Why Buhari Shunned Tinubu as His Running Mate
The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) General Muhammadu Buhari today chose Professor Yemi Osinbajo as his running mate for vice president.
It is gathered that the law professor was nominated ahead of other candidate reported to be jostling for the position that included APC national leader, Bola Tinubu, Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole and former Lagos Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora.
The decision to pick Osinbajo, who is also a high ranking member of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, was reached last night after Tinubu had decided to withdraw his interest. Tinubu’s ambition was the reason the search for Buhari’s running mate went into an over drive that nearly tore the party apart.
APC members, who are against Tinubu as running mate to Buhari, had argued that it would not be in the interest of the party to pick a Muslim-Muslim ticket, as that will marginalize the Christians and give President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian, an advantage at the general elections. This argument also eliminated the charismatic governor of Lagos state Babatunde Fashola, a Muslim, from the being considered, leaving Professor Osinbajo, the resident minister at the Olive Tree parish of the RCCG on Banana island of Lagos State, to slug it out with Rotimi Amaechi and Adams Oshiomhole.
XCLUSIVE Magazine gathered that Tinubu was initially not deterred by the plausible argument put forward by some APC members and had continued to push his case aggressively. In a statement released by the Tinubu Media Office on Tuesday, Tinubu came out fighting, not the opposition within his party but those from the outside. He had accused the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of embarking on a smear campaign against him.
The statement read: “The successful merger and birth of the APC posed the most potent threat to the PDP and Tinubu, an architect of the merger, has become a marked man.
“The thought of a Buhari-Tinubu ticket confounds the PDP hierarchy and their crisis-battered president. That Tinubu might be nominated as General Buhari’s running mate also incenses the small element within the APC who joined the party not for its progressive vision but to exploit its platform to press forward their vision of themselves.
“Having failed at halting General Buhari’s bid, the PDP disinformation machine has thrown itself into overdrive trying to stymie the selection of Tinubu. Sadly, some elements within the APC – elevating their personal ambition over party and national interests — have lent themselves to this endeavour.”
But in a surprise u-turn earlier today, Tinubu claimed to have now withdrawn his interest in the Vice-Presidential slot. He said in a lengthy statement released a few hours ago that:
“There came a time during the course of the events when our Presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari offered the Vice Presidential slot to me. Being a normal human being, I was deeply moved and honored that he would consider me for the position. Being a patriot, I had to weigh my potential candidacy in all of its dimensions.
“I have concluded that the interest of the party, our campaign and of the nation are better served if I retain my position as the National leader of the APC, allowing me to be a bridge builder across all divides.”
He went further to say: “Some may call what I have done a sacrifice. I call it otherwise. It is my patriotic contribution and duty. I do so with a happy and uplifted heart and clear conscience because I have committed myself to seeking the best for this nation before seeking what is good for myself. This is the creed of statesmanship I chose to follow. May this be the creed of our party as General Buhari leads us to historic victory in the 2015 elections.”
Although Tinubu appeared in that statement to present a picture of an altruist, the fact on the ground showed that he had no other option left. A source within the party told XCLUSIVE Magazine that Tinubu seemed to have realized that the opposition within the party had built a strong case against him.
The source said also that Buhari, who wants to building his presidential campaign on his growing reputation as a disciplined, an incorruptible and honest Nigerian, can ill afford to pick Tinubu with all his “baggage,” contending that if Buhari had chosen Tinubu as his running mate he would find himself explaining why he had to pick an alleged drug peddler, with a dodgy University certificate.
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