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Why I withdrew from VP race 'Tinubu 'As Buhari finally picks Osinbajo as running mate

Published by Tribune on Sat, 20 Dec 2014

APC personal project of cabal 'PDPFORMER Lagos State governor and national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday, explained his zero-hour withdrawal from the party's vice presidential ticket consideration.His protege, Pastor Yemi Osinbajo, senior advocate and professor of Law, was picked in his place.In a statement personally authored by him, Tinubu disclosed that the party's presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, offered him the running-mate ticket, but had to let it go as a patriotic duty to the nation.He confessed that though Buhari was irrevocably committed to his offer to him, the decibel raised over his same religion with the general really troubled him, adding that he has developed to criticism, a thick skin and not thick mind.Tinubu's address, which was the second in about 24 hours, was entitled 'I serve the nation.'It reads in part: 'I am a Nigerian who loves his country and I am hopeful about what it can become. I have seen and conducted myself as a patriot long before I thought of myself as a politician. I shall always walk this line and no other.'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 we stand frail and trembling, burdened by the abject failure to surmount the multiple problems confronting us.'It is against this backdrop that I assess any action I take. Here I come to my name being placed in consideration as the vice presidential candidate for our party, the APC. I have laboured hard to move this party from being merely an idea in the minds of a few into being a political organisation that might win this election and govern the nation in way that gives the people the hope and opportunity they seek. Nothing is more important to me than to realise this dream, not for myself but for the people of this land I so love.'I helped to build this party, giving no thought to seeking an elected office because of it. My contribution to the party was never based on the expectation of a later political handout. Nigeria is in trouble and we are well past the moment for such narrow, selfish games.'There came a time during the course of the events when our presidential candidate, General Buhari offered the vice presidential slot to me. Being a normal human being, I was deeply moved and honoured that he would consider me for the position. Being a patriot, I had to weigh my potential candidacy in all of its dimensions.'I have concluded that the interest of the party, our campaign and of the nation are better served if I retain my position as the national leader of APC, allowing me to be a bridge builder across all divides. Although, I declined the position, I want to thank General Buhari for extending the honour to me. Despite all the noise and opposition around my possible selection, he stood firm and steadfast. He showed the traits of a leader in holding to a decision he believed was right, despite the errant plots against it.'When my name was raised, the political hatchet men tried to chop it down with rumour and lies. Over the years, I have developed a thick skin. The personal attacks did not bother me. I am used to them. While I have a thick skin, I don't have a thick mind. There has been one form of attack that has troubled me. That is the attack based on religion. The PDP and others have stoked fear of a Muslim-Muslim ticket.'I have removed myself from consideration so what I now say cannot be seen as self-serving. I plead with the people of this nation to never allow the power lust of cynical politicians to set brother against brother, neighbour against neighbour. If you look at those politicians who raise this issue the most, they are the least devout and faithful to any religion other their self-interests.'Nigeria has too many secular problems ' insecurity, economic collapse, poverty , corruption and misgovernance ' to allow inept people to use religion to keep us from solving these challenges for the benefit of all.'Those who exploit religion should be wary. For there really is a God and he does not like it when you play with His people or use His name to do the opposite of what He intends.'I ask the people to remove religion from the electoral equation now that the tickets of both parties are mixed. I ask you to select the ticket best able to end the downward slide that Nigeria has endured since this government took over. I ask you to remember that too many Christians and Muslims are poor. Most of all, I ask you to remember that the true religion of the PDP is poverty, APC come to bring prosperity to the people. Please vote for that.'The Nigeria I see is a nation that shall overcome. The Nigeria I see is a nation ready to sweep aside the broken ways of our recent past and the government and politicians who impose distress upon us. The Nigeria I see and seek is one where each person, every man, woman and child may live free of terrorism, free of the despair of poverty and free of the fear that the government meant to serve and protect them has turned its back to them in cold and utter indifference.'I see and seek a Nigeria where progressive democratic governance creates the political and economic space needed for each of us to contribute to rescuing and retooling this nation. And, in the process of this benign endeavour, may each and every one of us share in the sound promise and good prosperity that shall describe the architecture of our national revival.'However, not everyone that shouts the name of Nigeria believes in this vision. There are many who would have you laid low and our future tossed asunder that they may persist in reaping the unjust reward of their selfish ways. There are wolves in sheep clothing and even jackals in wolf's clothing. I have seen them but not as residents in some strange zoo. They populate the halls of this diminished government and the party from which this government was born.'We have come to the field of fateful choice. We have been brought to test the scales of weighty decision. Shall we lift this nation upward so that from its higher vantage point we may clearly see the road to our better destiny' Or shall we continue to march the march of fools into the dark of darkness. The current path has but one end. It shall take us into the den of national collapse. We have gone far enough down this wicked avenue to be aware of what its continuance portends.'We must awaken of our own accord, my dear people, before the bell of doom rings upon us. If we wait until that moment, we would have waited too long. Our future, our fate, our destiny would have been cast into the snare of utter misfortune. This is not the song of greatness. It is the poetics of ruin.'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.'I sincerely commit myself to the rescue agenda of General Buhari and Professor Osinbajo.'I declare to you, I will work and dedicate myself so that our ticket succeeds and wins the 2015 election ' not for his good, not for my good, not even for the party's good, but for the good of the nation we inhabit.'Some may call what I have done a sacrifice. I call it otherwise. It is my patriotic contribution and duty. I do so with a happy and uplifted heart and clear conscience, because I have committed myself to seeking the best for this nation before seeking what is good for myself. This is the creed of statesmanship I chose to follow. May this be the creed of our party as General Buhari leads us to historic victory in the 2015 elections.'Meanwhile, General Buhari, on Wednesday, personally announced Professor Osinbajo as his choice of running mate.According to him, 'the challenging process of rescuing our country and changing Nigeria for good has commenced. One of the first decisions that I have to make is the choice of the vice-presidential candidate and my running mate.'Buhari, who unveiled his running mate in company with the national chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and other national officers, said 'the method employed in this choice was quite meticulous but yet rigorous. It involved the establishment of objective criteria, broad consultations with party leaders and a few opinion leaders outside the party and interactions with a number of nominees.'However, none of the APC governors were present at the event.'To assist me in this great task of securing Nigeria's future, I have chosen a man of unimpeachable integrity, an excellent professional, a man of faith, a devoted family man and a role model to our fellow countrymen and women.'He is a professor of law and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), an alumnus of the University of Lagos and the London School of Economics. He is a prodigious author, who has to his credit several books on civil procedure in Nigerian superior courts.'The vice-presidential candidate is a friend of the underprivileged, compassionate and zealous in service. A man of uncommon humility, a loyal, dependable and selfless patriot,' he stated.In his acceptance speech, Professor Osinbajo maintained that he was 'deeply honoured and grateful to have been nominated as the vice presidential candidate of our party, APC and especially to the presidential candidate, General Buhari.''I will work with him and the party to restore hope and confidence in millions of our youth and provide comfort and security for millions of our country men and women,' he declared.The power-sharing deal that delivered OsinbajoA new power-sharing arrangement among caucuses within APC denied Rivers State governor, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, the vice-presidential ticket and ensured the emergence of Osinbajo, Nigerian Tribune has learnt.Sources within the party disclosed that everything was pointing in the direction of Amaechi as Buhari's running-mate in the spirit of an existing power-sharing deal, until another superior argument came that compelled a review Tuesday night.An existing power-sharing deal was primed to produce a founding member of the party from the North as the presidential candidate, while a defector from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the South was to emerge the running-mate.Amaechi was best positioned as a defector to clinch the ticket.However, following the rejection of Tinubu's presentation of his candidacy for the position, the South-West caucus of the party was said to have insisted that the ticket must remain in the zone.Instead of going tribalistic, sources disclosed that the Bourdillion caucus decided to use the defunct legacy parties that formed the mega-party as a basis for the sharing of major positions in the party.Nigerian Tribune gathered that it was argued that since the national chairman of the party, John Odigie-Oyegun was originally from the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and Buhari from the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), it was just normal that the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) produced the VP candidate.According to a senior party chieftain 'without even arguing it, everyone should know that the VP should come to former ACN members. Even if the VP would be a passenger in the government, let's get it first. ACN was the first to bring five governors into the merger. The argument was pushed and accepted. If they don't want him (Tinubu), at least there are still credible members of the old party.'It was later learnt that the race was finally narrowed down to a two-horse between Osinbajo and former Osun State governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who later stepped down 'to thaw the ice and save the party from unnecessary crisis.'There are also unconfirmed reports that Amaechi might be tipped for the job of the Chief of Staff if Buhari is elected president.There had been suspicion that even if Mallam Nasir el-Rufai is elected governor of Kaduna State, he might still emerge the Chief of Staff.The new deal reportedly informed Amaechi's decision to eventually accept to be Buhari's campaign manager.Meanwhile, chairman, Senate Committee on Ecology and Environment, Dr Bukola Saraki, has congratulated Professor Osinbajo as the vice presidential candidate of the party.The former governor of Kwara State, in a release on Wednesday, also commended Senator Tinubu for his sacrifice and contribution to the development of APC and democracy in Nigeria.APC, personal project of cabal 'PDPThe PDP, on Wednesday, blasted Buhari for taking too long to name his running mate, saying that the party was incompetent.The PDP also declared that the eventual choice of Professor Osinbajo was a confirmation of its stand that the APC was a personal project of a cabal.The party, in a statement signed by its national publicity secretary, Olisa Metuh and made available to newsmen in Abuja, pointed out that 'should power get to this cabal, Nigeria is finished.''Fortunately, the PDP offers to all Nigerians a truly national party and a Jonathan/Sambo ticket ready to build a better tomorrow.'In PDP, the focus remains to ensure that we continue to deliver on our promises and put the interests of Nigerians first in all our party decisions and policies of government,' the statement read.
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