A retired general, Iliyasu Ibrahim, has discredited claims that a national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Ahmed Bola Tinubu was against the emergence of the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo as running mate to President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 presidential election.
Ibrahim spoke on Tuesday in reaction to a portion of the recently-launched book by Professor John Paden on Buhari, titled: “Muhammadu Buhari: Challenges of Leadership,” which claimed that Osinbajo emerged as Vice President despite pressure against it by Tinubu.
Paden, in the book had stated that the former Lagos State governor had wanted the Vice President’s role for himself and not Osinbajo.
The Professor had noted that, “With Buhari coming from the North-West geopolitical zone, the Vice-Presidency had been ceded to the South-West geopolitical zone.
“Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State and political ‘godfather’ of the South-West geopolitical zone, felt he should be the vice-presidential candidate.
“His protégée and the then popular Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, was also a possible candidate.
“Both Tinubu and Fashola were Muslims, which complicated the national balance.
“A third candidate, Yemi Osinbajo, had been Attorney General of Lagos State and a senior law professor and a pastor.
“When the three names were forwarded to Buhari, he chose Osinbajo despite enormous pressure from Tinubu.”
However, Ibrahim, in a statement issued yesterday, said, “I became disturbed about this falsification of recent history. Why would the author say this and have it published when many of us know the truth? The truth is that Tinubu singlehandedly chose Yemi Osinbajo and sent the name to President Buhari. There was no pressure. Tinubu is Osinbajo’s political mentor. The latter was his attorney-general and commissioner for Justice in Lagos and both have a close relationship.
“My worry stretched further when I recall the recent piece by Femi Fani Kayode on Tinubu and his huge contributions to the APC and how he is now being short-changed. Though I do not agree with all the claims made by Femi Fani-Kayode, I am convinced he made some reasonable arguments and his summation about Tinubu’s role in the current political dispensation can hardly be faulted. In some areas, he went overboard and you could see him gloating, the PDP apologist that he is. Also, the mention of Governor Ajimobi as one of the governors working against Tinubu is a fallacy and here he got his facts wrong. Ajimobi has remained consistently behind Tinubu and that is easily verifiable.
“But back to the emergence of Osinbajo as Vice Presidential candidate. I was there the night before the final decision and subsequent announcement. I was there at the Lagos Lodge Annex in Asokoro, Abuja at Tinubu’s place. On the night in reference, Asiwaju insisted that three names would not be sent for the VP slot. He maintained that only one name would be sent. Eventually, the name of Osinbajo was sent to President Buhari. There was no issue of pressure.
“Osinbajo was Tinubu’s man and that was the only person Tinubu was willing to accept to cede the VP slot. Shortly after Governor Amosun came around to the Lagos lodge. He came in and we greeted. Now, it seems clear that some fifth columnists are trying to distort recent history and we should not let them. This history is too recent to be mutilated.”