By Ola Adeola
A retired Army general, Iliyasu Ibrahim, says it is untrue the claim that former Lagos Governor Bola Tinubu pressured President Muhammadu Buhari not to pick Professor Yemi Osinbajo as his running mate. The claim is contained in Buhari’s biography, titled “Muhammadu Buhari: Challenges of Leadership”, written by American scholar Professor John Paden.
However, Ibrahim sought to clarify in a statement he issued.
“I became disturbed about this falsification of recent history. Why would the author say this and have it published when many of us know the truth? The truth is that Tinubu singlehandedly chose Yemi Osinbajo and sent the name to President Buhari. There was no pressure. Tinubu is Osinbajo’s political mentor. The latter was his attorney-general and commissioner for Justice in Lagos and both have a close relationship.
“My worry stretched further when I recall the recent piece by Femi Fani Kayode on Tinubu and his huge contributions to the APC and how he is now being short-changed. Though I do not agree with all the claims made by Femi Fani-Kayode, I am convinced he made some reasonable arguments and his summation about Tinubu’s role in the current political dispensation can hardly be faulted. In some areas, he went overboard and you could see him gloating, the PDP apologist that he is. Also, the mention of Governor Ajimobi as one of the governors working against Tinubu is a fallacy and here he got his facts wrong. Ajimobi has remained consistently behind Tinubu and that is easily verifiable.
“But back to the emergence of Osinbajo as Vice Presidential candidate. I was there the night before the final decision and subsequent announcement. I was there at the Lagos Lodge Annex in Asokoro, Abuja at Tinubu’s place. On the night in reference, Asiwaju insisted that three names would not be sent for the VP slot. He maintained that only one name would be sent. Eventually, the name of Osinbajo was sent to President Buhari. There was no issue of pressure.
“Osinbajo was Tinubu’s man and that was the only person Tinubu was willing to accept to cede the VP slot. Shortly after Governor Amosun came around to the Lagos lodge. He came in and we greeted. Now, it seems clear that some fifth columnists are trying to distort recent history and we should not let them. This history is too recent to be mutilated.”