choose whoever they like. I am not in the APC and so, it is not relevant to me.”

On his part, a chieftain of Pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo when asked to comment on the choice of Osinbajo said “that is their party. They have chosen somebody they believe can help them win the elections.”

Senator Bukola Saraki was, however, supportive saying that Osinbajo will add value to the ticket.

“The emergence of Professor Yemi Osinbajo – a Professor of Law; a well-ranked academician; a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN); and a committed Pastor of unquestionable integrity from South-West Nigeria further attests to the commitment of the All Progressive Congress to fairness and equality.”

While congratulating the party leaders and notably Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for stepping down his ambition, Senator Saraki said: “I use this opportunity to congratulate all party stakeholders most especially the Presidential Candidate for the success of the process in the selection of the Vice-Presidential candidate; this process has once again demonstrated to Nigerians the preparedness of APC to run an efficient and transperent government putting to shame those that have said the party was made up of people with personal ambitions.”

Personal ambitions

The Lagos State chapter of the APC was also effusive in its commendation of the nomination saying that he would add weight to the collective effort to stop the PDP.

“Prof. Osibajo is a deep intellectual, a revered Christian pastor, a revered professor of law, a redoubtable lawyer and a technocrat who compliments the stellar records of General Buhari. He will be coming into governance with the wealth of experience he had gathered in the Public Service as former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Lagos, who did creditably well in reforming the justice system in Lagos, to make it a pace setter in judicial dispensation in Nigeria today. His commitment to the return of Nigeria to the paths of legality, sanity and judicial is legendary and the country will benefit from this.”

“While we express our joy and those of other Nigerians in this excellent choice, we urge Nigerians, who have been yearning for change to start working for that change, as this great opportunity has presented itself. We urge Nigerians to start the process of mobilizing the abused, cheated, victimized Nigerians for the great change of 2015 which will rescue Nigeria from the clutches of bad governance, deeply entrenched corruption and cluelessness that have combined to wreck a well endowed country today.”

“We congratulate Prof. Osibajo, our great party and our country on this wonderful masterstroke and present the Buhari/Osibajo ticket as the panacea for Nigeria’s wobbling state from 2015.”

The former governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi who was one of those speculated for the position was also profuse in his commendation of the choice. Fayemi in a statement yesterday described Osinbajo as a renowned teacher, legal expert, administrator and a reform-minded technocrat, who embodies the virtues of honesty, integrity, selflessness and dedication to the overall good of the society, Fayemi said the university don remains a strategic partner to General Buhari in the onerous task of driving the change.

“Every time pundits come up with their doomsday predictions of APC’s imminent collapse, APC comes out stronger right from its founding. The choice of Osinbajo is also leaving us much stronger for the task ahead. I commend General Buhari and other party leaders for arriving at a choice that is bound to strengthen our ticket”, Fayemi said.

Fayemi added that regardless of what sceptics are saying the APC is set to run an issue-based campaign and carry along every segment of the society in the electoral process that would culminate in APC emerging victorious at the 2015 presidential election.


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