National leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, says he has no plan to replace Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as President Muhammadu Buhari’s running mate in the 2019 election, adding that Osinbajo cannot abandon another joint ticket with Buhari for full pastoral work without discussing such decision with him and the party.
He stated this in response to the report by a national daily that Osinbajo, an RCCG pastor, was considering returning to full church work while Tinubu was being mooted as a replacement for him, “as a way to have a solid South West support for the APC in the face of a South East/South South alliance in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)”.
Reacting in a statement issued on Wednesday by his media aide, Tunde Rahman, the APC leader dismissed the story as a “classic case of utterly and irredeemably-fake news” that has no empirical or logical foundation.
While insisting that there is no plan for him to be a vice presidential candidate in 2019, Tinubu stated that the story does great injustice to Osinbajo, who he described as a man of the highest integrity, moral rectitude, amazing humility, high intellect and unimpeachable credibility.
He added that the Vice President is a man of fierce loyalty and absolute trustworthiness who will never do anything to undermine Buhari as demonstrated when his boss travelled to London on medical vacation. The ex-Lagos governor went on to state that he and the people of the South West have absolute confidence and are exceedingly proud of the excellent job Osinbajo is doing as Nigeria’s Vice President.
The statement reads, “The attention of the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu Media Office has been drawn to the front page lead story of The SUN newspaper of yesterday, December 13, 2017, which sensationally and ridiculously reported that President Muhammadu Buhari may pick Asiwaju Tinubu as his running mate for the 2019 election. This is a classic case of utterly and irredeemably fake news.
“There is no empirical or logical basis for this mischievously speculative story. Is it even conceivable, as the story recklessly insinuates, that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo would be considering returning to full church work rather than run with his boss, President Buhari for a second term if the latter so decides without as much as discussing such a sensitive issue with his party and with Asiwaju Tinubu? In any case, is this story not entirely unwarranted and indefensible as the Buhari/Osinbajo ticket has an electoral mandate of four years out of which it has spent only two and a half years?
“This is clearly an attempt to distract the APC Federal Government from the yeoman’s job it has been doing in rescuing the country from the deep rooted socio-economic, political, security and moral mess inherited from the PDP’s 16 years misrule of Nigeria, instigate crisis within the party, stoke dangerous embers of religious disaffection within the party and the country generally and stem the remarkable progress being made in the reinvention and revitalization of Nigeria.
“The SUN newspaper, through this kind of story, does great discredit to Nigerian journalism, which has made considerable strides towards greater professionalism and excellence over the years. For the avoidance of doubt, Asiwaju Tinubu has absolute confidence and faith in both President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo who have been working hard harmoniously in offering inspirational leadership to Nigeria at a most critical period in her history. The hemorrhaging of the national economy through the wanton and unprecedented corruption that obtained before the advent of the APC Federal Government has been stanched.
“There is greater sanity, accountability and transparency in the management of the country’s finances. The Boko Haram insurgency has been substantially contained. We should not allow ourselves to be derailed from the job we are effectively undertaking in fulfilling our campaign promises anchored on the tripod of containing insecurity, taming the scourge of corruption and resuscitating the economy.
“The Buhari and Osinbajo-led Federal Government is deftly steering the country out of an economic recession that was the result of the ineptness of the PDP years of the locusts. Asiwaju Tinubu will never support any attempt to distract Buhari and Osinbajo from the job they are passionately doing through the kind of false report carried by the Sun. In particular, this story does great injustice to Vice President Osinbajo. Here is a man of the highest integrity, moral rectitude, amazing humility, high intellect and unimpeachable credibility. Here is a man of fierce loyalty and absolute trustworthiness who will never do anything in word, thought or deed to undermine his boss. His unquestionable dependability and indisputable fidelity to his oath of office was demonstrated beyond question by his honourable conduct during the President’s medical vacation. Asiwaju Tinubu and the people of the South West have absolute confidence and are exceedingly proud of the excellent job Professor Osinbajo is doing as Vice President of Nigeria.
“Asiwaju takes serious exception to the insinuation by the Sun and in some other quarters that there was ever any so-called frosty relationship between Buhari and Tinubu. We challenge the Sun to provide any evidence where Tinubu has ever complained of any grouse against Buhari. As Asiwaju had cause to point out recently, having been elected President, Buhari had to be given the space to run his government. There have always been and will always be channels of communication between Tinubu and Buhari as members of the same party. Their interaction must not necessarily always be conducted in the public space.
“Contrary to the impression the Sun seeks to create, Asiwaju’s politics is not that of unbridled personal ambition for selfish interest. When at some point in the build up to the 2015 election, President Buhari offered him the Vice –Presidential ticket, Tinubu gratefully and publicly thanked the President.
“When it turned out that such an offer would not be in the interest of the party and would play into the hands of enemies of change, Asiwaju unreservedly and passionately threw his support behind Osinbajo as the best man for the job. His opinion has not changed. Indeed, his confidence and belief in Osinbajo has been amply justified by the latter’s sterling performance in the office. This attempt to cause disaffection between the duo cannot and will not fly.
“As Asiwaju firmly asserted in a public statement on December 17th 2014 endorsing Professor Osinbajo for the position of running mate to President Buhari ‘After all the political calculations are made and the dust of competition has settled, it must be this nation and its people who stand first and foremost.
“The question becomes whether we stand strong, able to shape ourselves into our best future or will we stand frail and trembling, burdened by the abject failure to surmount the multiple problems confronting us…For me, political ambition will never triumph over patriotic conviction. This delicate moment affords no space for emotion to intrude to blind us from what is best.
“The APC is the best and only vehicle to enact the progressive and broad change this nation cries for. I eagerly lend myself to this fine cause without me having to be on the ticket. This is a time for cohesion and an overriding sense of mission. We must defeat the foe before us and resist all temptations intended to entice us to fight among ourselves’. As it was then so it remains today and on this patriotic and selfless commitment Asiwaju stands unshakably.”