More facts have continued to emerge since Chief Bisi Akande, former Governor of Osun State and first interim national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) launched his book in Lagos last weekend.
The disclosures concerning how Prof. Yemi Osinbajo became running mate to then General Mohammadu Buhari deserves more interrogation. The fact has now shown that Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun, Ogbeni Abdurauf Aregbesola, and a few others played critical roles in the emergence of Osinbajo as Vice President. Also, it is now known that former Governor of Lagos, Sen. Bola Ahmed Tinubu who many believed singly made the Osinbajo Vice presidency happen initially opposed the nomination of Osinbajo.
We now know that Tinubu also nursed a grouse against Osinbajo for opposing from the beginning the idea of a Muslim-Muslim ticket for APC. Tinubu wanted Osinbajo to pay the same price that Saraki, Amosun, and a few others are still paying for taking the path of religious harmony, inclusiveness, equity, justice, and political balance in the polity.
It is also now in public space that after stalling the nomination of a running mate for days, it was at the last minute when it became clear to him and his group that Buhari was bent on not including Tinubu on the ticket and would go ahead to pick a running mate from a list including Osinbajo, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, that Aregbesola prodded Tinubu to reluctantly agree to Osinbajo. From that point, Aregbesola and Amosun took over the matter until Osinbajo filled and signed the nomination forms.
From this incontrovertible narrative, many old, manipulative spins that have endured since 2015 have started collapsing. One of such now doubtful spins is that Tinubu willingly nominated Osinbajo to replace him on the Buhari ticket once it became obvious that the previous arrangement or agreement “to partner” with Buhari was not acceptable to the General. Again, some pro-Buhari elements are dismissing the claims that Buhari ever promised that Tinubu would be on his ticket in 2015. The Buhari boys are claiming that what Buhari told Tinubu was that they should “partner together” to chase PDP out of power in 2015. The partnership, they contended, was for North-west and South-west, CPC and ACN as well as Buhari with his political group and Tinubu alongside his political platform to work together.
Now the post-Akande’s book revelations have put a lie to the claim that Saraki ever worked against Osinbajo being selected as Buhari’s running mate. Rather, Saraki perhaps played a key role in dissuading the party from alienating the Christians or igniting religious crisis with a Muslim-Muslim ticket. And it is the reason why Asiwaju would do anything to undermine and antagonize the former Senate President. Saraki also was a member of the team that shortlisted Osinbajo for Buhari’s consideration.
We can also now see that from the beginning, there was a grand design to ensure Buhari never enjoyed a good relationship with the legislature. The role Tinubu played from the beginning on the issue of the emergence of the National Assembly leadership in 2015 should now be better and properly x-rayed. First, in the same way, he insisted Osinbajo should not benefit from his refusal to support the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket, he told Saraki the same thing when he later sought his support for the Senate Presidency post.
He then began the plot to seize control of the National Assembly by putting up candidates for almost all the presiding and principal officers’ posts. At every point, he saw that his candidates could not win against the opposition, he would change them and make difficult alliances. On June 9, 2015, the day of the election of the National Assembly leadership, Tinubu single-handedly tricked the then Inspector General of Police to shut down the gate to the complex to control which members-elect would go in or not. In the end, all his schemes failed, and Saraki, the man he wanted badly to settle scores with won.
He moved into another phase of his scheme. Setting the executive against the National Assembly leadership. It is his manipulations that ensured that Saraki who was a right-hand man to Buhari all through the electioneering campaign period instantly was viewed as an enemy after he emerged as Senate President. Thus, instead of the nation benefitting from a competent National Assembly leadership that would have complemented the executive to develop the country, the machination of a man for his interest masked as national interest kept the two arms of government-wide apart.
Tinubu did not care if the APC government achieved its promises to the people. He kept on fueling division between the legislature and the executive and between individuals on both sides. The present disclosures in the aftermath of the Akande’s book launch should get going the conversation on the role played by Tinubu and other individuals in creating tension where there should not be. When you talk of power mongers pitching one group against the other to sustain their relevance and advantages, here you have one.
Nigerians need to further understand how people present narrow parochial interest and disguise it as national interest and how some people deliberately manipulate and mislead, even the Press to pursue personal agenda.
In all, I am happy that Chief Akande wrote the book, although the contents are now subject of deserved controversies with many believing the contents are also part of the designs to compel Buhari into supporting the ambition of the landlord of Bourdillon Palace. Let more books be published. Let the conversation around Akande’s book continue. Our democracy is getting mature.