Saturday, 23rd September 2023

Perspectives for 2023 – Part 3

By Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa
09 May 2022   |   2:58 am
In the first parts of this piece, there was an x-ray of potential candidates for the different political parties ahead of the 2023 presidential election, focusing on His Excellency Mr. Peter Obi,

Osinbajo. Photo/FACEBOOK/professoryemiosinbajo

In the first parts of this piece, there was an x-ray of potential candidates for the different political parties ahead of the 2023 presidential election, focusing on His Excellency Mr. Peter Obi, Comrade Omoyele Sowore, His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and His Excellency, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

In the eye of the 1999 Constitution, the concept of loyalty to an individual is non-existent; thus, the issue of loyalty from Osinbajo to Tinubu is totally misplaced and indeed a misnomer.

The loyalty demanded of the office of the Vice-President is to the Constitution and by necessary extension to the people of Nigeria. In the scheme of things, once a member of the Tinubu political school has openly declared his interest as the Vice-President has done, the role of Tinubu himself should be that of open endorsement and not opposition. It will do so much damage to that school and to Tinubu himself should he enter into an open contest in a primary election with the Vice-President.

From the day he was elected, Osinbajo became the leader of the APC in the South-West and the onus of loyalty should fall upon Tinubu himself, not the other way round. Unless Osinbajo has committed some grievous errors against the party during his tenure as Vice-President, it would be a total disservice to deny him the presidential slot on account of his life ambition of Tinubu to be president. That ambition became subject to the office of the Vice-President, from the day of his election in 2015 and re-election in 2019, in the absence of any written undertaking against it. The challenge here is for Tinubu to develop his political school beyond and above his own personality since he cannot live forever. Otherwise, the school will not outlive him, as it will die a natural death since it has always been about the personal ambition of just one person.

In my own humble opinion, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has shown exceptional loyalty to the President even in the most trying times and in the face of the greatest challenges. If the APC puts its house in order in choosing its presidential candidate, I see a good contest between Mr. Peter Obi of the PDP and Professor Yemi Osinbajo of the APC. It is true that Osinbajo is a Pastor and a committed Christian, which should count in his favour. Contrary to some write-ups which tend to tag him in negative religious garb, Osinbajo was the sitting Vice-President when a female pastor of his church was hacked down and gruesomely

The heavens did not fall and I remember vividly that Osinbajo and his wife visited the family and used the occasion to preach love and tolerance. There was no reprisal attack from either Osinbajo’s church or the body of Christ nationwide. Admirably, the church was able to manage the issue with commendable maturity. That cannot happen were the Vice-President to be a religious fanatic. I have also looked through the profile of his appointments to see that he has religious balance, gender equality and national spread in the list of his official and personal staff. Whatever may be the plan, posterity awaits the open endorsement of Osinbajo by Tinubu. He should actually buy his nomination form and hand it over to him openly as a sign of that endorsement. There should be no debate about this at all.

His Excellency Mr Rotimi Amaechi started his political journey with His Excellency Chief Peter Odili, he rose to the position of Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly and later Governor of Rivers State for eight years. He has served as the Honourable Minister of Transport since 2015 when the Buhari administration came on board. I personally believe that he has done well but the South-South having recently produced the President through His Excellency Mr. Goodluck Jonathan, that zone should have the grace to accommodate another zone for that office. The power base of the APC has been the North and the South-West and since the North has had its shot, it is proper to allow the South-West take the benefit of its commitment and support for the party in the coming election. This is in relation to the APC, as it was clearly stated last week that the PDP should automatically zone its ticket to the South-East.

To be continued tomorrow

Adegboruwa is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).