The vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, took his nationwide consultation tour, in promotion of his presidential ambition, to his home state of Ogun, with a declaration that he swore the oath of allegiance only to Nigeria, and not to any single citizen of the country. Osinbajo was addressing swirling allegations that his decision to run for president was a betrayal of his former principal and erstwhile political godfather, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who had also declared his presidential aspiration ahead of 2023.
The vice president, who addressed an ecstatic crowd of supporters, said he was not in the state to campaign yet, but to inform his people of his intention to be president. He added that he was one candidate, who would hit the ground running.
Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun declared support for Osinbajo, saying the vice president is eminently qualified to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, after seven years of working with him as his deputy.
The Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, while praying for the vice president at his palace, also attested to the fact that Osinbajo was competent to run. He told Osinbajo, “I want to pray that you will come back to this palace as a president and Nigeria will gain tremendously under your watch.”
Osinbajo said he owed no one, aside Nigeria, any allegiance, an apparent reference to Tinubu. The statement draws the line at accusations of disloyalty and betrayal being sold by supporters of the former Lagos State governor.
In his speech, Osinbajo said he had consulted widely across different sections of the society and leaders, including Buhari, before throwing his hat into the ring.
He said, “After all I have learnt, if called upon to serve the nation, should I say No? I have decided that I will run for the office. I have sworn an oath to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is an oath to our people; our children and the future of Nigeria. I owe nobody else any allegiance outside the oath.”
Recounting his contributions to the administration, Osinbajo said he was actively involved in the judiciary reforms and repositioning of the judicial sector for optimal operation. He noted that working with Buhari had exposed him to governance at the highest level and placed him in a position to tackle serious issues concerning the economy and security, among others.
Osinbao stated, “The vice president position is an opportunity to serve and I have served with utmost loyalty. I put everything into my work. I am a candidate, who will hit the ground running when I am elected.
“I have the requisite knowledge to do the job and build on what others have put in place. My presidency will bring peace, unity and development to the country.”
Osinbajo commended the Abiodun administration for giant strides it had recorded in the last three years and expressed the hope that his quest to lead the country would be fruitful.
Abiodun said Osinbajo had acquitted himself well, declaring that Ogun would support Osinbajo’s presidential ambition to enable him continue with the laudable projects of the Buhari administration. He said the vice president also stood by him during his governorship battle in 2019. The governor spoke at different stakeholders’ meetings with Osinbajo, held at the Akarigbo Palace, Sagamu, the Alake Palace in Abeokuta, the palace of the Olu of Ilaro, paramount ruler of Yewaland, and the Presidential Lodge, Ibara, Abeokuta.
Abiodun said Osinbajo had in the last seven years contributed to the successes recorded by the federal government, noting, “He is eminently qualified to lead the country.”
According to the governor, “The vice president present here is home coming. We are pleased with his decision to run for the office of the president. He is competent and committed to lead the country in a higher capacity.
“Your steadfastness, integrity and character are all well-known. You are serving this country and the president meritoriously for the last seven years as the vice president. We have no doubt that you will do well as the president and we will support you.”
While extolling Osinbajo’s academic achievements, the governor recalled how he stood behind his governorship election success and described him as a man interested in fairness, justice, equity, and the rule of law.
The paramount ruler of Remoland, Oba Babatunde Ajayi, in his remarks, said the vice president was competent with requisite qualifications to lead the country. He observed that his performance was there for all to see.
The Alake of Egbaland, who attested to Osinbajo’s competence, said, “The vice president has paid his dues and is eminently qualified to succeed as president.”