Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), says he is not planning to replace Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.
Tinubu said this in response to a report that he may be picked as the running mate of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
Buhari and Tinubu fell out shortly after the 2015 election but both men have been holding frequent meetings of late.
Tinubu was in the president’s delegation to the AU-EU summit in Cote d’Ivoire in November. During a meeting with Nigerians resident in that country, Buhari said the APC national leader gave him a “beautiful piece of information”.
Denying eyeing the job of Osinbajo, whom he nominated, Tinubu said: “the people of the south-west have absolute confidence and are exceedingly proud of the excellent job Professor Osinbajo is doing as Vice President of Nigeria”.
“The attention of the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu Media Office has been drawn to a report which sensationally and ridiculously reported that President Muhammadu Buhari may pick Asiwaju Tinubu as his running mate for the 2019 election. This is a classic case of utterly and irredeemably fake news,” read a statement which Tunde Rahman, Tinubu’s spokesman, issued on his behalf.
“There is no empirical or logical basis for this mischievously speculative story. Is it even conceivable, as the story recklessly insinuates, that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo would be considering returning to full church work rather than run with his boss, President Buhari for a second term if the latter so decides without as much as discussing such a sensitive issue with his party and with Asiwaju Tinubu? In any case, is this story not entirely unwarranted and indefensible as the Buhari/Osinbajo ticket has an electoral mandate of four years out of which it has spent only over two years and a half years?
Tinubu described the report as an attempt to distract the current administration from its “yeoman’s job” and instigate crisis in the APC.
“This is clearly an attempt to distract the APC federal government from the yeoman’s job it has been doing in rescuing the country from the deep-rooted socio-economic, political, security and moral mess inherited from the PDP’s 16 years misrule of Nigeria, instigate crisis within the party, stoke dangerous embers of religious disaffection within the party and the country generally and stem the remarkable progress being made in the reinvention and revitalization of Nigeria,” the statement read.
“There is greater sanity, accountability and transparency in the management of the country’s finances. The Boko Haram insurgency has been substantially contained. We should not allow ourselves to be derailed from the job we are effectively undertaking in fulfilling our campaign promises anchored on the tripod of containing insecurity, taming the scourge of corruption and resuscitating the economy.
“The Buhari and Osinbajo-led Federal Government is deftly steering the country out of an economic recession that was the result of the ineptness of the PDP years of the locusts. Asiwaju Tinubu will never support any attempt to distract Buhari and Osinbajo from the job they are passionately doing through the kind of false report. In particular, this story does great injustice to Vice President Osinbajo. Here is a man of the highest integrity, moral rectitude, amazing humility, high intellect and unimpeachable credibility. Here is a man of fierce loyalty and absolute trustworthiness who will never do anything in word, thought or deed to undermine his boss. His unquestionable dependability and indisputable fidelity to his oath of office was demonstrated beyond question by his honourable conduct during the President’s medical vacation.”