Reasons why the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has been silent over speculations surrounding his 2023 presidential ambition has been revealed.
Osinbajo’s silence on the possibility of running for the Presidency was linked to his unflinching loyalty to the All Progressives Congress, APC, President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC National Leader, Bola Tinubu, a source from the Presidency told NEWSMEN.
The Vice President’s delay in declaring for the Presidency was also hinged on some powerful forces within the Presidency who feel he is becoming too powerful over some significant actions he took while he was acting president.
Recall that Osinbajo had implemented some policies that Nigerians accepted while Buhari travelled abroad on medical grounds.
On February 7 2017, while Buhari was in London, Osinbajo forwarded Walter Onnoghen’s name to the Senate for confirmation as the then substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).
Osinbajo’s decision was less than 24 hours to the expiration of Onnoghen’s three-month tenure as acting CJN.
Although it was Buhari who instructed him to send the name, there are reports that Osinbajo played a key role in persuading the president to act because of the race against time.
Also, Osinbajo had set up a committee to force down the prices of food items as then Acting President.
He expressed concern at some of the inflationary rates of food prices, noting that the task force will explore options to promote the availability and affordability of food items to Nigerians.
Osinbajo gave the panel an ultimatum of seven days to report back to the council on measures that should be taken to achieve the objective.
Our source said his actions in Buhari’s absence angered the powerful elements in the Presidency, who see him as becoming too powerful, thereby misinterpreting most of his moves.
Perceiving the situation around him, our source said, “the Vice president is cautious; hence his silence on some very controversial issues like Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB and Sunday Igboho.”
According to the source: “Osinbajo’s body language has never condemned IPOB and Igboho openly; all he does is to preach for Nigeria’s unity. All Osinbajo does to work on Nigeria’s economy, and the recent statistics by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics favours Osinbajo, and that is strategic. Most of Osinbajo’s powerful actions tend to be misinterpreted.
“Each time he takes a powerful decision, the Presidency feels he is becoming too powerful, so he’s cautious as he addresses issues on the periphery and he speaks on advisory grounds.
“On the case of Igboho, he is threading carefully not to step on toes and offend the president.”
Another source within the Presidency said should Osinbajo be given a free hand, there would be conflicts with President Muhammadu Buhari.
Osinabjo, according to the source, may have conflicts with Buhari in the areas of Fulani herders and bandits because he would be forceful on them.
He said: “Should Osinbajo be allowed to run the way he should, a lot of things will be in conflict with the president like the case of Fulani herdsmen and bandits. He may go forcefully against bandits and herdsmen, but he always treads carefully because of his loyalty to Buhari and Tinubu.”
Osinbajo’s decision to contest for the Presidency is also hinged on Tinubu’s decision to run, the source said.
“Even though Osinbajo remains the best APC choice from the Southwest, the body language of Tinubu appears to be a major factor in determining if he would declare or not. Osinbajo’s loyalty to superiority is unquestionable, hence he remains in the eye of the storm as the breeze blows across the country,” the source said.
Christian communities have faulted Osinbajo over his inability to speak against what they termed pogrom or genocide against the Christian communities.
However, it was revealed that the Vice President’s silence was due to his extreme loyalty to Buhari.
“This was due to extreme loyalty to APC, his boss; Tinubu who recommended him to be the then-Attorney General of Lagos State and later the Vice President after recommending him to Buhari,” the source said.
When NEWSMEN reached out to Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, for his comment, he referred our correspondent to his previous post where he declared that the Vice President has no presidential ambition.
“My previous statements on the subject matter refers,” Akande said in a chat requesting for his comment.