APC Govs rally Osinbajo in Aso Rock as 2023 politics hots up

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo SAN having a session with members of the Progressive Governors Forum in his office at the Statehouse, Abuja, on Tuesday, August 30, 2022. Photos: Statehouse/Tolani Alli

By Emmanuel Babafemi

In a high-powered move, governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Tuesday, mobilised themselves to Abuja, where they held a closed-door meeting with the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo SAN, in his office at the Presidential Villa.

This will be the first time the governors would be visiting the VP after his loss at the APC presidential primary election which was held at Eagle Square in Abuja, on Tuesday, June 7, 2022, even after he was admitted and discharged from hospital over a medical procedure performed on his thigh.

As things stand, the unannounced visit of the governors may be a move to further rally support for the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, whose Muslim-Muslim ticket, has not only been severely criticised by the Nigerian Christian community led by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), it has also caused division within the party, creating a clear dichotomy between those who either stand for or against the same faith arrangement.

Recalled that APC presidential candidate, Tinubu, who is a Muslim, on July 10, 2022, chose a fellow Muslim, Kashim Shettima as his running mate, a decision which has been widely criticised as being insensitive to the Nigerian current national security challenges, which it was said required for religious-balance in the country’s presidential arrangement.

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But while Tinubu said his decision was a winning formula and not to disparage the Christian community, the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) have condemned the decision, while mobilising their members not to accept the formation.

Similarly, a coalition of Northern Christian leaders, Bishop of Calabar, Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev Nneoji Egbe, the Christian wing of the APC, and even the Middle-Belt Youths have publicly spoken against Tinubu’s same faith ticket, which they faulted as a further threat to the battered national security.

However, the spokesperson of the VP, Laolu Akande, in a statement released after the meeting held with his principal said the governors visited his principal in his office at the Presidential Villa “on a felicitation visit as he recovers from the surgery done last month.”

He said while welcoming the Governors, Prof Osinbajo expressed his appreciation for the visit and the good wishes.

In his statement, Akande said: “The VP also commended the expertise of Nigerian doctors and the availability of cutting-edge medical facilities existing in the country. But he regretted that doctors are restrained by regulations from advertising and as a result, many people are unaware of the level of quality medical services available locally.

“During the brief interaction that followed at the meeting, important national issues were also raised especially regarding the economy and the ASUU strike.

“The Vice President and the Governors then agreed to engage these and other pressing issues further with a view to bringing urgent resolution for the benefit of the Nigerian people.”

Akande said the Vice President charged the governors that “we all need to work together on these critical issues. We need to think through things, and we need to do it fast.”

The governors who visited Osinbajo include, Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State; Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State; Simon Lalong of Plateau State; Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State; Muhammad Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State; Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara; Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State; Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State; Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa, and the deputy governor of Ebonyi State, Kelechi Igwe.