How Osinbajo declined Obasanjo’s offer to become AGF, dump Tinubu, Lagos in 2015

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, exchanging views during a public event. (File photo)

Seyi Gesinde

Facts have emerged on how Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, declined a ‘juicy’ offer placed before him by former President Olusegun Obasanjo for him to dump the Lagos State and its then Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and take up a role as the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) under his Presidency in 2015.

This revelation is coming as mixed reactions continue to trail Prof Osinbajo’s declaration to run for the post of President in 2023.

A veteran and award-winning journalist, Mustapha Ogunsakin, has revealed how the VP declined then President Olusegun Obasanjo’s offer to dump the cabinet of former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, under whom he served as the state’s Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, to become Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).

Ogunsakin’s revelation is coming on the heels of personal attacks heaped on the VP by some political opponents, trying to brand the VP a betrayer because he threw his hat in the ring to contest for the country’s top job.

Detailing how Osinbajo turned down Obasanjo’s offer, Ogunsakin in an article titled “Attacking Osinbajo” said “in 2005, President Olusegun Obasanjo invited Osinbajo to take an appointment as the Attorney General of the Federation after Chief Akin Olujimi SAN left office.

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“Obasanjo saw the sterling qualities and performance that Osinbajo had as Attorney General of Lagos. The President without informing Tinubu offered the post to the Lagos AG. The first thing Osinbajo did was to inform his principal, Tinubu, who gave him a free hand to make his decision.”

Continuing, Ogunsakin said “Osinbajo made a request to Obasanjo: “Release Lagos Council funds.” Obasanjo replied that Osinbajo should first take the appointment and then advise him as Attorney General of the Federation on the matter.

“Osinbajo went underground and for weeks, Obasanjo could no longer reach him. It was obvious to the President that Osinbajo deliberately avoided him. He went on to appoint Chief Bayo Ojo SAN as his AGF and Minister of Justice.”

“Osinbajo rejected the position of AGF and Minister of Justice and stayed with Tinubu! Nobody complained then,” the award-winning journalist noted.

Speaking further, Ogunsakin said, “Osinbajo not only stood with Tinubu but stayed loyal to Lagos State. He did not betray Tinubu then”.

Cautioning those calling Osinbajo a betrayer, Ogunsakin said “but now when it is convenient for them, some political and religious bigots are shouting betrayal!
Everyone knows that if you want to hear the story of how your father met your mother, join politics.”

He urged anyone criticising Osinbajo on account of his declaration for the presidency “to do so on valid facts! Not lazy, religious and political lies that reveal your foolishness and hatred for a man who is doing his best to make his country and people better.”