Osinbajo’s Visit to Tinubu Ends Speculation of Rift

VP Yemi Osinbajo and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu

By Ademola Adegbamigbe

There was a major happening on Friday 29 October in the house of All Progressives Congress (APC). A house that was thought to be divided among its strong members can, with the development, now stand! The visit of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to the Abuja home of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has helped to end the fire of speculations that the two political heavyweights were locked in mortal combat, as the 2023 presidential race gets closer.

Those manning the public relations offices for the two were not foolish. They knew that in politics, perception is key and that the negative optics would be an ill wind that could blow the All Progressives Congress (APC), the profile of the two nothing good. Worse still, it could bring unnecessary distraction in the polity.

VP Yemi Osinbajo and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu

Fire of the rumour was ignited when Tinubu travelled to the UK for knee surgery. Among the first to visit him was President Muhammadu Buhari. Like a domino effect, other politicians followed in droves. Then the question arose in the traditional and social media why Osinbajo had not paid a visit. The speculation went deeper when Tinubu returned to Nigeria earlier than scheduled, fuelling the belief that he snubbed Osinbajo who planned to call on him too.

The Godfather Godson rift paradigm became handier for political analysts who believed that Tinubu who had always been a kingmaker also wanted to become king and that Osinbajo who has seen the inner workings of government was adopting some subterranean tactics to also become President in 2023.

VP Yemi Osinbajo and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu

This prompted Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Special Adviser to the President in the Office of the Vice President, to issue a statement on 11 October, denying any rift. He stated:

“My attention has been drawn to a media engagement on Channels TV this morning and a front-page story of Daily Independent today.
“On Channels TV Sunrise programme two persons supposedly representing Asiwaju Support Group and Osinbajo Support Group were pitched against each other. On the other hand, Daily Independent ran a headline thus: 2023 Presidency: Osinbajo On a Collision Course With Tinubu, Pushes To Succeed Buhari
“It is incumbent on me to state emphatically that neither the Vice President nor his office is aware of this or endorse this kind of a divisive engagement and news reports. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo are members of same party.

“Osinbajo regards Tinubu as a respected leader of a political family to which he belongs and will therefore not for any reason endorse an endeavour that seeks to pitch them against each other.

“We are not unaware of some people who may want to foist a crack among our leaders. Such an attempt is abortive. Osinbajo and Tinubu’s relationship dates way back and it shall continue to wax strong.

“Let me, therefore, call on individuals and media houses engaged in this act to desist from doing so. The APC remains one single, indivisible party and Osinbajo remains a loyal member of the party who respects both the party structure as well as its leadership.

“Moreover, the INEC has not given a go-ahead yet for politicking towards 2023. As a law-abiding citizen, Osinbajo will not commence any action in this regard until INEC blows the whistle, and in any case, the VP has not indicated an interest in the 2023 elections

“While appreciating individuals who are clamouring for him to contest, we however want to plead that they should not draw him or allow themselves into an unnecessary and precipitous controversy.

“We welcome our great leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu back into the country. As a great democrat himself, he will certainly welcome politics without bitterness and divisiveness. We wish him good health, long life and prosperity”.

Now with this visit, members of the house of APC can heave a sigh of relief. This shows in all the comments about the visit.

VP Yemi Osinbajo and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu

A member of the Tinubu Support Group, and the Acting Director, Media and Publicity of the group, Mr Tosin Adeyanju, said Osinbajo’s visit was an indication that Tinubu’s political family is united. “Today’s visit by the Vice President shows there is no problem and people should not listen to rumours.”
Rotimi Adebayo, another commentator reacted that here in Yorubalañd, this is who we are: “Undiluted omoluabi (people of integrity). And that is what makes us the superb brand that we are!” To Ogundele Olayemi Babatope, “One love keeps us together.”
Yeye Bolanle Olatunde, journalist and public relations consultant, it “is a sad day for haters.” Also, Onayinka Olusegun said “Mentor and mentee for life. V.P. paying homage to his leader and choice for 2023.” Jude Otagbo, reacted: “I love these legends.” Akingbade Moruf wrote that this visit would give them a headache today. Wailing wailers over to you.”
Abdulsalam Bashir Afolabi also added: “Magnificent! Someone won’t sleep tonight.” Adebayo Abayomi Adetule asked: “Where are those who have been saying they are fighting?” Kayode Adetunji wrote with enthusiasm: “This is so nice. We can now relax and have peace of mind.”
To O.K. Falodun, the coast is becoming clearer. “This is just the beginning that there are no cracks on our wall, and we will work together as a big united family to attain our lofty goals in Yorubaland.”
According to Onochie Osheokwu: “I love Asiwaju for one thing, he is a true democrat. He believes in people. He has fought for democracy. He has defended democracy… I pray God will give him good health because believe me, he has given his best to this nation. Party aside, I love and respect him.”