A frontline presidential aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu said on Thursday at the Presidential Lodge in Abeokuta, Ogun State that without him an indigene of the state, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo would not have been Vice President in 2015.
Campaigning for delegate votes, Tinubu said he contributed significantly to the emergence of Muhammadu Buhari as the APC presidential candidate in December 2014 and eventually winning the general election the following year; and that Candidate Buhari offered him the chance to be his running mate.
Tinubu, who was accompanied by Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, his Kano State counterpart, Dr Umar Ganduje and former Borno State Governor. Kashim Shettima, among other leaders, told his audience said he was making the revelation for the first time.
He disclosed that when Buhari offered him a running mate ticket, some blocs rose against him on the ground that both of them were of the Islamic faith.
“This is me telling you. Between me and God Almighty, Buhari called me to be his Vice President. He said because the first time he contested, he picked (Chuba) Okadigbo, flamboyant, catholic, but Nigerians didn’t vote for him.
“The second time, he picked another Igbo, (Edwin) Ume-Ezeoke. Nigerians didn’t vote for him; that if he goes to bring the Pope to run as his vice, Nigerians won’t vote for him. ‘But you, Bola Tinubu, you have six governors, you have never lost an election before, come and be my vice’.
“He knew all the calculations then favoured us, that is why he wanted me as his vice. But I told him to let us build the party first. And when we finished building the party after we brought in people from the PDP, (Dr. Bukola) Saraki now saw that those from the PDP will not get anything if Buhari, a Muslim becomes the president and me, also a Muslim, becomes his vice. He won’t get the Senate President and the Senate President cannot also be a Muslim, that was how they started the campaign of calumny against me.
“And I told them that I have a candidate that is a Christian that I can nominate so that the party will not break. That was how I nominated Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. I surrendered my right to him (Osinbajo).
“I was asked to submit three names, Yemi Cardoso, Wale Edun, and Yemi Osinbajo. But I told them if I submit three names, they will play a game, they may make it four and pick the fourth one. I gave them one name and that was Osinbajo”.
“You have not heard this from me before. This is the first place I am saying this”, Tinubu who addressed the delegates in Yoruba said.
On Buhari’s emergence as presidential candidate and eventual President, Tinubu said: “If not me that led the war front, Buhari wouldn’t have emerged. He contested first, second and third times, but lost. He even said on television that he won’t contest again.
“But I went to his home in Katsina. I told him you would contest and win, but you won’t joke with the matters of the Yoruba. Since he has emerged, I have not been appointed Minister. I didn’t get nor request a contract.
“This time, it’s Yoruba turn and in Yorubaland, it’s my tenure”.
Tinubu added: “Since the time we started with the Action Congress, Action Congress of Nigeria, and now the All Progressives Congress, I wanted to contest for President that time.
Tinubu also said that without God and him, Prince Dapo Abiodun would not have emerged the sate Governor in 2019 . “Dapo that’s sitting down here could he have become Governor without me? We were at the stadium, they tore all his posters. Even the party flag, they didn’t want to hand over it to him. I was the one who brought it.
“If he wants to meet God at the right place, he must know that without God and me, he would not have become Governor”.
Speaking on why he is the best choice among other aspirants in the southwest, Tinubu said: “It is my time, I’m educated, I’m experienced. I have been serving people for a long time, bring me the presidency, it is my turn”.
In his remarks, Abiodun, who had earlier declared his support for Osinbajo’s candidature, refused to endorse Tinubu. He told Tinubu that delegates from the state would do “the right thing” at the party convention.
Abiodun described Tinubu as a political warrior, serial winner and strategist.