By Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN
In the first part of this piece, there was an x-ray of potential candidates for the different political parties ahead of the 2023 presidential election, focusing on His Excellency Mr. Peter Obi, Comrade Omoyele Sowore, His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and His Excellency, Professor Yemi Osinbajo. In the eye of the 1999 Constitution, the concept of loyalty to an individual is non-existent; thus, the issue of loyalty from Osinbajo to Tinubu is totally misplaced and indeed a misnormer. The loyalty demanded of the office of the Vice-President is to the Constitution and by necessary extension to the people of Nigeria. In the scheme of things, once a member of the Tinubu political school has openly declared his interest as the Vice-President has done, the role of Tinubu himself should be that of open endorsement and not opposition. It will do so much damage to that school and to Tinubu himself should he enter into an open contest in a primary election with the Vice-President. From the day he was elected, Osinbajo became the leader of the APC in the South-West and the onus of loyalty should fall upon Tinubu himself, not the other way round. Unless Osinbajo has committed some grievous errors against the party during his tenure as Vice-President, it would be a total disservice to deny him the presidential slot on account of the life ambition of Tinubu to be president. That ambition became subject to the office of the Vice-President, from the day of his election in 2015 and re-election in 2019, in the absence of any written undertaking against it. The challenge here is for Tinubu to develop his political school beyond and above his own personality, since he cannot live forever. Otherwise, the school will not outlive him, as it will die a natural death, since it has always been about the personal ambition of just one person.
In my own humble opinion, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has shown exceptional loyalty to the President even in the most trying times and in the face of the greatest challenges. If the APC puts its house in order in choosing its presidential candidate, I see a good contest between Mr. Peter Obi of the PDP and Professor Yemi Osinbajo of the APC. It is true that Osinbajo is a Pastor and a committed Christian, which should count in his favour. Contrary to some write ups which tend to tag him in negative religious garb, Osinbajo was the sitting Vice-President when a female pastor of his church was hacked down and gruesomely murdered in Abuja while she was on her daily evangelism. The heavens did not fall and I remember vividly that Osinbajo and his wife visited the family and used the occasion to preach love and tolerance. There was no reprisal attack from either Osinbajo’s church or the body of Christ nationwide. Admirably, the church was able to manage the issue with commendable maturity. That cannot happen were the Vice-President to be a religious fanatic. I have also looked through the profile of his appointments to see that he has religious balance, gender equality and national spread in the list of his official and personal staff. Whatever may be the plan, posterity awaits the open endorsement of Osinbajo by Tinubu. He should actually buy his nomination form and hand it over to him openly as a sign of that endorsement. There should be no debate about this at all.
His Excellency Mr Rotimi Amaechi started his political journey with His Excellency Chief Peter Odili, he rose to the position of Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly and later Governor of Rivers State for eight years. He has served as the Honourable Minister of Transport since 2015 when the Buhari administration came on board. I personally believe that he has done well but the South-South having recently produced the President through His Excellency Mr. Goodluck Jonathan, that zone should have the grace to accommodate another zone for that office. The power base of the APC has been the North and the South-West and since the North has had its shot, it is proper to allow the South-West take the benefit of its commitment and support for the party in the coming election. This is in relation to the APC, as it was clearly stated last week that the PDP should automatically zone its ticket to the South-East.
Let me share with you some other perspectives expressed by other patriots in reaction to the first piece published last week.
Thank you sir for this wonderful piece. For me South-East shouldn’t be denied the opportunity to rule Nigeria. Peter Obi that I know has all it takes to rescue Nigeria from the present calamitous situation the nation finds itself as a result of bad governance.
Big Sam, I disagree with the way you painted Tinubu as the person that raised your senior colleague in the legal profession and a Professor of law who I know cuts his political administration skills while working with Prince Bola Ajibola, SAN, as Special Assistant to the Minister of Justice as he was then. Professor Osinbajo, SAN, worked with Bola Tinubu as Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General in Lagos State bringing his wealth of experience to the job. He already knew what he wanted to do with that office on his appointment and never took the administration of justice skills in Lagos State from Tinubu who is not a legal mind, anyway. I hate the notion that if I work under your leadership, you have become my boss, as we work together as a team and not as an apprentice. I also want to debunk the insinuation that he made Osinbajo to become Vice-President to Buhari, from all the accounts that I have read, this was far from the truth.
On the issue of zoning, I don’t see it the way you saw it. I strongly believe that zoning will never help the course of one Nigeria as we are defining it. Zoning will do more harm than the good we all long for. If we don’t stop this issue of zoning now, it will become a bigger problem in the near future for us to handle. We claim to be practicing democracy but we are doing just the opposite. If PDP fields a South-East candidate for the coming election and Nigerian electorates reject him and vote for an APC candidate who is not from South-East, what happens thereafter. If a South-East candidate wins, either as a member of APC or PDP, what happens after his eight year tenure, where will the next President come from? It will get to a point in our country when Ilaje people in Ondo State will demand that it is their turn to produce Nigeria’s president. Our concern today should be to have a pan Nigerian president from anywhere in Nigeria that will see Nigeria as his constituency and not necessarily where or which region he belongs since we are not ready to decentralize our governance in such a way that the center will no longer be attractive for anyone to be nursing his life ambition to be there.
I read this piece with rapt attention, and I felt the writer had done political justice to some political voids in this country’s history, given his position on the South-South divide. In addition, he corrected some incorrect assumptions about Comrade Omoyele Sowore’s ability to rule this nation, in contrast to some who ask what position Sowore has held in the Nigerian government. Howbeit, I beg to differ with some of the conclusions, which appear to be a point of discouraging a leader who has been building ambition and also human at the same time, and when the time comes to make his ambition realistic, a follower whom he has built tries to impediment him by showing interest in the same ambition. Humanly speaking sir, would you be pleased if any of your trained lawyers showed interest in a position you want to run for at the same time, say, NBA president, in your chamber?
Olamiposi Justus Omoriba
Who is the best to take the mantle of leadership after Buhari? I may be wrong to be categorical but out of many options, I will consider Omoyele Sowore, at this point in Nigeria, there is a need for total paradigm shift of governance, especially the one that considers the universal law of human rights and the rule of law. Sowore seems to be in tune with this than the rest. Only an environment with good justice system breeds adequate security and economic prosperity.
Confidence Emmanuel Owosanni
Learned Silk Sir, I love the fact that you invoked what I call “The Swiss intuition” coupled with a high rate of unpredictability in demystifying/canvassing the issue of choice candidacy! You’re critical with engaging euphemistic words so as to avoid any form of surfaced derogatory remark got my most attention to re-read this piece. I’m wowed! God sparing your soul, I’ll make you a special adviser to the…on… when I become the head honcho of this great country.
Bestman O Besty
If we are to apply the PDP zoning arrangement, automatically it is the turn of the North to rule under PDP, sentiment and emotion aside, in 16 years of PDP in power the North only ruled for 2 years why the south 14 years, it’s naturally fair for PDP to adhere to their zoning arrangement by zoning it to the North for equity and fairness. Buhari is not a product of PDP.
Profound insight. But my money is on Wike as a radical game changer. If he gets there, I believe he has the courage to demand and get true federalism, overhaul and change the evil 1999 Constitution and give back the resources of each State back to them. We need someone bold and audacious at this time in our history.
Good morning my mentor and very senior. I have said it in different platforms and places that if we desire a working Nigeria that all her citizens will be proud of then H.E. Peter Obi still remains the best candidate and we are all aware of this fact. I just think we should take our destinies in our hands by doing everything humanly possible to retire these sets of economic and political vampires. God help Nigeria.”
I am well aware of the brewing controversy concerning the eligibility or otherwise of the former President, His Excellency Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and the case of Dr. Kingsely Moghalu but since neither of them has indicated their interests openly, it is best for now, to confine the discourse to those who have made open declarations. Now, presidential elections should not be about individuals but rather programmes, policies and the manifesto of the platform upon which the candidates seek to run for election. The case with Nigeria is so unique that none of the political parties can be identified with any specific ideology beyond capturing power for the sake of it. The legacy that Mr. Peter Obi, Comrade Omoyele Sowore and Professor Yemi Osinbajo will leave for our nation is to conduct their campaigns on the basis of sound ideologies, documented programmes and enduring policies that will translate to rapid development for our nation and for all our people. This is my perspective for 2023. Happy Eid El-Fitr.