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Buhari picks Yemi Osinbajo, as running mate

17/12/2014 13:14

After days of marathon meetings and horse-trading, the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Muhammadu Buhari, has settled for a former Attorney General of Lagos, Yemi Osinbajo, as his running mate, PREMIUM TIMES can authoritatively report.


A source close to Mr. Buhari said the APC agreed on Mr. Osinbajo Tuesday night as a concession to a former Lagos Governor, Bola Tinubu, who for days aggressively pushed himself forward for the slot.


Mr. Tinubu’s  presumed candidature, according to party sources, was aggressively pushed by party chairman, Mr. Bisi Akande, and a cohort of south west governors, which did not sink well with many of his own long time allies.  On the outer cone of the party structure however a league of young.


Mr. Tinubu’s  first choice candidate however was Mr. Yemi Osinbajo, 55, a senior advocate of Nigeria, and University of Lagos professor of commercial law who helped rebuild the Lagos State judiciary as a national reference point as a two-term attorney-general of the state.  Mr. Osinbajo is also connected to the powerful Awolowo political dynasty by marriage. He is married to the Late Chief Awolowo’s grand daughter.


Inside party sources who did not want to be named told PREMIUM TIMES in Lagos that once Mr. Buhari had expressed open preference to have a running mate from the South West, Mr. Tinubu offered him a three-man list that had  Mr. Osinbajo, himself (Tinubu), and Mr. Babatunde Fashola, current lagos State governor.


The Tinubu gambit, according to his aides, was a strategic ploy to reinforce Mr. Osinbajo’s candidature and dim Mr. Fashola’s prospective choice since it seemed Mr. Buhari had a soft preference for him. “In essence Tinubu, while promoting claims to his own candidature, was actually playing a wedge politics to fend off opposition to Osinbajo,” remarked one of his closest aides in Abuja Tuesday night.


Osinbajo, a top cleric in the powerful Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, and the Chairman of the governing board of the Redeemer’s University, was thought to be a powerful choice to match the Jonathan ticket that has being playing to a christian constituency through serial pilgrimages, and the subtle elevation of the status of the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria to a virtual presidential adviser’s status.


The ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP,  and many of its campaign slogans have sought to milk the deficit implicit in a possible Muslim-Muslim ticket, an arrangement that would have merged in the event of either a Tinubu or Fashola candidature as running mates.


Party leaders, offering insight on the vice presidential pick, said  “Yes, it has been agreed that Osinbajo should be the one, it was finally agreed last night. There is going to be a press conference to present him today.


Professor Osinbajo who is also the resident minister at the Olive Tree Redeemed Church is one of the closest aides  to Church’s General Overseer and revered clergyman, Enoch Adeboye.  He has at various times been Master of Ceremony at the church’s Holy Ghost Convention and Congreses usually held at its Camp Ground along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.


By the choice of Osinbajo, Mr. Buhari is making history to run with another cleric. Tunde Bakare, the iconoclastic cleric who ministers at the Latter Rain Assembly was his running mate in the 2011 presidential election.


Before settling for Mr. Osinbajo, the leadership of the APC had first resolved either Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State or Adams Oshiomhole of Edo in the South-South geo-political zone by narrowing its search to the South West region.


In line with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010, political parties have up till Thursday to submit names of their presidential and vice presidential candidates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).


The National Chairman of the APC, John Odigie-Oyegun, had told journalists on Tuesday that the party would announce its presidential running mate today in keeping with the nation’s electoral law.


Source - Premium Times

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