How The Battle To Price The VP Slot Out Of Tinubu’s Hand Was Fought3 min read
“Nobody was thinking that Asiwaju was going to lay claim to the vice president’s slot, we all thought that aspect of the presidential race in the party had been settled with the pervading sentiments against a Muslim/Muslim ticket. In fact nobody was talking about a prospect of a Muslim/Muslim ticket anymore even as the presidential primary lasted at the Teslim Balogun, Lagos venue of the primary,” a top party official confided.
The official who refused to have his name quoted said the whole foundation of the party suddenly shook moments after the presidential primary when some emissaries of Asiwaju Tinubu started moving around leaders of the party as the primary was nearing its end. These emissaries were selling the candidacy of Tinubu for Vice President.
“Initially, many of us were taken aback with what the emissaries were publicly canvassing. We actually dismissed them in the belief that they were trying to create tension in the party even as we made it known to them that Asiwaju couldn’t have sent them on such a devious mission. But we soon realized Asiwaju was interested. He made his position known loud and clear at the South West caucus meeting of the party later that day. But emotions, had by that time, riding hot on the tail of the party. Some members of the same South West caucus had filtered the news out to the effect that the party had selected Prof Yemi Osibajo for the VP slot. As the news went public, there was confusion everywhere. It was at that point that the party leadership decided to move the national caucus meeting to Abuja,” our source further revealed.
“Apparently, the Southwest caucus couldn’t resist Tinnubu’s influence, so he was adopted and that was the position they brought to Abuja. Meanwhile, the VP slot had already been conceded to the Southwest, members of the party caucus from the zone had insisted that on the strength of the concession it’s the caucus that has the right to present the preferred candidate to the party.
“But that suggestion was resisted by Northern caucus in the party just as the Governors insisted that the candidate for the VP slot should be determined by them. Thankfully, the Chief Tony Momoh led committee for the resolution of who becomes the candidate was able to calm nerves.
“It was resolved that the eligible Governors, that is, Mr Rotimi Amaechi of Cross Rivers State and Comrade Adams Oshiomole were from the South-South zone, the same zone from where the Chairman of the party, Chief John Oyegun came from. In the case of Comrade Oshiomole, he could not possibly contend because he and the National Chairman are from Edo State.
“Eventually, it was the argument of the Northern caucus that carried the day. Members of the caucus had variously argued that a Tinubu as VP would be a too strong influence on the presidency; they insisted that they preferred an individual of a meek character. On this ground, they proposed Prof Osibajo and former Governor Kayode Fayemi, it was moved that the Southwest caucus should pick any of the two. Of course, at this level, we knew who the choice would be. Ex Governor Fayemi had fallen out of favour with Tinubu because he had shown some streak of independent mindedness, most of us at the leadership level were aware of this, so we knew who will be selected. We were not surprised, when, eventually, the name of Prof Osibajo was selected by the caucus. I believe we will now move forward as one strong united front to confront the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party,” the official said. Culled from Fortune