President Muhammadu Buhari has finally been informed of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s presidential ambition.
The vice president will compete for the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) ticket alongside Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who visited the Presidential Villa a few months ago to inform Buhari of his ambition to succeed him.
In addition to Rotimi Amaechi and Kayode Fayemi, the Minister of Labour Chris Ngige has announced he will shortly join the race for the president.
Orji Uzo Kalu, the Senate Chief Whip, and Senator Rochas Okorocha have all expressed their interest in the APC presidential contest, amid rumours that other Northern hopefuls could soon join.
One of our sources stated VP Osinbajo has told the president he wants to succeed him.
He had initially visited several notable Nigerians who pushed him to run for president and to notify the president directly.
“They told him not to let a third party tell the president,” he claimed.
Another source claimed Buhari was unsurprised when Osinbajo told him the storey.
“Buhari gave his trademark smile…
He gave the VP the green light and wished him success, but made no promise to back him ahead of other competitors.
“He blessed the aim like he blessed Tinubu when he visited him at the Villa and announced his presidential bid.
“I think the president is cautious. Remember what he stated in an interview on national TV.”
The lawyer, politician, and preacher has yet to proclaim his desire to run for president in 2023, but many people and organisations are pulling for him.
The groups have been running ads in print and television media encouraging the vice president to run.
Another source claimed Osinbajo will “definitely fight Tinubu and others for the APC ticket.”
“The speculation that the VP would not run against Tinubu is over. The two South Westers would face off. Both have supporters, but Tinubu is a politician. “He has greater popularity across the country, but whoever the president favours will have the upper hand,” he added.
On Sunday, the vice president postponed his planned meeting with the APC state chairmen in Abuja.
The meeting would have been the VP’s key engagement with party chiefs from all 36 states and the FCT.
Sources said the meeting was scheduled before of Osinbajo’s formal presidential pronouncement, which would have ended all uncertainty.
The meeting scheduled for tonight (Monday) was cancelled, according to multiple sources.
Some of the state APC chairmen had already arrived Abuja ahead of the meeting when it was abruptly cancelled.
They stated they were aware of the meeting with Osinbajo and had mobilised for it.
An APC member in Kaduna claimed the meeting was cancelled when rumours circulated that the vice president planned to utilise the chairmen to advance his political aspirations.
Barrister Alphonsus Ogar Eba, APC Chairman in Cross River State, said he was called to Abuja.
He stated he got the invite while at a colleague’s social function in Maiduguri, Borno State’s capital.
“I am on a plane to Abuja to meet with the president as we speak. I’m informed the meeting is cancelled, but I’m on a plane.”
The APC’s Bauchi State Chairman, Alhaji Babayo Ali Misau, acknowledged his invitation through the party’s Publicity Secretary, Adamu Aliyu Jallah.
An APC source in Adamawa State told our correspondent that state chairman Ibrahim Bilal was in Abuja for the meeting.
According to a party source in Kano, Abdullahi Abbas was also in Abuja.
When asked why the VP meeting was postponed, the APC chairmen in Lagos and Enugu replied they had no idea.
The Lagos Chairman, Cornelius Ojelabi, said Osinbajo had the right to meet with them as their principal, but it was unwise to conjecture the reason. The conclusion of such a meeting would be communicated, he said.
Ojelabi said Prof Osinbajo has the right to strive for any post.
“He has the right to run, but the APC members will decide,” he stated.
He said the Lagos APC backed Asiwaju Bola Tinubu since he was the only candidate from the South West to declare for the presidency in 2023.
His Enugu colleague, Ugochukwu Agballah, claimed he was on his way to Abuja when he learned of the postponement.
As the VP’s adviser, I am unaware if he would utilise the meeting to reveal his intentions. “He may have called the meeting to handle party difficulties, so don’t assume or speculate,” he added.
President Buhari reportedly interrupted Osinbajo’s meeting with state chairmen at the last minute.
“Buhari is in London and he has entertained various government and party interest groups,” one of them stated.
“The meeting was cleared, but when the president was briefed on the party’s uncertainties and the polity’s pressure, he was urged to cancel it.”
A source claimed the meeting was not on Osinbajo’s agenda.
“The vice president was ordered to meet with the chairmen due to the ruling party’s crisis,” he stated. They’re intended to debate several hot topics before the NEC meeting on Thursday and the national convention on March 26.”
However, an APC source claimed the postponed meeting was set for 8:30pm and was designed for the VP to rally state chairmen before declaring for the presidential run.
“The Vice President understands they are essential delegates. He (Osinbajo) will run for president. The APC presidential ticket will go to President Muhammadu Buhari as long as he lives.
“Like I mentioned last week, any information regarding the vice president’s activities would be conveyed officially,” said Osinbajo’s spokesperson, Laolu Akande.
To a question regarding whether the vice president planned to meet with state party chairmen, he replied: ”I’ll find out.”
The VP was also in a quandary because of his friendship with Tinubu.
Senator Abu Ibrahim, a party leader, said Osinbajo would struggle to defeat Tinubu.
He claimed Asiwaju and Osinbajo have progressed. In Lagos, Tinubu appointed Osinbajo. “Tinubu chose him for the vice presidency, therefore he will not challenge him,” he stated.
Many people were surprised when Osinbajo’s Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) recently established a directorate for politics and governance.
Officials said the church’s massive following in Nigeria and abroad was being used to support the VP’s presidential ambition.
But the church said the new directorate will assist mobilise support for church members involved in politics.