FORMER National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Adebisi Akande, has showered encomium on Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, describing him as one of the ‘brightest boys’ in Yorubaland.
Akande described Osinbajo as modest, cerebral, perspicacious, courageous and decent in every sense.
The former governor of the State of Osun penned down his thoughts on Osinbajo on page 493 in his autobiography, My Participations.
He wrote: “Osinbajo is one of our brightest boys. He was a professor of Law at the University of Lagos and he served under Tinubu as Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice. Modest, cerebral, perspicacious, courageous and decent in every sense, he would be a fitting compliment to the ascetic Muhammadu Buhari whose soldierly upbringing sometimes makes him uncomfortable to the nuances of politics in the complex polity of Nigeria. Dolapo, Osinbajo’s delectable wife is a granddaughter of Chief Awolowo. Among the Yoruba people where pedigree means so much, that is a gold medal.”
Akande was narrating how Osinbajo name came up for the Vice Presidential ticket of the party in 2015 after Buhari had disappointed both Tinubu and him in making the former governor of Lagos state his running mate.
According to Akande, Buhari had out of his own volition, said he was to make Tinubu his running mater before he retracted his words.
He said: “The following day after the Elders’ Committee meeting which was deadlocked, Buhari phoned Tinubu. He said he would like Tinubu to give him three names from which he would pick a running mate. We were all In Abuja and Tinubu rushed to me with this information.
“He wanted to know whether the understanding we reached with Buhari had changed. I called Buhari and he told me be now needed three names from us. I was angry with him. General, this was not what we agreed upon, I said in annoyance. You are changing our agreement?
“He knew I was getting angry, He said he was under pressure from some governors from the North including those who were Muslims. I told him the slot belonged to the South-West and to the Yoruba, religion is not a factor in leadership. That is the burden the North has brought to national politics. He did not like my remark but kept quiet about it. He said he would come immediately to discuss further with me.
“Before he came, fortuitously, Oshiemhole and Aregbesola came in. He met the three of us. I kept the discussion open. I said This was not what you told us. This was not what we agreed upon at our entire discussions What gave rise to this, l asked?
“I went to bed early on that day. Suddenly, around 10 p.m, lbikunle Amosun came in and woke me up. He told me that he was just arriving Abuja from Lagos. He said Buhari called him and said there had been a stalemate on the issue of the vice-presidential candidate. Amosun pleaded that we should not allow evil to overwhelm us. He said we needed to discuss the issue again.
“I did not want to discuss the issue with him alone. I called Aregbesola, who was also in town. I called Tinubu, but he declined to join us. ‘I don’t want to be part of whatever you are discussing now,’ he said. ‘I don’t trust Buhari anymore! Even if we give him names, he may decide to go outside the list. So, let him choose on his own.’ He was unhappy with Buhari.
“I told him that was not the attitude to adopt. We were trying to toy with some names and I wanted him to participate in the discussion. After some time, Amosun, Aregbesola and I were considering some names. Then I decided to call Tinubu again.’We negotiated with Buhari in 2011 and gave him a name to choose instead of Pastor Bakare, I spoke to Tinubu on phone. Who was that person?” I asked. ‘It was Yemi Osinbajo, Tinubu declared.
“I asked Aregbesola to find out where Osinbajo was. He called him on the phone. ‘Yemi, where are you?’
‘Don’t you know your case is coming up tomorrow?” “I am in Abuja to argue your case.’ Osinbajo answered at the other end. Which hotel are you staying? Osinbajo told him.
“I got a blank sheet of paper and wrote the name, Yemi Osinbajo, on it. I instructed Amosun and Aregbesola to deliver that note to Buhari immediately. It was almost midnight. Then, the two of them left.
“Osinbajo is one of our brightest boys. He was a professor of Law at the University of Lagos and he served under Tinubu as Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice. Modest, cerebral, perspicacious, courageous and decent in every sense, he would be a fitting compliment to the ascetic Muhammadu Buhari whose soldierly upbringing sometimes makes him uncomfortable to the nuances of politics in the complex polity of Nigeria. Dolapo, Osinbajo’s delectable wife is a granddaughter of Chief Awolowo.
“Among the Yoruba people where pedigree means so much, that is a gold medal.
“I was waiting for Buhari to call me after he must have received my message. He did not. It was Tinubu who came to me at the wee hours of the morning. He was not in a good mood and was worried that Buhari might visit our efforts with bad faith.
‘Let us go back to Lagos,’ he said. ‘Why?’ l asked. ‘Maybe Buhari has his own agenda,’ he said. Even if we give him a name, he might not use the person. Maybe he just wants to use us for whatever his agenda might be.
“I reassured him that Buhari would not disappoint us and that he would agree with our choice as the vice-presidential candidate of our party. Then, we left for Lagos.
“The second day, I was watching the television when it was announced that Professor Yemi Osinbajo had been chosen as the running mate of General Muhammadu Buhari. I knew at that moment that we made the right choice and that we were on the threshold of history.”