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Despite his series of press statements to debunk and distance himself from the forthcoming presidential race in 2023, Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo’s name continues to make billboards, and social media noise, as the next President to beat in the coming election.
With less than 2 years into the presidential election in 2023, the bid by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to succeed his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari, continues to gain huge recognition.
From the day that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced February 18, 2023, as date for the presidential election, various support groups from different parties have sprung up baring logo and photos of their preferred candidate for the coming election as Mohammadu Buhari, after serving to uninterrupted terms would be handling the baton to the next best alternative
Although, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has not declared interest in the 2023 presidential race, his loyalists believe he perfectly ticked the box of the next president of the country as visualised by Babangida. As of August 2021, no fewer than 6 groups have emerged to launch their respective campaign for the vice President.
One group under the auspices of the Progressive Consolidation Group (PCG) launched an advocacy campaign for Osinbajo to contest the 2023 Presidential Election. The National Chairman of the PCG, Aliyu Kurfi told journalists in Abuja that the group had paid courtesy visits to the Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Bello Masari; and the Emir of Daura, Umar Faruk, on the issue.
He stated that his team had held strategic meetings with APC members from all the 34 local government areas in Katsina State, on how to achieve success with the project, maintaining that the group is formed based on the voluntary will for a better Nigeria. Which they believe can only be possible with Osinbajo taking the baton from President Buhari. Recall that PCG had earlier lobbied principal officers of the National Assembly, governors and party stalwarts to canvass support for the Osinbajo 2023 project.
Another support group, The New Tribe (TNT) has also commenced a video campaign to showcase the instances in which Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo condemned the killings of Nigerians by armed bandits. Over the past few years, many parts of the country have witnessed a series of violent attacks perpetrated by armed gangs — bandits, insurgents and other criminal elements — leading to the deaths of many Nigerians and the destruction of properties. Amid these killings, some Nigerians have argued that Osinbajo has never condemned the killings or expressed sympathy for the victims. In reaction, TNT kick-started the video campaign to showcase some of the instances Osinbajo has condemned killings of Nigerians, irrespective of religion and ethnicity.
More so, Osinbajo Grassroots Organisation (OGO), a yet another support group for Osinbajo, has disclosed that plans are being concluded to begin grassroots mobilisation and campaign for the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo’s presidency for consolidation and continuity of Next Level agenda.
The group explained that with his proven track record and supportive role to President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, it was important someone of Osinbajo’s calibre, who is committed to project Nigeria and understand her dynamics, take the mantle of leadership in 2023 and further drive the developmental agenda.
The group’s National Convener, Foluso Ojo, said that with Osinbajo’s unique leadership qualities, it was important members of the group take to streets, states across the country in sensitising and educating Nigerians on why the likes of the vice president deserves to rule Nigeria.
Ovation Publisher, Dele Momodu later posted the campaign video on his Instagram page with the caption: “Supporters mobilize for the Vice President PROF YEMI OSINBAJO ahead of the 2023 Presidential election…” There is even a Whatsapp Group titled 2023 Osinbajo-Al-Mustapha: One Nation, One Destiny with 4 Group Admins advocating the beauty of the duo running together.
Considering his chances beyond 2023, pundits are of the opinion that VP Osinbajo fits in to any form of requirement that the south may clamour, being a core Christian southerner and possesses similar gentle and flexible virtue just as former President, Goodluck Jonathan. who has been tipped to return in the race come 2023.
Born in March 1957, Osinbajo a Professor of Law, had his undergraduate degree at the University of Lagos, where he obtained a Second Class Honours (Upper Division) Degree in Law. In 1979, he completed the mandatory one-year professional training at the Nigerian Law School, where he was admitted to practice as a Barrister and Solicitor of Nigeria’s Supreme Court. In 1980, he attended the London School of Economics, where he obtained a Master of Laws degree.
Political observers are of the view that Osinbajo is the most eligible to take over from Buhari in 2023. First, he is a Christian of the Pentecostal denomination. Two, he is from the South-west. Three, he is in his sixties. His capacity and capability to combine both politics and the economy for smooth governance is equally not in doubt.
It is also worthy of note that VP Osinbajo has a firm relationship with the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who has also been penned down for the race. While Asiwaju has not openly declared his intention, indications from his inner circle equally show that all is in order to join the race.
Nevertheless, having walked with Buhari for eight years, no one can sell the programmes of the administration better or be able to sustain the programmes of the regime which is predicated on the tripod of economy, corruption and security. An Osinbajo presidency would ensure the continuity of the Buhari administration.