2023 Presidency: Osinbajo, Tinubu May Likely Part Ways

LAGOS OCTOBER 18TH (NEWSRANGERS)-Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, have come a long way together and worked at close quarters for common purposes to warrant any suggestion of conflict or battle for supremacy between them.

From their public aspirations, it is obvious they still share the same goals devoted to impacting the lives of their countrymen positively as they started out in the administration of Lagos State more than half a decade ago, when the VP served as Attorney General of the State and Commissioner for Justice and continued to offer legal and constitutional advice until his new role at the presidency upgraded his schedule to the national level.

Recent developments, however, show that though they still share the same goals, they may be differing on the platform to achieve them and thereby give the impression that they are at each other’s throat.

For Osinbajo, the journey to that point of departure from his political mentor and Lagos strongman started at his birthday in March 2020 when, according to Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State, who said he was asked by the APC Progressives Governors Forum to deliver an address on their behalf.

Abdullahi, who spoke on the need for the party to consolidate on its achievements after President Muhammadu Buhari leaves office, just managed to leave a hint that the VP’s feet may fit the presidential shoes when the time comes.

Shortly thereafter, a group that improved on Abdullahi’s birthday hint emerged. Called Progressive Coalition Group (PCG), it’s sole purpose is political: To campaign for Osinbajo to become president in 2023.

Osinbajo has not expressed his interest in running for political office in 2023 nor has he rejected the group.

In fact, on September 20, 2021, the group launched its ambition in a big way. It paid a visit to the same Governor Sule at Government House in Lafia, capital of Nasarawa State. While receiving the group, Sule restated his earlier position that Osinbajo has all it takes to run and win the 2023 presidential election.

The group, which also visited the Nasarawa State House of Assembly and the Palace of the Emir of Lafia and Chairman of the Nasarawa State Council of Traditional Rulers, Justice Sidi Bage (retd}, to solicit support for Osinbajo as Buhari’s successor, was led by its National Chairman, Rabiu Aliyu Kurfi.

Sule told the group, “Not every product is sellable, but Vice President Osinbajo is a sellable product. You are speaking about continuation, which is what we believe here in Nasarawa State. You have been speaking about consolidation and we know the challenges of consolidation and continuation of our party. This is a political party that is lucky or unlucky to be built around one man. And for us, the progressive governors are seeing at how we sustain the party beyond the one man.

“Then you want more details to be talking about Prof Osinbajo, a man of God, professional lawyer, family man; a man that I have come to respect because I was even given the opportunity to speak on his last birthday on behalf of the governors.”

Continuing, Sule claimed he knew the vice president very well and had come to respect him.

“We have the opportunity of having a gentleman that is a total party person loyal to Mr President. And I believe you are selling him earlier than he is selling himself, which is the way it is supposed to be,” he added.

Almost a month later, on October 10, the PCG moved a notch higher in imaging and messaging. It secured the recognition of the leadership of the ruling party.

In a move that will stir some political dust, the APC gave recognition to the Progressives Consolidation Group, canvassing support for Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to emerge as presidential candidate in 2023.

The APC national secretariat approved the group in a letter signed by its Director of Administration, Alhaji Abubakar Suleiman.

In the letter to the group, Suleiman said the approval had the blessing of the National Chairman of the party’s Caretaker Committee, Governor Mai Mala Buni.

“We write to inform you that the National Chairman, His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni, has approved your recognition as a support group of the party,” Suleiman wrote, according to a news report.

It was the first support group to be accorded such recognition by the party in this election cycle. In 2015, another group, The National Youth Assembly was recognised by APC National Headquarters. This may signal a plan by the party top guns to shut out other contestants in the race.


Pressing its advantage after getting the party’s endorsement, the group immediately took its campaign to the South-West.  That was on October 10, 2021 when members of the group met with the leader of the South-West caucus of the Coalition of APC Support Groups working for the actualisation of the ruling party’s mandates in Nigeria, Comrade Yahaya Majeed, and welcomed him into their fold. He expressed the hope that the group “will promote and add value to already existing progressive philosophy of the umbrella body of registered and recognised APC Support Group by the National Headquarters of our great party, the APC,”

The Coalition of APC Support Group is the national umbrella of all registered and recognised support groups by the APC National Headquarters.

This move was too close to comfort, according to a source within the South-West Agenda for Asiwaju (SWAGA). He said, on the condition of anonymity, that the recognition conferred on the group by the National Secretariat of the party shows, “they can no longer hide their opposition to the National Leader.”

He disclosed that coming a few days after the group was successfully launched in Lagos on Thursday, October 7 and two days after Tinubu arrived the country from a three-month UK medical trip, was doubly “inciting.”

Attempts to reach Senator Dayo Adeyeye, National Coordinator of SWAGA, who inaugurated the group in the South-West states of Osun, Ondo, Ogun, Oyo and Ekiti, with Oyo as capital, failed as he did not acknowledge repeated calls made to his phone.

A chieftain of SWAGA in Lagos State, Senator Adeseye Ogunleye, also failed to answer a call to his phone.


The parting of ways over the presidential bid of Osinbajo and Tinubu is being fuelled by the current dynamics within the party, THEWILL can authoritatively reveal.

With the rising clamour for a southern President in 2023 and the prevailing insecurity in the South-East, the South-West aspirants appear to have an early start ahead of the Igbos in the South-South and South-East but that could change when these aspirants launch their support groups and intensify their campaign.

Already the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, THEWILL learnt, may soon adopt the heard-all-keep-mum style of Tinubu and Osinbajo in their attitude toward campaign groups championing their ambition. Support groups are said to be getting ready to launch their public appearance in support of his ambition. In the same fashion, former Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun and Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State are said to be ready to unveil their interest in the presidency soon.

As the journey towards the 2023 general election gets nearer, these events unfolding daily are bringing in a lot of permutations. Unless something really dramatic happens, what is clear is that the Vice President will lock horns with his former boss and political godfather, Tinubu, in the race to Aso Rock in 2023.

A source close to Tinubu confided in this newspaper that the absence of the VP at the reception hosted in honour of the man popularly called ‘Jagaban’, following his return from a three-month medical trip to the United Kingdom, was in bad taste.

“He did not pay him a visit in London and failed to attend the welcome party hosted by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu. If the UK was too far, Lagos was too near,” the source told THEWILL, craving anonymity.

Indeed, what made the VP’s absence on both occasions look like an unkind political cut was  that for the three months that Tinubu stayed in the UK recuperating from a surgery, the VP, alongside other former Tinubu loyalists, now classified as ‘Abuja politicians’, to indicate their break with the former Lagos governor over the race to 2023, namely Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola and the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, were noticeably not among dozens of party chieftains, supporters and loyalists who visited him.

Media aide to Osinbajo, Laolu Akande, could not be reached for comments because he refused to pick many calls made to his phone. National Secretary of the APC, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, asked for a message request but declined to revert to THEWILL.

Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, in a statement thinks reports and views on the issue are attempts to cause conflict between Tinubu and Osinbajo in the forthcoming 2023 presidential election, which he said “will fail.”

Ojudu, who is a Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Office of the Vice-President, said Osinbajo and Tinubu are members of the ruling party and both men welcome politics without bitterness and divisiveness.

He also inferred that there is no conflict of political interests between the two politicians.

The statement titled, ‘2023 Presidential Election: No to divisive politics. Attempts to foist a crack between Osinbajo and Tinubu will fail’, read in part;

“It is incumbent on me to state emphatically that neither the Vice President nor his office is aware of this or endorse this kind of a divisive engagement and news reports. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo are members of the same party. Osinbajo regards Tinubu as a respected leader of a political family to which he belongs and will therefore not for any reason endorse an endeavour that seeks to pitch them against each other.

“We are not unaware of some people who may want to foist a crack among our leaders. Such an attempt is abortive. Osinbajo and Tinubu’s relationship dates way back and it shall continue to wax strong.

“Let me, therefore, call on individuals and media houses engaged in this act to desist from doing so. The APC remains one single, indivisible party and Osinbajo remains a loyal member of the party who respects both the party structure as well as its leadership.

“Moreover, the Independent National Electoral Commission has not given its approval to politicking towards 2023. As a law-abiding citizen, Osinbajo will not commence any act in this regard until the Commission blows the whistle. In any case, the VP has not indicated interest in the 2023 elections.’’

Ojudu however acknowledged the obvious, saying, “While appreciating individuals who are clamouring for him (Osinbajo) to contest, we however want to plead that they should not draw him or allow themselves into an unnecessary and precipitous controversy.”

Ojudu also welcomed Tinubu back to Nigeria after a three-month medical trip to the United Kingdom, wishing him “good health, long life and prosperity.”

As Tinubu arrived in the country, penultimate weekend, two days after his support group, SWAGA, was also launched with fanfare in Lagos, the pro – Osinbajo group, Progressive Consolidation Group, has also intensified its campaign towards dragging Osinbajo into the race.

Political analysts believe the only obstacle against the group working

full throttle for an Osinbajo presidency is the Vice President himself.

Osinbajo like other perceived Igbo aspirants is yet to formally declare interest in the job and has in the past denounced all attempts to drag his name into the race.

A spokesman for the support group acknowledged the obstacle and the group has appealed to the Vice President to yield to the public demand to declare his interest in the election.

According to Kurfi, “The continuity of the good values already set by APC, especially by the President by himself, if political mentoring is anything to go by and I think it should, then political mentoring of President Buhari has already got a scion in Osinbajo. That if political continuity should be the prevalent thing, then obviously by getting Osinbajo, Nigeria will be better for it.”

A source within the APC said it was not a coincidence that it was the week that Tinubu returned to the country from UK, that the campaign for Osinbajo also got a huge boost.

The source, who pleaded anonymity, said many members of the APC’s top hierarchy in the North are currently routing for Osinbajo and they are mounting pressure on President Buhari to back him for the top job, come 2023.

“Those top northerners that are routing for Osinbajo are citing his loyalty to President Buhari and they feel the only way to pay him back is to ensure that he succeeds his principal and continue the good work already started”, the source told THEWILL.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, has also boosted the morale of those backing Osinbajo for presidency when he described Osinbajo as ‘an honest man.”

“Whatever he tells you, please take it seriously. You can even take it to the bank, as it is a cheque that will never bounce”, Adesina said of Osinbajo.


Osinbajo, who was the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Lagos under Tinubu and who Tinubu ensured emerged as Buhari’s running mate in 2015 when many party leaders told him that he should shelve his ambition to become the Vice President because of the controversy a Muslim-Muslim ticket could cause, as at the time of filing this report late Friday had not seen Tinubu nor paid him a solidarity visit.

Penultimate Sunday, Tinubu reunited with his political associates and protégés at a welcome-back event and prayer hosted by Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, at the State House in Marina.

Those who attended the event were Governor Sanwo-Olu and his Deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat and Chief of Staff, Mr Tayo Ayinde. The event was attended by all elected office holders and political appointees in Lagos, including the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, and Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa.

Members of the State Executive Council, Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC) and council chairmen were present as well as Senator Olamilekan Adeola, but Osinbajo was conspicuously absent.


Since he disclosed in a recent TV interview that he would allow the party to determine his successor, President Buhari has kept silent about any talk of a likely future successor, betraying neither emotion nor giving any sign. This diplomatic posture has continued to keep the leaders of the party guessing and pursuing their ambition discreetly.


Although both Osinbajo and Tinubu are yet to publicly declare their interest in the 2023 presidential race though THEWILL can authoritatively report that they have indicated their interest privately to their close associates and their body language is suggestive that they are aspiring for the country’s topmost job.

As it becomes increasingly clear that the South may become the battleground for the contest to choose Buhari’s successor in 2023 at least in the ruling APC, the shadow groups fronting for the VP and Tinubu may determine who blinks first.


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Posted by on Oct 18 2021. Filed under Features, National. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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