Putting Osinbajo’s Loyalty To Test | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Putting Osinbajo’s Loyalty To Test

Posted: May 5, 2016 at 3:30 am   /   by   /   comments (1)

Temidayo Akinsuyi,

Lagos- The Vice-Presidential candidate (Prof. Yemi Osinbajo) is a friend of the less privileged, compassionate and zealous in service. A man of uncommon humility, a loyal, dependable and selfless patriot. He is an excellent professional, a man of faith, a devoted family man and a role model to our fellow countrymen and women-   ( President) Muhammadu Buhari, December 17, 2014

“Yoruba is known for not being disloyal and that is why I am bold to say that my boss, Major-General Buhari, will always have my loyalty – (Vice President) Yemi  Osinbajo, March 23 2015

There is no gainsaying the fact that all is not well within the various camps of Nigeria’s ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). The party, an amalgam of five different blocs which include the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) under the leadership of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the Congress for Progressives Change under Buhari, the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) led by  Ogbonnaya Onu, the NewPDP under the leadership of Bukola  Saraki and a faction of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) led by Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo state has been facing trying times as the various interest groups try to outplay one another in the quest for dominance and political superiority.

According to  credible source in the party “  While the leadership of the party is doing everything within its fold to manage the internal crisis away from the prying eyes of the media and the opposition parties, it is clear to every discerning mind that there is distrust amongst the various groups. The other groups believe that Buhari’s CPC has hijacked the party because of the president’s influence as the national leader of the party. The ACN of Tinubu believes they are being marginalised despite their immense contributions towards the merger and the electoral success of the party.  The NewPDP believes its leader, Saraki is being unfairly treated owing to his emergence as Senate President while Onu’s ANPP and Okorocha’s APGA  also feel they are being treated unfairly simply because of their number and due to the fact that the APC recorded fewer votes in the South East during the general elections”.

Also noteworthy is the supremacy battle between President Buhari and Tinubu which borders on key appointments made by the administration.  Though some of his protégés such as the Federal Inland Revenue Boss (FIRS), Babatunde Fowler and the former Deputy- Governor of Lagos State, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire have been given appointments by the presidency, none of Tinubu’s choices were appointed as ministers forcing the former governor to retreat. Though a measure of peace has been brokered between the two leaders, sources say that the issue will soon resurface again especially as the rumour of the formation of a new political party keeps spreading.

One man who has maintained calmness throughout the period of the crisis is Prof. Yemi Osinbajo,  President Buhari’s second-in-command.  A scholar and cleric, Osinbajo, who is widely regarded as a protégé of Tinubu having served under him for eight years as Attorney- General and Commissioner for Justice during Tinubu’s two-term reign as Lagos State governor is definitely torn between loyalty to his political godfather and President Buhari, and by extension the Federal  Republic of Nigeria.

Speaking to Independent on the development, a national officer of the APC who does not want his name in print said while it is true that all is not well in the APC camp, “ Osinbajo has been able to maintain a delicate balance between his job as the  Vice President and loyalty to Tinubu, his perceived political godfather.  During those period of the crisis, he is always at the forefront of peace moves aimed at bringing various factions of the party together. But I can assure you that the vice-president is a man of his words and like the president said, a man of integrity. When it comes to loyalty between an individual and the state, there can’t be any doubt about where he stands”.

Also speaking on Osinbajo’s disposition towards the emergence of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, our source said “ The  Vice- President unequivocally condemned the move by the two men though he may not have made any official statement on it. He believes in party supremacy and will not support any acts of rebellion by any group or individual to constituted authority. Be that as it may, he has tried to brokered peace amongst the various groups in the interest of the party and the country in general. He wants the administration to settle down to business so that the country can move forward and deliver to Nigerians the change promised during the campaign”. On the vice-president’s disposition to Saraki’s trial on alleged false declaration of assets, our source says “ One thing is sure. The vice- president, as a legal professional who believes in the sanctity of the rule of law holds the opinion that justice must take its course.  I understand  series of meetings has been held on the issue with the vice- president in attendance. I believe it is all geared towards finding a lasting solution to the issue in the interest of the nation”.

 Also speaking on where  Osinbajo stands during the face-off between  Tinubu and the  President, our source said the  vice- president on most occasion is concerned about his duties which is very daunting.  He also adds that though crisis may occur, which is normal in politics, “the Vice- President as a man of peace is always concerned about  finding a lasting solution to crisis without necessarily  taking sides”.  “ I don’t think the Vice- President is a man who can be pushed here nor there. He is highly principled and strong-willed politician.  As to his loyalty to the president or Tinubu, all I can say is that , In the face of it, the president remains his boss. Except when the president is out of the country, he sees him on a daily basis. He also serves in acting capacity whenever the president is out of the country. You cannot say that about Tinubu. He is not working directly under Tinubu.  I also don’t believe Tinubu will call him everyday giving him instructions.  All I know is that whenever Tinubu is in Abuja, the vice-president visits him regularly especially after close of business to seek his advice on solution to many problems confronting the Buhari administration and other issues as it affects the party”.
“ I believe Tinubu is  a man of understanding who knows the authority vested in Osinbajo as the Vice- President of Nigeria. He (Osinbajo) may have once served under him but that doesn’t matter anymore.  The highest position held by Tinubu in Nigeria is governor, while Osinbajo is the number two man.  You can liken their case to that of former president Goodluck Jonathan and the late Diepreye  Alamieyeseigha.  Jonathan served under Alamieyeseigha as deputy governor, but God later elevated him as President and he was the one who granted state pardon to his former boss. So, I don’t believe  Tinubu will be dictating to him on which position to take whenever any issue arises either in the APC or the presidency” he said.
While reacting to the issue, elder statesman and former governor of Kaduna state,  Balarabe Musa has this to say “ Given the circumstances the Vice- President finds himself, because of the weight of the Nigerian issue, actually it should be with Buhari. If he is a principled man, if there is conflict between both men, first, he will do his utmost to mend the difference between the two.  If his best doesn’t work, I think the national issue will be more important and so, he will show his loyalty to the  President of the Federal republic.  Though I must admit that the rumoured crisis between Buhari and Tinubu is speculative” he said.

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