Nigeria’s Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday officially declared his intention to contest the 2023 presidential election.
He made the declaration in a short broadcast shared via his Twitter handle after months of intense speculations.
Osinbajo said, “In the past seven years, I have served as Vice President under a true Nigerian patriot, a servant of the nation in war and peace, and a man of integrity, President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We have, together, worked through some of the most difficult times in the history of our Nation, but we have remained focused on securing the country, providing infrastructure and growing our economy.
As stipulated by the Nigerian Constitution, our tenure will end next year.
“In this period of seven years, I have served the government in several capacities, and have, at the direction of Mr. President, represented our country in sensitive high level international engagements. I have been to practically all local governments in Nigeria. I have been in markets, factories, schools, and farms. I have been in agricultural, mining and oil producing communities; in the Delta, in Kebbi, Enugu, Borno; Rivers, Plateau and Ondo; & in all other States of the federation, listening to the diverse experiences and yearnings of our people.
“I have visited our gallant troops in the North East and our brothers and sisters in the IDP camps. I have felt the pain and anguish of victims of violent conflicts, terrorist attacks, flooding, fire and other disasters.
“I have been in the homes of many ordinary Nigerians in various parts of the country. I have sat with our techprenuers in Lagos, Edo, and Kaduna, with our Nollywood and Kannywood actors; with our musicians, from Lagos, Onitsha, and Kano. And I have spoken to small and large businesses.
“I stood where they stood and sat where they sat. I know their hopes, aspirations and fears; and I believe that in those hopes and aspirations are the seeds for the great Nigeria that we all desire.
“I believe that the very reason why the Almighty God gave me these experiences, these insights, and these opportunities, is that they must be put to the use of our country and it’s great peoples.
“Which is why I am today, with utmost humility, formally declaring my intention to run for the Office of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, on the platform of our great party, the All Progressives Congress.”
The PUNCH had reported that Osinbajo, at a dinner he hosted at the Presidential Villa for the breaking of the Ramadan fast (Iftar) on Sunday, informed the APC governors of his plan to succeed his boss, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), whose tenure as President ends in 13 months’ time.
Osinbajo, who turned 65 last month, is a senior advocate of Nigeria and a former lecturer at the University of Lagos. He is also a senior pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God.
He began his public office career in 1988 as an Adviser (legal advice and litigation) to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Bola Ajibola, a position he held for four years.
The Vice-President was appointed Attorney-General of Lagos State in 1999 by then Governor, Bola Tinubu, and held the position till 2007, implementing several judicial reforms.
He was nominated as Buhari’s running mate in 2014 and was elected alongside Buhari in 2015. During his seven-year tenure as Vice-President, Osinbajo served as acting President for more than 120 non-consecutive days while his principal was on medical leave in London between 2016 and 2018
Osinbajo will be contesting the APC Presidential primary against Bola Tinubu; the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi; and Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State.
Others in the APC who are rumoured to be nursing Presidential ambitions include: Ekiti State Governor and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Kayode Fayemi; the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige. The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, is also considered a contender. PUNCH