Nigeria: 2023 - Osinbajo's Running but Still Consulting - Source

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) signpost (file photo).
14 March 2022

Barring any last minute change, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will declare his ambition to run for the presidency in the 2023 election, Vanguard has learned.

Multiple sources, who are allies of the Vice President, told Vanguard that Osinbajo was still consulting but will not flout the law by declaring his presidential ambition.

Meanwhile, the planned meeting of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo with some state chairmen of his ruling All Progressives Congress APC, today is already causing some ripples among the chairmen, with many of them, especially those from the South saying they were not aware of the said meeting as of yesterday evening.

Osinbajo is running but still consulting.

Multiple sources told Vanguard that the Vice President was still consulting with stakeholders on his ambition.

A source, who spoke with Vanguard in confidence, declared that "from all indications and body language, Osinbajo is running."

Another source said: "I will like to make it clear this way. Since my adult life, I have taken part in many political processes and situations, from presenting myself for election as candidate of political party and being saddled with administration of political party as national secretary, I, therefore, need not have difficulty to decipher any political move.

"With the interactions I have had with several stakeholders in the last one year, the Vice President is running. His body language is tilted towards that."

Asked whether the VP will declare after the APC convention as being speculated, the source said: "Don't forget that the Vice President is a Professor of Law and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN.

"The electoral process, like every other law in the world, is governed by law. Whosoever that will declare now will be flouting the Electoral Act, that is why till date, all those who say they are running will say they are consulting. The rule of the game as of now has not permitted anybody to declare any intention.

"So, nobody should expect him to declare until the law says so. The consultations are going on. Most of his aides and others are fully in the project. We are consulting and recently, we were in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, and the feedback from Uyo is that he (Osinbajo) should run.

"We had political giants, senators former ministers, and captains of industries asking him to run; that is consultation. The other time, we were in Kano and they asked him to run and everywhere we have been to, he is being asked to run.

"You engage everybody. He's responsive, this is the collective aspirations of Nigeria and the VP will respond at the appropriate time. He is running.

"I am aware that he is going to meet with state chairman of the APC, but I'm not privy to what would be discussed therein. Mind you, I am not one of the the state chairmen of APC, I wasn't invited but I know he is meeting with them. As of today (yesterday), we have 720 groups who are supporting the VP. He is contesting.

"The VP has to follow the law because if he should declare today, those asking him to declare will still be the same people who will accuse him of jumping the gun.

"The VP will not jump the gun because he is a Professor of Law and a SAN that knows the law, he understands our jurisprudence. Jumping the law atimes can come with sanctions and he will not do that.

"You know that the President is not around and he will not want to heat up the polity, he's not that selfish. At the prescribed time, by law, he will declare."

APC state party chairmen divided over Osinbajo's summon

Meanwhile, the planned meeting of the Vice-President with some APC state chairmen is already causing ripples among the chairmen, with many of them, especially those from the South saying they were not aware of the said meeting as of yesterday evening.

A chairman in one of the Southwest states told Vanguard that he had not been invited for the meeting, while his counterpart in another Southwestern state said though he got the invitation, he would not be attending the meeting.

The said chairman is loyal to his state governor who is among those working for the presidential ambition of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

A chairman in one of the North Central states said though he got the invitation, he was awaiting clearance from his governor to know if he should attend the meeting or not.

Though the agenda for the meeting is not known, there were reports indicating that the vice president may want to sell his presidential ambition to them.

However, a party source told Vanguard that the meeting could be in connection with the leadership crisis in the party and the planned National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting slated for Thursday.

He said: "It would be politically naive for the vice president to seek to sell his ambition directly to the state chairmen inside the presidential villa, even when his boss, Mr President, is not around. Except he has clear cut assurances of support from the president, such a move could be counterproductive."

When contacted, the APC chairman in Ogun State, Mr Yemi Sanusi, told Vanguard that "there is no meeting."

Also, a reliable source confided in Vanguard that the Osun APC Chairman, Prince Gboyega Famodun, will not be at the meeting.

Efforts to reach Famodun to react on the issue proved abortive as calls put to his number were not picked.

Meanwhile, his spokesperson, Mr Kola Olabisi, said he was not aware of such a meeting, hence, cannot speak on whether Famodun would be there or not.

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