On both new and traditional media, what is emerging after Monday’s declaration by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu seems like a reinforcement of the calls for the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo to throw his hat in the ring for the 2023 presidential elections.
From TV anchors on such stations as African Independent Television (AIT), Arise TV and Channels TV, to newspapers and online platforms, the dominant tide is for the sitting VP to get in line for the race.
On AIT’s Kakaaki programme on Tuesday, renowned columnist and news analyst, Majeed Dahiru argued that the Vice President should be the number one pick for the ruling APC.
“There is another factor, which is the Vice President. In my opinion, my frank and personal opinion, ordinarily I would have thought the best bet for APC going to 2023 election would have been the Vice President, as a Nigerian, honestly I think the Vice President despite his shortcomings has held his own as Vice President.”
He added that, “the few times he has acted as president, he has shown he can act with decisiveness on the side of constitutionality, on the side of the people and on the side of common sense. Look at his intervention in the Niger-Delta, look at the way he swiftly fired the DG of DSS and saved the government from international embarrassment, he was decisive about that.
“I think he is younger and he is more contemporary. He has a grip of issues that are bothering this country” he said.
He however noted that the Southwest could lose its opportunity to present the next president if Osinbajo is not picked.
He said the person from the Southwest that is acceptable to the entire country and the youth demography, ” is Osinbajo. I’m saying this frankly,” adding that if Southwest APC act contrary, it “might result in the loss for the Southwest,” he said.
It was a similar story on Arise TV’s Morning Show programme, same day as anchors Oseni Rufai and Reuben Abati stated that it was a no-brainer for Prof. Osinbajo to run for the 2023 presidency.
Countering Honourable Abdulmumin Jibrin, a guest on the show, Abati said, “There are people, especially in the Southwest, who are encouraging the Vice President to run and you know the relationship between the Vice President and Asiwaju Tinubu. I mean he served as Attorney General in Lagos and many people believe that Asiwaju is the godfather to the Vice President. Okay, should the VP also decide that he wants to run and succeed his present boss, will Asiwaju be offended?” he quizzed.
Similarly, Rufai argued, “Let me add this to it, what would be the fate of the likes of Vice President Osinbajo and Fayemi, what becomes of them in this? You know, the squabble for the party primaries.”
Channels TV anchor, Kayode Okikiolu went on further while questioning Hon. Ademorin Kuye, a guest on Sunrise Daily, who represented the Tinubu Support Group. He insinuated that there have been speculations that Asiwaju Tinubu was clearing the way for Vice President Osinbajo, “Is there a possibility and this has been speculated widely, that this might be distraction with all this announcement, moves, intrigues of clearing the way for someone else, might this change?”
On the same show, Fouad Oki, an APC chieftain said that the Vice President should contest because he is eminently qualified to lead Nigeria. He noted that Asiwaju Tinubu and his supporters should not get emotional if the Vice President decides to run.
“One has said he wants to come out to run. For me the other is a pretender, until he comes out to say I also want to run. I know for sure the Vice President will also want to run. When I was talking to someone yesterday and the person said, ‘are you for real? will he run against his boss?’. I said boss in politics? .. they are both qualified eminently.”
“One is basking in his antecedent and accomplishments when he was governor of Lagos State. The other is coming out to say, “Look! I am Vice President of this country, I have been in the saddle going to seven years now and this is what I have done as Chairman, National Economic Council. etc
“If the other man, the Vice President, chooses to come out that he wants to run. You don’t have to be emotional about it,” he concluded.”
When the Tinubu representative on the Channels TV show said he conceded that Osinbajo would be a good candidate and is eminently qualified to run, but that there is a moral issue for him running against Tinubu, Okikiolu one of the anchors retorted saying “as Vice President?. He went on to imply that having been VP for going to 7 years already he would question the moral issue raised by the Tinubu representative on the show.
On the newspapers many of the headlines that reported the Tinubu declaration also raised Osinbajo’s name in the headlines, especially the story of 57 youth groups that reportedly endorsed the VP the same day Tinubu declared.