Speaks on the winning combination
How Osinbajo emerged as VP

NATIONAL leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu on Monday in Abuja explained how the party brought a sudden end to the reign of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Reviewing the book, ‘Muhammadu Buhari, the Challenges of Leadership in Nigeria,’ written by Professor John Paden, Tinubu provided rare insights on the challenges faced by political parties that came together to form an alliance that produced the APC which eventually signalled end of the reign of PDP. According to him, to defeat PDP which had boasted it would rule Nigeria for 60 years, a political alliance had to be formed. He said: “In forming the ‘new’ party, we had three challenges. The first was learning the right lessons from the aborted attempt at political cooperation in 2011. Fortunately, both the ACN and CPC regretted our inability to conclude a pact in 2011. “We agreed that there would be no recrimination over what did not happen before. We agreed there would be an intensified effort to forge the united effort that eluded us in 2011. “In 2011, both parties wanted cooperation, but became stuck whether that should take the form of an alliance or outright merger. This difference gave rise to another one, regarding how the Vice Presidential candidate, who would run with the Presidential Candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, would be selected. “Despite numerous good-faiths demonstrated in attempts to resolve these issues, time ran out on finding a solution. In retrospect, we all were perhaps a bit too inflexible and did not realize the extent to which cooperation and flexibility were needed to establish the reform we all wanted. “The result: each party went its own way in 2011. However, the talks of 2011 would foreshadow the discussions, beginning in 2013, which led to the successful merger forming the APC. “Talks mainly between the CPC, led by Buhari, and the ACN, led by myself, later joined by the ANPP and the progressive wing of APGA, would go more smoothly and would reach the desired finish-line this time. There would be a merger and there would be a presidential candidate agreeable to all. A winning combination had been joined. “It would give the PDP, which had boasted of 60 continuous years in power, more than it could handle. “After the successful merger and the birth of APC, it was time to pick a flag bearer. At the Lagos convention, President Buhari emerged as the new party’s choice in a transparently honest process. His speech at the convention was greeted with ovation, even by those who had opposed him. “There was the sticky issue of selecting a running mate. After careful study and discussion, it was agreed that we should field a religiously-balanced ticket given the sensitivities of the moment. “Based on this conclusion, the name of Yemi Osinbajo, renowned law professor and former Lagos State Attorney-General during my tenure as governor, was proposed as an excellent running mate,” Tinubu revealed. He added that “Osinbajo was also a pastor in the largest church in the entire country, and this would answer those who wrongfully tried to paint Buhari as intolerant.” Also reviewing the book, former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell admitted that the US had not shown enough interest in Nigeria. This he said was a mistake. He therefore called on the American authorities to give Nigeria the attention it deserved as the giant of Africa. Another reviewer, Professor Ibrahim
Gambari, former Nigeria representative at the United Nations, urged Buhari to show leadership and carry all Nigerians along. He advised him to practise a politics of inclusion, warning that development without unity would be tough. Gambari noted that Buhari faced a challenge of bringing immediate change to thousands of his supporters who voted for him during the elections. Minister for Science and Technology, Chief Ogbonaya Onu, who also reviewed the book, said that despite the fact that the judiciary let him down three times when the courts rejected his petitions to upturn elections in which his opponents were declared winner, he did not lose faith in the judiciary. Chairman of the event and former head of state, General Yakubu Gowon said Buhari deserved every commendation and criticism, adding that Buhari was a fighter and a man of destiny working to get things right with the economy, despite the huge challenges being faced by the country. In a brief remark, former President Olusegun Obasanjo said the book confirmed what he knew about Buhari and what he was also told about him as an upright man. At the book presentation were presidents of Niger, Chad, Benin Republic and a representative of the Camerounian president. Vice President Osinbajo and his wife, Dolapo, Senate President Bukola Saraki and his wife, Toyin, the speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, former Chief Justices of Nigeria, Muhammadu Uwais and Alfa Belgore were also in attendance. The author of the book, Professor John Paden said that the biography was an attempt by him to introduce Buhari to the international community, saying that political leadership was critical in keeping Nigeria moving and developing.