Header Ads

Presidential Bid: War Without End Between Tinubu, Osinbajo Supporters

 IN spite of calls for a ceasefire, supporters of the vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and those of national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, are unrelenting in their verbal war over who gets the presidential ticket of the APC for the 2023 election. 

The war has been prominent on both mainstream and digital media platforms with loyalists on the two sides quick to hit back at any comment, tweet, post that does not favour their favoured candidate. 

In the last six days, their supporters have raised the tempo of the uncanny rivalry between them, taking to different media platforms to denigrate, sometimes deploying base arguments in defence of their principal or to demean the rival camp. 

Visible on the streets of Abuja were posters denigrating the person of Vice-President Osinbajo, while supporters of the vice president also resorted to name-calling, seizing the social media with unprintable names of Tinubu. 

Nigerian Tribune observed that most of the supporters literally seized the traditional media, especially radio and television channels, to ride roughshod on rival camps on the propriety or otherwise of their principals running for the presidency. 

Most of the altercations and encounters were characterised by unsavoury comments, mundane issues and sheer display of emotions in the bid by the two camps to outsmart each other. It was also noticed that in some instances, the supporters latched on news pro- grammes and personality interviews to get at each other, despite calls for restraints made by concerned citizens, especially during phone-in live programmes. 

Some of the issues that dominated the altercations between the camps included the circumstance that threw up Osinbajo as vice president, with a claim that a former speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly and current Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora; Wale Edun and Yemi Cardoso, were the first approached as likely running mate to Buhari. 

Supporters of the aspirants sustained the claims and counterclaims of betrayal and distrust, with some playing up the scriptural Judas Iscariot scenario, just as others raised questions about integrity, age and physical fitness in who succeeds Buhari next year as president of the country. 

The speech of the vice president on his declaration also became an issue between the camps as some of party members argued it was couched to soothe the nerves of the president in the bid by Osinbajo to curry his favour. 

Some pro-Tinubu sympathisers said the entry of Osinbajo into the race for the 2023 APC ticket may give chance for members of a Fifth Columnist outside the zone to infiltrate the SouthWest and “destroy the unity of the zone, which is the strength of the region.” 

The frightening dimension of the unbridled mud-slinging, Nigerian Tribune observed, necessitated the office of the vice president, last Wednesday, to call on the media to always ascertain the status of all proclaimed pro-Osinbajo groups. 

Speaking on an interview programme on Arise TV on the presidential bid of Tinubu, one Olugbemiga Olaoye, said to be a co-convener, ‘Osinbajo Think Thank’, said Nigerians do not want another sick president who would be embarking on foreign medical trips. 

He said the country needs a capable person like the vice president to run for the top political office in the 2023 elections. 

“We cannot afford another sick president who will be travelling to London all the time as we currently have, we need someone who is mentally sound. The little time that Osinbajo spent leading the Federal Executive Council (FEC) was different. Things were moving,” Olaoye stated. 

Putting a disclaimer on this, a statement signed by Special Adviser (Political Matters) to the President, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, said some representatives that had gone to the media as aides of the vice president or his representatives had no business with such groups. 

The statement read: “Our attention has been called to certain off-key representation of the vice president, going to the media to assert opinions that run contrary to his views and persona. “The vice president is focused on his job, while seeking the ticket of our great party. 

He has been a loyal, dependable and hardworking partner in delivering the progressive promise of people-centred good governance, devoid of guile, in the past seven years. 

“We enjoin media houses and journalists to reach out to our office to ascertain the accreditation status of representatives of varying support groups that have since sprung up across the country, in fervent support of the vice president. 

“While we appreciate the spontaneous support for the vice president and the willingness of these support groups to express themselves in the media, there has been vari- ous representatives that have gone to the media as aides of the vice president or his representatives, who were wrongly tagged so. We hope the media will be circumspect in tagging these voices and carefully vet these claims in the future.” 

Calling for caution, the general secretary of the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), Dr Kunle Olajide, warned the camps of both Osinbajo and Tinubu against creating a climate that is capable of making history to repeat itself over their ambition. He described the ongoing rivalry between them as worrisome, adding that the elders might have to intervene to avert a possible backlash. 

“It is very frightening the way things are going and nobody anticipated that. The handwriting we are seeing on the wall is not anything to be proud of and we, the elders, might have to intervene. 

“The elders will have to come in to address the issue. We don’t want another situation where the South-West will be set ablaze because of personal political ambition of anybody. We cannot afford to witness that again. 

“We will have to call them, at least to tell them to moderate their supporters. They have been friends for over 20 years. 

“I don’t see any reason why they must suddenly become enemies and start to point guns at each other. They have been together; they have been friends and political al- lies for over two decades. 

“They should not allow politics to turn them to enemies. I don’t see anything bad in the two of them pursuing their ambitions, but it must be done decently. 

“They must be able to caution their supporters because sometimes, it is the supporters that start these problems. So, they must caution their supporters and go about selling their messages to the people in a very decent manner. Also, the security agents must do their job.” 

On his part, a political scientist, Dr Gbade Ojo, said the perception of Osinbajo being an ingrate is uncalled for. 

Ojo stressed that the vice president was exercising his constitutional rights as a citizen of the country, hence the fact that Tinubu was his mentor should not ordinarily prevent him from throwing his hat into the ring. 

Pointing to the informal power-sharing in Nigerian government and politics with President Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim, finishing his tenure next year, Ojo said it waits to be seen if it will be the turn of a Christian or the arrangement will change. 

Other prominent persons and groups in the South-West joined the fray, with many of them expressing disparate positions. 

Commenting, a renowned critic, Dr Adeola Soetan, in a post, bemoaned pettiness being displayed in the conversation on what should be a serious issue of governance. Rather, he said Nigerians should take up Osinbajo on his statement that he is going to continue the (bad, anti-poor) policies of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration. 

Similarly, he said Nigerians should take up Tinubu on his declaration that he will continue to build on “Buhari’s legacy of escalated insecurity, hunger and starvation.” 

A former managing director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) and renowned journalist, Bayo Onanuga, affirmed his support for the presidential bid of Tinubu. He said in a statement on his Facebook page on Saturday that it was not true that he had pitched his tent with Osinbajo. Onanuga said the former Lagos State governor brought innovations into governance of the state during his eight years in power. 

“My attention has been drawn to some lies being circulated about me as having jumped the Bola Ahmed Tinubu train and being against his presidential ambition. I am fully in support of Bola Tinubu. I am not in PYO’s camp and will not be in his camp if Tinubu is running,” Onanuga said. 

“People who know me will attest to the fact that I am ever loyal to my friends, loyal to a political cause. I have been on the political left since 1978 when I joined Awolowo’s UPN as a UNILAG student. I am not a renegade. And I can vouch for Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi and Dele Alake as well. 

“The author of the rumour was merely writing conjectures on an issue that is unpredictable, a party’s primary election, where an outsider will only labour in vain in making permutations. 

“As far as I am concerned and let me say it loud and clear, I am in support of Bola Tinubu’s ambition. I am not against him. He is my first choice, the second choice and the third choice for the exalted seat. 

“Nigeria is in need of a visionary, a deep thinker, a man with the Midas touch, who can take our country on a journey of prosperity. This country has suffered enough and really needs a new leader who can breathe fresh air in it and change the way things are done. 

“Nigeria needs a man of ideas, who will not just talk his way, but really get things done. I have no doubt that Bola Tinubu is capable of this, which is why I support his campaign to lead Nigeria.” On his part, a former public relations officer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State, Dr Azeez Olatunde, said the entry of Vice-Presi- dent Osinbajo into the presidential race will deepen the choice of the party members and afford the party an opportunity to get its best standard-bearer. 

Olatunde said Osinbajo’s declaration to try his luck in the presidency is a welcome development for the progressives family and the nation which deserves the best. 

Olatunde said he does not expect the national leader of the APC to object to the challenge posed by Osinbajo and others who have thrown their hat into the ring.

No comments

Powered by Blogger.