Vice President Yemi Osinbajo sparked a huge controversy at the weekend when he asked his kinsmen in the Southwest to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election bid next year.
He was quoted as saying that the re-election of the President for another four-year term will pave the way for the Southwest to vie for the presidency after the expiration of Buhari’s tenure.
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday accused Osinbajo of positioning himself to succeed Buhari in 2023, describing it as an ambition that can never materialise.
A source close to the Vice President dismissed it all as “amusing”.
The PDP also accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of promising to give the presidential slot to the Southwest and the Southeast in 2023.
It said Osinbajo’s position contradicted that of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha who, it said, assured the Southeast of the slot if the Igbo would vote Buhari next year.
In a statement, PDP spokesman Kola Ologbodiyan said the vice president’s 2023 presidential bid will end up a pipe dream
But the vice President cleared the air last night. He said he had no ambition to take a shot at the presidency in 2023 as alleged by the PDP.
A source close to Osinbajo said that the PDP and its foot soldiers were free to amuse themselves.
The source told The Nation: “Osinbajo has never focused on ambition but only passionately gets assignments given him done and done well. He is not talking of 2023 for himself at all.
“He has a leader and is known as a loyal person by all Nigerians. The PDP and its foot soldiers can, however, continue to amuse themselves and lie as they have always done.”
Ologbodiyan said that President Buhari, who Osinbajo is banking on for the 2023 ambition, will be defeated in the February 2019 election.
The PDP statement reads: “It’s laughable that Prof. Osinbajo is swimming in wishful thinking, even when it has become obvious that he and President Buhari will no longer have any political relevance after May 29, 2019.”
“Prof. Osinbajo thinks he can sweet-talk and cajole the people of the Southwest to shed their already established support for the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.”
“Our ambitious vice president in his political hallucination, has failed to realise that the Southwest is politically sophisticated and cannot fall for his gimmicks and self-serving venture.
“What should rather occupy Prof. Osinbajo’s mind, now that it is clear that he is leaving office in May, 2019, is how to answer for the (alleged) mindless looting of our patrimony, particularly the alleged looting of huge part of the funds meant for food and welfare of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Northeast, while he was Acting President in 2017.”
The chairman of the House of Representatives Committee that investigated the diversion of the IDP votes said the Osinbajo’s name was not included in the panel’s report.
The PDP also criticized the Tradermoni scheme as a way of diverting “funds in the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to finance the wasteful lifestyle of APC leaders and his benefactors.”
Many Nigerians have, however, lauded the Federal Government for introducing theTradermoni programme, which they see as a direct answer to poverty in the land. Under the programme, traders get at least N10,000 without any collateral.