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Why Osinbajo’s declaration spurred rallies nationwide, by supporters

By Leo Sobechi, Ernest Nzor (Abuja), Rauf Oyewole (Bauchi), Ayodele Afolabi (Ado-Ekiti), Mansur Aramide (Gombe) and Shakirah Adunola (Lagos)rdian Nigeria
12 April 2022   |   3:22 am
Following months of speculations, news of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s decision to contest the 2023 presidential election spurred excitement across the country, yesterday.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/YEMI OSINBAJO/SCREENGRAB

Following months of speculations, news of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s decision to contest the 2023 presidential election spurred excitement across the country, yesterday.

In Bauchi town, Bauchi State, a group, Osinbajo Volunteer Movement, took to streets in jubilation, affirming the Vice President is the right man for the job.

National Publicity Secretary of the group, Ibrahim Khalid Angale, said: “Nigeria needs a leader who is strong physically, intellectually and sound, to tackle the many challenges facing the country.

He noted: “The Vice President has been part of this government for the past seven years. He is not a novice when it comes to affairs of this country. He is conversant with the challenges. We are expecting him to consolidate on the work already laid down by President Muhammadu Buhari. This is the reason we are registering our support for him.”

SOME members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos, under the auspices of Osinbajo Grassroots Organisation (OGO), also held a rally at Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja.

Coordinator of the group, Olusoga Owoeye, said: “We heard today that Prof. Osinbajo declared to contest for president. We are all excited and happy. We have been mounting pressure on him for the past 12 months and we are glad that today he has come out to run. We are glad he hearkened to our call.”

He added: “This is the first time we are going to have a vice president who has been so much involved in the socio-economic activity of the government and has delivered. He is brilliant, he is exceedingly erudite and he has delivered on all the assignments given to him by the President. So, he is loyal to the country, committed to the Nigerian project and this is the best time for him to run for the office.”

Other socio-political groups that joined the rally included The Osinbajo Project (TOP), Osinbajo Support Movement (OSM) and Nigerian-American Democratic League (NADL).

SOME residents of Ekiti State, under the auspices of Osinbajo Grassroots Organisation (OGO), also trooped out to drum support for his ambition, describing the Vice President as the most competent and qualified to deliver victory for APC.

The group, which donned T-shirts and facecaps with pictures of the Vice President, marched through the streets of Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.

According to the leader of the group, Femi Adeleye, Osinbajo’s competence stands him out among other aspirants. Asked how Osinbajo would defeat the likes of Bola Ahmed Tinubu and others at the primary, Adeleye insisted: “We have brought a very marketable and sellable aspirant for the APC.”

IN Gombe, Gombe State, over 20 youth groups staged a rally, describing the declaration as a divine answer to Nigerians’ prayers.

Their coordinator, Babangida Malubu, said they had been urging Osinbajo to take a shot at the presidency since October 2021 and “today, we are happy that he has listened to the yearnings of the youths.”

ALSO, a Kebbi State APC gubernatorial aspirant, Mallam Salihu Isa Nataro, expressed optimism that Osinbajo would succeed Buhari in 2023.

Nataro said the Vice President has not only shown he is a simple man, but also given the impression that he understands the mood of the nation.

He added: “Nigerians know that Osinbajo is a trusted and loyal vice president. So, he is in the best position to carry out much needed reforms in various sectors to consolidate the economic diversification programme of President Buhari.

“We, the members of Osinbajo4President, are convinced that the Vice President is the best man for the job. His age and expertise in the legal profession are part of the main considerations for which the North decided to support him. He will do well.”

On speculations that it would be hard for the Vice President to defeat Tinubu in the APC presidential primaries, Nataro said if any of the aspirants does not agree to consensus, Northern delegates would line up behind Osinbajo to seal his nomination.

BUT Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) said the decision to succeed his boss would offer Nigerian voters a fresh insight into the administration.

In a statement by National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, the group said: “We think his winning the ticket may offer Nigerians a beautiful opportunity for perfect pay back, a sweet revenge, by sending to him the message that he served as the vice to a president that created more divisions than he met them.

“We will gladly be available to host the Vice President to public debates, so he can very well offer us those insights and also unveil to Nigerians the other secret codes he may have evolved to untangle the critical economic and infrastructural problems that have successfully wrestled Nigeria to the ground and have made Nigeria home to the largest population of absolutely poor people in the world.”