A former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, has revealed how former President Olusegun Obasanjo truncated the ambition of the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to become the running mate to Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), who was the APC presidential candidate in 2015.
Oyinlola explained that even though Obasanjo was the last person to throw his weight behind Buhari’s candidature, having opposed the re-election of the then President, Goodluck Jonathan, he was eventually prevailed upon to support the former military ruler.
In an interview with one of our correspondents, Oyinlola, who was once the military administrator of Lagos State, pointed out that there was already an agreement between Buhari and Tinubu before 2015 that they would be presidential and vice-presidential candidates respectively, a deal he said was initially hidden from most party members.
This development, according to him, led to some uneasiness in the party as they feared that a Muslim-Muslim ticket could cost the APC victory in the election, given the near-equal population of Christians and Muslims in the country and the sensitivity that surrounds religion issues in the country.
Prior to the 2015 elections, political parties always ensured their presidential candidates and their running mates emerged from the two dominant religions, with the only exception being the MKO Abiola/Babagana Kingibe candidacy on the platform of the Social Democratic Party in the June 12, 1993 election.
Even though Abiola and Kingibe, who were the presidential candidate and running mate respectively, eventually won the election, it is regarded as a one-off scenario. The election was later annulled by the regime of the then dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida.
Meanwhile, speaking further, Oyinlola explained that if not for Obasanjo’s intervention, the APC would likely have gone ahead with the Muslim-Muslim ticket and the party could have found it difficult to displace the government in power, especially when all reservations that surfaced over the proposed Muslim-Muslim ticket had been dismissed.
He added, “The agreement was concealed from a good number of the party leaders until it surfaced after Buhari had got the ticket. Then the rumour came out and some us felt danger was looming with the idea of Muslim-Muslim ticket. To further add to our fears, General Buhari on one occasion said there was nothing wrong in the Muslim-Muslim presidential arrangement, saying after all he governed with Tunde Idiagbon.
“That statement made us to know it (the Muslim-Muslim idea) was a fact. On two occasions, Bola (Tinubu) mentioned it in my presence that they agreed. If you recall one trending video back then, where it was said that Buhari had jettisoned what they agreed on, that is the room he was sleeping when Buhari was looking for the post.
“We then told Baba (Obasanjo). We told him that taking power from an incumbent government was a tough task and we must not give room for excuse and miss the target. We told him they (Buhari and Tinubu) were thinking of a Muslim-Muslim ticket. That was when Baba (Obasanjo) said people should not take the sensibilities of Nigerians for granted.”
He said after Obasanjo’s intervention succeeded in changing the decision, some people started spreading the news that Obasanjo frustrated the plan to make Tinubu the vice-presidential candidate.
He added, “After that (Obasanjo’s intervention), they started saying it in my presence that Obasanjo frustrated the plan to get Tinubu on the ticket for 2015 but I always acted as if I didn’t hear them. We then had a stakeholders meeting where the issue of the running mate was discussed again.”
Oyinlola said a former governor of Gombe State, Danjuma Goje, also cautioned against the Muslim-Muslim ticket, especially because the party needed all the votes it could get from different parts of the country.
He added, “At the meeting, ex-governor Goje, rose up and said in the northern part, there is negligible number of Christians. He said the APC would need every vote to upstage the incumbent, so nobody should toy with the idea of a Muslim-Muslim ticket and everybody concurred. I think it was even Bola (Tinubu) that suggested that the matter should be taken before some leaders to resolve. But we never saw anything like that again.”
Meanwhile, Tinubu had said at the 7th annual Bola Tinubu colloquium at Eko Hotel in Lagos on March 25, 2015, two days before the election, that he pulled out of the contest.
He had said, “They attacked General Buhari, saying he would not subject himself to a primary. He did and won it as our party held the most open and transparently honest convention ever held in Nigeria. They said I connived and conspired my way into the VP seat. They lied so easily that it was the price I extracted from General Buhari to support his bid. If not, I would destroy the party on the altar of my ambitions.
presidential election, Obasanjo was not disposed to supporting Buhari’s candidacy due to the issue of performance.
He, however, revealed that it took a delegation of prominent chieftains of the APC to visit the former President in his Ota home in Abeokuta, Ogun State, to appeal to him to support Buhari.
He identified the chieftains to include himself, former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki; a former Governor of Lagos State, BolaTinubu and a former Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, who is a known ally of Buhari.
Oyinlola explained that even though Obasanjo was open to supporting anyone but Jonathan, having written him a letter to express his disappointment in his administration, he wasn’t convinced Buhari would be able to deliver, which influenced his reluctance.
Oyinlola said, “The last person to accept Buhari’s candidature was Obasanjo and I say that one with every emphasis because I was involved. Yes, Baba (Obasanjo) had fallen out with Jonathan. His projection then was ‘any option but Jonathan’. That was his stand.
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“Taking a look at those candidates from other parties, there was no other person we felt could handle the delicate governance of Nigeria better than Buhari among the contenders that time. That was why the choice of Buhari became the order.
“That, coupled with the fact that he had been at the helm of affairs in the country before under the military, so he has that edge over all others. But Baba (Obasanjo) was the last to subscribe to the idea. I can tell you that it took a team of Saraki, Amosun, Bola Tinubu, Kashim, Imam and myself, that went and bombarded Baba (Obasanjo) at Ota around 7am before he succumbed to our pressure.
“That day, he said Buhari that he knew would try in the area of military matters, but outside that, Buhari knows next to nothing; not economy, not foreign affairs and he has been proven right.”
Buhari had on January 13, during the run-up to the 2015 presidential election, led over 30 chieftains of the APC to Obasanjo’s Abeokuta home.
Some of the chieftains who accompanied Buhari include Amosun, Prof Yemi Osinbajo (now Vice-President), Tinubu, the then APC chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Senator Bukola Saraki and the pioneer interim National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande.
Others are Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora (now Minister of State for Health), Otunba Niyi Adebayo (now Minister of Trade and Investment) and Sharon Ikeazor (now Minister of State for Environment).
Buhari who spoke at the meeting, described Obasanjo as a true leader who understood the problems of Nigeria. He also thanked the former President for appointing him as Minister of Petroleum which was his best appointment ever (as of then). He also begged Obasanjo to endorse him.
Buhari said, “Your Excellency, under whom I served the most lucrative appointment of the Minister of Petroleum Resources for three and a quarter years before he sent me on course. When I set about the programme of going round the states, somebody has the temerity to ask me that when I come to Ogun State, shall I call on Chief Olusegun Obasanjo?
“I don’t think I answered the man, I just looked the other way. I think that I should not come here (Abeokuta) in whatever capacity without calling to pay my respect. Sir, it’s a fact that you know more than all we know about the problem that we are in. But what we will do is Nigerians try to convince you to believe us that we are going to do better.
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“We expect your understanding and support, although you insist in remaining in PDP. I have reached a certain degree of frustration in my attempt for you to try to shift a bit but you have refused.”
Obasanjo later endorsed Buhari, and on February 16, 2015, he tore his PDP membership cards to shreds.
The former President, who had on December 11, 2013, written to Jonathan to express his disappointment in his administration, saying Nigeria was bleeding under him, later wrote Buhari twice, accusing him of ineptitude.
In his second letter, Obasanjo also advised Buhari against seeking re-election. “Nigeria is on the precipice and dangerously reaching a tipping point where it may no longer be possible to hold danger at bay,” Obasanjo said in one of the letters.
…knocks APC for reneging on restructuring Nigeria
Meanwhile, Oyinlola also revealed that he had regrets supporting Buhari. He noted that he realised the party deceived Nigerians with its restructuring agenda, saying this informed why he resigned as the chairman of the National Identity Management Commission on May 9, 2018.
He said, “In fact, the whole world has regret now. You see when he appointed me as the chairman of National Identity Management Commission on a part-time level, I didn’t feel that was what should be my take, given the efforts put in. But if you want to serve, you must be ready to serve in any position.
“I was not looking for money to build house or send anybody to school. That was why I accepted it. I quit that position when what we have discussed (what we made the manifesto of our party) was being denied, and that is restructuring.
“When Mr President said he does not know the meaning of restructuring and I know I was in all the moves with Afenifere and the South-West before his election. The principal reason these people (South-West) bought into the project was because of restructuring, only for Mr President to say he doesn’t know the meaning of restructuring again. I felt deceived and to show it, that was why I told him that he could keep his appointment.”
When asked if his defection from the PDP to APC and now back to the PDP was not a sign of inconsistency, Oyinlola said, “If you look at the circumstances that made me move, it cannot be considered inconsistency. I did not do anything wrong, they moved against me in the PDP and removed me. I went and joined the APC. What we agreed to do, which was restructuring, they reneged and I said I couldn’t be in the same party with such people.
“Restructuring was the major thing we sold to the South-West that made people to key into Buhari’s project. So, when Buhari said he does not know the meaning of restructuring, then I threw in my paper, I can’t be a chairman under you.”
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APC not missing ex-Osun gov, says APC
Meanwhile, in its reaction to Oyinlola’s statement that APC deceived Nigerians with its restructuring agenda, spokesperson for the ruling party, Yekini Nabena, who refused to address the issue, said Oyinlola left the party because he could not get what he was looking for.
He told one of our correspondents on the telephone, “Gone are the days when people think because they once held an office they are coming to a system and they want to take over the system. Gone are those days.
“He came into the APC and didn’t get what he was looking for and he left the party. What is the population of Osun State that they gave the party in the first place? If he is talking, he should talk for himself and not for other people. Others are happy with Mr President.
“So, if he is not happy based on his selfish interest, let it be. His (being) out of the party did not show any significance. Nobody is missing him. If you didn’t mention his name now, I never knew he was in the APC. He is very inconsequential
ICPC arraigns two FRSC officers for extorting motorists
The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission has arraigned two officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps over alleged extortion of motorists.
The two officials, John Asegu and Otom Asueni, were brought before Honourable Justice H. Aprioku of the Rivers State High Court 11 sitting in Port Harcourt on two-count of extortion and gratification.
ICPC, according to a statement on Monday, told the court how the duo forcibly collected various sums of money totaling N3,500 from motorists as a “fee“ to allow the motorists pass their checkpoint along Port Harcourt-Ahoada expressway, even without being charged for any traffic offence.
The Commission also accused the defendants of using their position as public officers to confer undue advantage upon themselves by soliciting for, and accepting gratification. The defendants were arrested on the act after ICPC mounted a sting operation on them following intelligence
ICPC in a Charge No: PHC/3905ICPC/19 averred that the duo’s actions were contrary to and punishable under sections 8, 19, and 26 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, and if they are found guilty they shall on conviction, be liable to imprisonment for seven years without option of fine.
The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted them bail.
They were, however, remanded in prison because of their inability to meet up with the bail conditions.
The case was adjourned to the 26th of March, 2021 for commencement of trial.
NECO RESULT RELEASE
RIVERS STATE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
The Rivers State Ministry of Education informs School Owners, Administrators, Parents and Guardians that the results of the 2020 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) have been released.
The Ministry enjoins all candidates who sat for the examination to visit their schools for collection.
The Ministry states that:
HENCEFORTH, Candidates seeking to register for SSCE must present original copy of their BECE certificate as a prerequisite for registration.
Candidates who have registered for the 2021 SSCE must present their BECE certificate before the completion of their registration.
Candidates seeking to benefit from the state government’s bankrolled UTME registration must also present original copy of their BECE certificates.
Public and Private Schools by this announcement must ensure students seeking to be admitted into SS1 to SS3 present original copy of their BECE certificates at the point of registration
The Ministry solicits the cooperation of all heads of schools to drive this course.
Schools can apply for the BECE certificates at rivemis.riversstate.gov.ng
Sir. Chidi Adiele
Rivers State Ministry of Education
Sunday Igboho storms Ogun, vows to flush out killer herdsmen
A Yoruba rights activist, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho on Monday, stormed some parts of Ogun State and vowed to flush out killer herdsmen in the troubled areas in the state
Igboho, who stopped briefly in Abeokuta around 4pm and had a brief interaction with his supporters, later proceeded to Ketuland where some soldiers allegedly connived with herdsmen to flog some farmers for not allowing them grazing their cattle on their farms in Yewa-North Local Government Area of the state.
While addressing his followers in Abeokuta, the activist said, “I observe there is an injustice from the herdsmen because they know the power that they have in the Federal Government. So, they behave as if Yoruba people are nobody. They kill our people, they kidnap our people, and they rape our women.”
“Any Fulani herdsman who engages in kidnapping would be flushed out,” Igboho vowed.
When asked whether he would limit his activism to Igangan, his hometown in Oyo State, Igboho said, “Not only Igangan, we are going to visit all Yorubaland and ensure there is peace everywhere.”
The activist lauded the state governor, Dapo Abiodun, for allowing him in the state.
Appreciating the gesture, the activist said, “We have not visited the governor, we will do that after we have flushed the Fulani herdsmen out of the state.
“I am going to Yewa because that is where the Fulani are wreaking havoc.”
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