There are apprehensions within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as support for Vice President Yemi Osinbajo gathers momentum.
While the party is yet to make any declaration as to where President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor will emerge, several names have been flying around and prominent among those names is that of Vice President Osinbajo.
A party source told Sunday Independent that the growing support for the vice president may put the party to task soon, considering the rumoured ambition of a leader of the party
“Giving the potential of both men and the speculated misunderstanding that has arisen in the past over political aspiration, the leaders would have a lot of work to do soon in order to avoid any form of crisis in the party, especially in the South-West,” he said.
Others believed to be eyeing the exalted seat include the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi; Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi; Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello; former Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun.
However, none of these individuals has come out to either deny or admit nursing the 2023 ambition.
However, of all the supposed contenders, the vice president seems to be getting the largest support from all corners.
Osinbajo’s campaign posters and billboards have continued to flood various parts of Abuja, with some of them bearing inscriptions such as: “Businessmen for Osinbajo – Let’s Get to Work”. “Businessmen for Osinbajo – Run, Osinbajo, Run! 2023.
On Wednesday, some businessmen in the six geopolitical zones called on Osinbajo to join the 2023 presidential race, describing him as “the missing link the business community in Nigeria needs at this moment”.
Convener, Businessmen for Osinbajo (BFO) and Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer of Portal Realties Ltd., Dr. Tayo Fashogbon, said in a statement that members had commenced plans to raise campaign funds to actualise their push for the Vice President to become Nigeria’s president in 2023.
Fashogbon sai d : “Osinbajo is a patriotic and detribalised Nigerian who will commit himself to work for everyone.
“He is the only one who holds such a promise among other Nigerians aspiring for the plum job. The imperative for a President who is totally devoid of sectional interests has never been so paramount.
“These are the reasons why more and more well-meaning Nigerians are coming out daily in their numbers to invest in ‘Project Osinbajo
This is also why the first-time businessmen in the country have decided not to leave politics to politicians alone but are ready to be fully involved in the political destiny of our country.”
Fashogbon said BFO was working with the mandate of millions of Nigerian businessmen who believe in the quality of leadership Osinbajo would bring to bear if Nigerians entrusted him with their mandates
It would be recalled that former military president, Ibrahim Babangida, recently described the vice president as the best person to lead Nigeria in 2023.
Babangida, who expressed the view while receiving the Osibanjo Grassroots Organisation at his Hill Top residence in Minna, urged Osinbajo to remain focused and resilient.
The former military leader told the group that he accepted to speak to the members because of the person of the vice president and because of his conviction that Osinbajo had what it would take to lead the country
Speaking on why the vice president should succeed Buhari, a member of the House of Representatives representing Tarauni Federal Constituency in Kano State, Hon Hafiz Kawu, described Osibanjo as the “natural successor to President Buhari” in 2023.
Kawu, who spoke with our Correspondent, said the vice president had what it would take to succeed Buhari, owing to his “experience and versatility in managing an entity”.
He said even though he (Osinbajo) had not yet declared his intention to contest for the presidency, “he is the most suitable person to succeed Buhari. He has the capacity, experience, and capability to lead Nigeria over every other aspirant in the APC
When asked about the presidential ambition of the national leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu, Kawu said: “Tinubu has not declared his presidential ambition. Even if he declares, the party knows how to sort it out.”
Simi larly, Daniel Shawulu, Chairman of Arewa Consensus Assembly, a northern group, on Thursday, endorsed the vice president as the right candidate to succeed President Buhari.
The decision, according to Shawulu, is based on his competence and knowledge of the current socio-economic and security challenges confronting the country
We admit that the acceptable next President of Nigeria must have an appeal that crosses ethnic, religious and demographic lines, especially the youths, considering the most recent history and trajectory of Nigeria,” he said.