John Paden, author of the book, Muhammadu Buhari: The Challenges of Leadership in Nigeria,’ has revealed how President Buhari choose Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as his running mate for the 2015 presidential election despite the objection of the erstwhile national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu.
The book was presented at an elaborate event at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, on Monday, October 3, 2016.
The book put to rest, the general notion that that Tinubu was the channel through which Osinbajo emerged as the vice president. Yemi Osinbajo served as his attorney general when he (Tinubu) was the governor of Lagos State.
The author claimed that Buhari chose Osinbajo above others despite enormous pressure from Tinubu to do otherwise.
According to the book, Babatunde Fashola and Yemi Osinbajo, were forwarded to Buhari for him to pick a running mate shortly after the retired general emerged the party’s candidate at its convention in Lagos. However, the author did not disclose who forwarded the list of the three nominees to Buhari.
“With Buhari coming from the North-West geopolitical zone, the Vice-Presidency had been ceded to the South-West geopolitical zone,” Professor Paden wrote.
“Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State and political ‘godfather’ of the South-West geopolitical zone, felt he should be the vice presidential candidate.
“His protégée and the then popular governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, was also a possible candidate.
“Both Tinubu and Fashola were Muslims, which complicated the national balance.
“A third candidate, Yemi Osinbajo, had been attorney general of Lagos State and a senior law professor and a pastor.
“When the three names were forwarded to Buhari, he chose Osinbajo despite enormous pressure from Tinubu,” the book read.
Tinubu was one of the four persons who reviewed the book on Monday, but curiously, he did not raise any objection to the author’s claim. Rather, he (Tinubu) had merely said Osinbajo was named Buhari’s running mate because of the need for “a religiously-balanced ticket given the sensitiveness of the moment.”
He noted, “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 sensitiveness 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.
“Osinbajo is also a pastor in the largest church in the entire country and this would answer those who wrongfully tried to paint Buhari as intolerant.”
The special guest of honour, former President Olusegun Obasanjo described the 320-page book as a mixture of history and current affairs.
“Except for a few incorrect insinuations, which can be understood, the author’s account is accurate,” he concluded.