Team Osinbajo, working for the actualization of a Prof Yemi Osinbajo presidency in 2023 is already breaking boundaries across the country with reports of shadowy link-ups between his canvassers and a section of the famed cabal around President Muhammadu Buhari. This is just as his team has vowed to defeat moneybags at the All Progressives Congress, APC, convention.
While Vice-president Osinbajo has come out to deny immediate plans of his aspiration for the APC 2023 presidential ticket, his canvassers are increasingly coming out to assert their objectives boldly.
The moves by the vice-president’s perceived minders are despite continuing claims that a section of the cabal and chief personal aides of the president remain spiteful of him.
The personal aides, it was gathered, are yet to forgive Osinbajo for actions taken as Acting President in 2018 including the dismissal of Lawal Daura as Director-General of the Department of State Services, DSS.
Saturday Vanguard learnt that Team Osinabjo has notwithstanding, been increasingly mending fences with the Northern establishment through some northern leaders who have been acting as emissaries for the 2023 project.
A highly influential northern politician whose wife recently left a very high position in the federal judiciary is said to be Camp Osinbajo’s liaison with the Northern establishment.
“You can see the kind of endorsements that have been coming the way of the vice-president from the North and groups visiting selected leaders to get expected endorsements,” one source privy to the development opined.
There were suggestions that the carriage of Team Osinbajo was what panicked his political godfather, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to preempt him by making his declaration of his life ambition to be president on Monday.
Meanwhile, as Tinubu rushed to Abuja to position himself, the Osinbajo canvassers about the same time moved south for the first time with their bold incursion into Delta State, a territory that had until recently been regarded as Tinubu’s territory by APC activists.
The efforts of the vice-president’s canvassers were manifested by his endorsement by Rep. Francis Waive, the only APC member of the House of Representatives from Delta State. Saturday Vanguard reports that the endorsement has sent shock waves into the political landscape in Delta and Abuja given earlier permutations that Delta was Tinubu’s territory by proxy through the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege.
The development in Delta according to multiple sources has sent confusion on the inclination of Omo-Agege. Before now, the only threat to Tinubu in Delta had come from insinuations of a possible presidential bid by Rotimi Amaechi, the minister of transportation. Amaechi’s foot soldiers led by Festus Keyamo have ceaselessly tackled the Omo-Agege tendency.
While some were quick to point to Hon. Waive’s endorsement of Osinbajo as a reflection of the shift of the Omo-Agege camp away from Tinubu, other sources and associates of the Deputy President of the Senate claimed that Waive acted in his personal capacity.
However, some in Delta State and Abuja saw the endorsement as a product of the alleged behind-the-scene collaboration between Abubakar Malami, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and Team Osinbajo. Sources affirm that Omo-Agege and Malami who are both lawyers are also said to be friends.
A text message to Senator Omo-Agege on the development did not receive a response as at press time yesterday. Saturday Vanguard has been unable to confirm insinuations of a possible working relationship between Osinbajo and the Malami group of power brokers who are said to dictate the policies and politics of the Buhari administration.
While some said it is possible with the prospect of Malami running as a Vice presidential candidate to Osinbajo, other sources watching the development ruled it out saying that Osinbajo has not been forgiven for firing Daura as DG DSS in 2018.
“Yes, for the best interest of the country and the party, Osinbajo would have been an unbeatable asset to the APC, but I know that within the inner circle of number one, (President Buhari) he is hated with venom,” one APC top source privy to the developments spoke yesterday.
“The question you should ask is, can he be trusted? It is a matter of trust for the president. I repeat, it is a matter of trust”, the source said
As another source said yesterday, Osinbajo lacks political structure and the only way he can achieve it is either through Buhari or through Tinubu. However, just like Buhari, the inner camp of the national leader of the APC is also increasingly disdainful of the vice-president with some labelling him a betrayer.
Meanwhile, moves by his northern backers to beautify and build him up to have continued with the announcement on Thursday that Osinbajo would be the special guest of honour at the 8th Sir Ahmadu Bello lecture in Kano on January 28.
The gathering, pundits observe, would offer the Northern intelligentsia, royal fathers and other elements of the Northern establishment chance to have a closer perception of Osinbajo.
We’ll defeat moneybags at APC convention — Osinbajo group vows
Meanwhile, The Progressive Project TPP, an umbrella body of the groups working for the vice president has vowed to put in place strategies that will enable its candidate to defeat established political moneybags at the presidential primaries of the All Progressives Congress APC and in the general election. This was less than 48 hours after hosting a nationwide coalition of 57 youth and students’ groups who had pledged to work for the vice president.
The group on Wednesday also hosted representatives of about 500 support groups from all parts of Nigeria in what it said was part of efforts “to begin mapping out strategies towards beating moneybags’ influence at the forthcoming All Progressives Congress APC presidential primaries”.
At the TPP office in Abuja on Wednesday, former, serving and prospective candidates for councillorship, chairmanship, state and federal legislative positions with few former and serving state commissioners exchanged views on how to achieve effective grassroots impact by selling the good qualities of Vice President Osinbajo as being of greater significance than the offer of monetary gifts.
Head of TPP’s Situation Room, Mr Jeffrey Omoh who addressed representatives of the support group drawn from the nation’s six geo-political zones emphasized that their strategy shall emphasize “mobilization of delegates’ patriotism, not mobilization of Naira”.
He urged attendees to “go home, study their environment more, improve their interactions with people and return with suggestions and ideas that TPP and its constituent teams can work with”.
“We thank all members of the approximately 500 support groups who are already identifying with us, with a firm commitment towards mobilizing Nigerians towards achieving an Osinbajo Presidency in 2023,” he said.
One of the speakers at the event, Dr Mustapha M. Jibril who is the Commissioner for Investments, Commerce and Industry in Niger state told the gathering that the loyalty demonstrated to President Muhammadu Buhari, disciplined focus and other good qualities of Professor Yemi Osinbajo drew attendees from various parts of the federation together to pursue a common cause.
Speaking in a similar vein at the first interactive meeting of pro-Osinbajo groups, Mr Ibrahim Mohammed, a member of the support group who drew attention to his family’s Kano origin stated that his family members have lived in Ibadan, Oyo state over the past 150 years, adding that “2023 election is not really going to be about zoning but about the prospects of unity, sustainable progress and development across all parts of the federation.
He said, “Our efforts here and the motivation for supporting Osinbajo is not about whether political power goes north or south; it is about consolidating on what has been achieved in the past towards throttling into a better future for all under a trustworthy and very capable leadership that would not need to offer bribes to party delegates before its emergence,” he stated.
Speaking in the same vein, Mr Precious Elekia who led the Cross River State Coalition for Osinbajo 2003 group said; “it is time to vote for Nigeria and not a time to vote for Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba,” adding that “Professor Yemi Osinbajo is a viable and sellable candidate that appeals to all dimensions of national interest”.
Among recommendations proffered by representatives of various pro-Osinbajo support groups were the implementation of mobilization efforts across various wards in 774 local government councils, focus on reaching prospective delegates to the APC national convention and creation of state coordination teams across the federation.