Since his emergence as Nigeria’s number-two citizen,
different accounts had been flying around on how Professor
Yemi Osinbajo, actually secured the coveted vice-presidential
slot, a majority of which revolved around the person of
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, his former boss. Indeed, the recent
revelation by Chief Bisi Akande in his book, “My
Participations” was equally slanted to further pin down the
You may recall that in 2016, Professor John Paden, authored
a biography, ‘Muhammadu Buhari: The Challenges of
leadership in Nigeria’, where he dismissed speculations that
Tinubu, influenced the emergence of Osinbajo as Buhari’s
running mate, but contended that Buhari, instead, chose
Osinbajo despite a lot of pressure from Tinubu, who was
interested in the position. That book raised a lot of dust and
as expected, Tinubu’s soldiers went for the professor.
But, regardless of whichever version you must have read or
heard, what you are about to read now is the untold story of
how Professor Osinbajo, became Buhari’s running mate and
eventually, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of
It happened that the All Progressives Congress (APC) was
almost running against the deadline for the submission of
names of its candidates ahead of the 2015 presidential
election. There was no debate about its presidential
candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, who had emerged at a
convention held in Lagos in December of 2014. But the party
had been held hostage on its choice for the running mate.
In the forefront of the confusion that had ensued as a result
was Tinubu, who didn’t hide his desire to fill the slot. He
hinged this on the understanding he allegedly had with Buhari
in the early days of their proposed alliance, before the merger
that eventually culminated in the formation of the APC, now
boasting several other tendencies.
With a bigger house made possible by what was known as the
‘legacy parties’ and other individuals, who championed the
change movement, a Muslim/Muslim ticket had become
This much was canvassed by a majority of the actors with
stakes in the party, especially, with the increasing attacks
from the Boko Haram terrorist group. They had considered a
Muslim/Muslim ticket a very hard sell.
However, with 24 hours to deadline for submission of names,
coupled with the fact that Tinubu had made a smooth choice
of a running mate nearly impossible, including the fact that he
was made to chair a selection committee, which failed to fly,
because of his vested interest, Buhari then decided to take
the bull by the horn, being the candidate.
While the underhand intrigues subsisted, Buhari had set up a
team of some persons, including a former governor of
Zamfara State, Abdul-Aziz Yari; former President of the
Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki; incumbent Governor of Sokoto
State, Aminu Tambuwal and his predecessor, Magatakarda
Wamakko, amongst others to shortlist names of likely
candidates for him, from the South.
Interestingly, it seemed there was a consensus that with the
role of the Southwest, the running mate must come from the
zone, reason other interested folks from other parts of the
country could not fly.
The committee had completed its work and submitted a list
of three names to Buhari. First on the list is a former Osun
State governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, followed by
Senator Olorunimbe Mamora and third, Professor Yemi
Osinbajo. Please, follow the trend and how Osinbajo’s name
first featured in the 2015 theatrics.
Armed with the list and wary of the deadline staring him in
the face, Buhari left for Tinubu’s house in Abuja, first to
explain that a Muslim/Muslim ticket was not going to fly,
meaning he would be unable to run with him and that in the
alternative, he (Tinubu) could recommend anyone from the
list to him as his preferred choice for the slot. At least, he
thought it was okay to do him that honour.
Unfortunately, Tinubu didn’t receive the news well and flared
up so bad that he was alleged to have engaged in war of
words with Buhari, who stormed out of his house, after
Tinubu had insinuated betrayal. Amongst those in Tinubu’s
house at the time were Chief Bisi Akande, Rauf Aregbesola
and Adams Oshiomhole. But only Oshiomhole walked Buhari
to his car as he made to leave the house.
From Tinubu’s house, Buhari stopped over at the home of a
former governor from the Southern part of the country and
told him all that transpired, and went back home – angry and
Getting home, he sent for Saraki and when the former Senate
President got to his place, he narrated what happened and
the embarrassment meted out to him, saying if Tinubu
wanted a fight, he was ready and he would give it back in full
But Saraki pleaded with him that it was too early and that the
situation was not what they couldn’t manage well before the
elections. Saraki immediately contacted a former Ogun State
governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, and hinted him that there
was fire on the mountain and that he needed to come around
to join forces with him to manage the situation. Amosun left
his home in Abeokuta, first for Lagos and then Abuja, and
straight to Buhari’s home.
Thus, when he got there, he was intimated with all that had
happened, but he was particularly worried about deadline and
pleaded with Buhari to let him take it over from there. So, he
left for Tinubu’s place to close the deal.
By the time he got to Tinubu’s residence, Oshiomhole had left
but still with him were Baba Akande and Ogbeni Aregbesola.
Typical of Amosun, who would not waste time on anything, he
told Tinubu that Buhari’s mind was already made up, but that
he should decide now, who he wanted as the running mate,
at least, that only the individual he chose would be presented
to Buhari and not give him the pleasure of choosing from a
Still angry and disappointed, the first person Tinubu
suggested in that rage was Oshiomhole. But as if planned,
there was almost a unanimous opposition from everyone in
the room. Then, Aregbesola suggested Osinbajo and he
(Tinubu) opposed it, saying Osinbajo was one of those, who
campaigned against a Muslim/Muslim ticket and must
therefore not benefit from it.
Now, let’s digress a bit. Tinubu’s anger against Osinbanjo was
this. The former Lagos governor had set up a team of
persons close to him to ponder the Muslim/Muslim idea and
the best way to push it forward. Those on the team included
Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Senator Tokunbo Afikuyom, Mr.
Wale Edun, Mr. Dele Alake and Mr. Dapo Thomas. The team
met regularly at a private Guest House on the Island, Ikoyi to
But Osinbajo had during one of their meetings said pointedly
that there was no way he would defend a Muslim/Muslim
ticket in good conscience especially, with the state of
security in the country. He asked on what account would he
go back to his family and say he was part of such a decision?
Of course, Tinubu got a feedback from the team and held it
against him, even though Osinbajo didn’t mean any harm.
Therefore, at the mention of Osinbajo, he revolted almost
instantly. But he needed to give a name and time was fast
going before deadline. So, he asked to see the list brought by
Buhari and on sighting it, he said, “Okay, let’s run with
Oyinlola.” To that too, Baba Akande protested and it was
back to square one.
Again, Aregbesola prevailed and contended that, like it or not,
Osinbajo remained a member of Tinubu’s political family and
therefore, still his best bet. After a few minutes of grumbling,
he reluctantly agreed to Osinbajo. And Amosun asked him
repeatedly if it was a deal and he responded in the
affirmative. Final answer kind of thing! Mamora was not even
to be considered as far as Tinubu was concerned. Those who
know Lagos politics would understand why.
When he finally agreed to Osinbajo, Aregbesola even pleaded
to be given the honour of being the person to break the news
to Osinbajo. But Amosun didn’t have the patience to
acquiesce to that request. For him, time was of the essence
and that assignment was handled business-like. Therefore,
how Baba Akande handed them a note with Osinbajo’s name
and ordered them to Buhari is still a mirage. Besides,
Aregbesola did not go with him.
Anyway, in the presence of all, Amosun made a call to
Osinbajo to ask, where he was and that a plane would be sent
to convey him now to Abuja. But, incidentally, Osinbajo
replied that he was in Abuja already, because he had a case
at the Supreme Court.
Great, everything seemed to be working together for good, he
reckoned. Then asked him to come immediately to Ogun
House in Abuja, and when he arrived, he first congratulated
him saying, “You’re the next vice-president of Nigeria.”
With a confounding gaze, he conveyed him in his (Amosun’s)
car and drove straight to Buhari’s house, with Kemi Adeosun,
former Minister of Finance, sitting in front of the car.
Getting to the candidate’s residence, Amosun asked Osinbajo
to wait downstairs, while he went upstairs to see the
president and told Buhari: “I have him sir,” and Buhari asked:
“Who?” and he replied: “Your running mate”.
The APC candidate then came downstairs, where he first met
with Osinbajo for the first time as introduced to him by
Amosun and immediately, ushered them to a sitting area in
the kitchen, where his nomination form was filled in a hurry.
Osinbajo, filling his form in Buhari’s dinning area, was guided
by Mrs. Adeosun, Amosun and Sarki Abba, one of Buhari’s
domestic staff, to hasten up the process. Buhari, too, was
there watching them complete the process.
This is why for those, who know the story, how Osinbajo later
turned out to be Amosun’s enemy remains a mystery to them.
But with this insider picture of how Osinbajo ‘walked from
Lagos to Abuja’, readers can now decide by themselves, the
person, who actually made Osinbajo the vice president. To do
this, however, five centres must be factored into account.
The first is the team set up by Buhari, which included him
amongst the three potential candidates. The second is
Aregbesola, who consistently mentioned him until it was
approved. The third is Tinubu, who reluctantly agreed to his
choice, without which they probably would have been unable
o move on.
The fourth was Amosun, who had to run a major and serious
race from Abeokuta to Lagos and Abuja to make sure that
phase in the life of APC was closed. The fifth and most
important is Buhari himself. He could have rejected him if he
wanted to. After all, he was going to be working with him and
definitely should have a say in the choice of his partner.
But if you asked this writer, no one person made Osinbajo
vice president. The coming together of everyone as designed
by God did the job. Therefore, no one person can claim the
glory. This, in a nutshell, is the story of Osinbajo’s journey to
the seat of power, Abuja.
All the additions and facts deliberately mutilated by Baba
Akande are curious. But, it is understandable. Above all, if
you are in doubt, many names are mentioned here as
witnesses to the journey, you can check with them all.