By Emmanuel Aziken
The camp of the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has raised observations over what it, at the weekend, called the high profile political movements of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for the 2023 Presidential race which, it claimed, may have been sanctioned by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Sources in the Tinubu camp believe Osinbajo may be the secret weapon Buhari mentioned in his recent television interview.
The President had during the interview declined to name his candidate for the 2023 presidential election, saying the aspirant may came to harm if he did so.
The complaint by the Tinubu camp came against the background of high level endorsements and gesticulations by canvassers of the Vice-President’s alleged 2023 presidential aspiration. The endorsements have been especially manifest in the North and recently moved downwards to the South with Delta State as its first launch pad.
The Tinubu camp, which has vowed not to raise the issue with the Presidency is, however, miffed on how Osinbajo’s name is being mentioned and projected everywhere for the 2023 presidential election with his boss, Buhari, looking the other way..
“You cannot tell me that the President does not know anything about this and that his deputy is being worked up to take his office and he is ignorant? No, no,” a highly placed confidant of Tinubu revealed yesterday.
Sunday Vanguard reports that the Vice President’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, had, recently, denied reports that Osinbajo had, on New Year Day, visited the President to seek his blessing for the 2023 presidential election.
In rebuffing the reports, he said Osinbajo was fixed on delivering assignments as handed to him by the Buhari presidency.
However, the Tinubu camp remained nonplussed over what it was alleging as a secret agenda with the source saying, “How can your subordinate be moving about like that as if you have anointed him for your office? You send him here and there to expose him?
“If you have a wife and she is misbehaving, who am I to complain when you the husband are indifferent? So, we will keep on watching.”
Asked if Osinbajo and Tinubu had met over the Vice-President’s reported aspiration, the source, who ordinarily should know, replied curtly, “I don’t know, but you should know.”
The worries of the Tinubu camp, it was learnt, have been worsened by the dithering procrastination of the APC to hold a National Convention to elect a new set of national officers.
Meanwhile, Sunday Vanguard learnt that efforts to elect a new national executive may have been stalemated following the inability of the contending forces in the party to reach a compromise, especially on the office of the National Chairman where as many as seven serious contenders have emerged.
It was gathered, at the weekend, that the Presidency may have started reviewing its options for the National Chairman of the party, following the deadlock that has stymied the convocation. One of the principal factors is the claim that Tinubu’s hand was all over the nominees including Senator Tanko Al-Makura who had been considered the favourite of the Presidency.
One source revealed three names outside the declared aspirants to include a former Minister in the Buhari regime who was also a principal officer in the House of Representatives from the North-Central.
While some in the Tinubu camp, wrongly or rightly, claim that Osinbajo is the President’s secret weapon, other sources and associates rebuffed the claim. A source in one of the rival presidential camps told Sunday Vanguard that Osinbajo remains a taboo among close confidants of the President who have his ears.
Others mentioned as possible favourites of Buhari are Mr. Rotimi Amaechi (Transportation Minster), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti Governor), Babatunde Fashola (Works and Housing Minister) and the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba.
Apparently not having gotten the endorsement of Buhari at their meeting last week, the Tinubu team, it was further gathered, is determined to press for a level-playing field as its minimum demand.
However, the camp has vowed not to complain to the President over the issue with associates of the APC National Leader asking for a level-playing ground for all aspirants in the contest for the presidential ticket.
“If they continue like this, we are not tied to the apron strings of the party, at least Asiwaju has a political history,” a source said as he noted that the kind of political marriage that brought up the APC was possible should Atiku Abubakar also be pushed out of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
An Atiku associate dismissed the claim yesterday.
“We know where the talk is coming from. Yes, Asiwaju has strong pillars in the APC and it is easy to assert that he could join Waziri (Atiku) to form an unbeatable alliance, but Atiku does not have that perspective. Atiku is abiding in PDP whatever is the case,” the Atiku associate said in rebuffing insinuations of an Atiku – Tinubu alliance.