Osinbajo seeks Senators’ support, invites APC Reps

Osinbajo seeks Senators’ support, invites APC Reps

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Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola  Tinubu, have stepped up efforts to lobby state governors ahead of the party’s presidential primaries.

Groups supporting both presidential candidates told our correspondents in separate interviews on Tuesday that the Vice-President and the APC national leader would hold more meetings with the governors in the days ahead.

This came to the fore on  Tuesday as  Osinbajo invited members of the APC caucus in the House of Representatives for a private meeting and dinner at the Presidential Villa barely three weeks after the 307-member caucus publicly endorsed Tinubu.

The Vice-President had on Sunday met the governors to inform them of his plan to vie for the APC presidential ticket. On Monday, he formally declared his ambition.

Also on  Monday, Tinubu, who declared his ambition in January, met with the governors in Abuja.

Last year when he was in London on medical leave,  the members of the northern caucus of the APC in the House of Representatives visited Tinubu where some of them described him as “Mr President.”

However, Osinbajo, on Tuesday, met with members of the APC caucus in the Senate.   He would meet with the House of Representatives Caucus on Wednesday. The House is led by Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, a political godson of Tinubu who is also an active member of his campaign team.

The PUNCH learnt that some of the members loyal to Tinubu may not honour Osinbajo’s invitation.

The Chairman, Committee on Finance, James Faleke, who is also the Convener of the Tinubu Support Group, told The PUNCH that Tinubu remained the candidate of the APC caucus in the House.

Faleke, who represents Ikeja federal constituency, added that he would not be attending the Vice-President’s dinner.

“Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu remains our candidate. I will not be attending the meeting,” Faleke stated.

Earlier at the plenary on Tuesday, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, had read out a notice from the Majority Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, notifying the APC caucus of Osinbajo’s breaking of Ramadan fast (Iftar) and Easter with the lawmakers.

The Iftar/Easter dinner was scheduled for 6.30 pm at the Aguda House, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Also on Tuesday, Osinbajo invited the APC caucus in the House to the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa for the Iftar dinner on Wednesday.

The Deputy Speaker of the House, Ahmed Wase, read the Vice-President’s letter through the Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, at the opening of plenary on Tuesday.

The letter to the House caucus read, “In the spirit of the Holy Month of Ramadan, it will be my great pleasure to host you and all members of the APC caucus in the House of Representatives to the Iftar/Easter dinner on Wednesday, April 13, 2022.

“It is proposed that members arrive at 6.30 pm, hence arrangements would be made for prayer at the State House Banquet Hall which is also the event venue.

“I will appreciate your very kind assistance in conveying this invitation to all concerns, including persons who are equally welcome to join us for the dinner.”

 Also on Tuesday, groups loyal to Tinubu and Osinbajo told The PUNCH that they were sure of the governors’ supports

Osinbajo will hold more consultations with govs – Groups

The Director General of the Yemi Osinbajo Campaign Organisation, Mr Ifeoluwa Fasoranti, said Osinbajo would continue to meet with stakeholders in the party including governors and chairmen in the states.

Fasoranti said, “It is a normal thing for the candidate and the support groups to meet with the governors on the ambition of the VP. Prof Yemi Osinbajo earlier met with the governors and I know he would still go ahead to do more of the consultation with the governors.

 “It is a continuous exercise. He would still meet the governors and all the stakeholders with the APC.”

Consultations with govs yielding fruits – Osinbajo Grassroots

On his part, the Ekiti State Leader, Osinbajo Grassroots Organisation, Femi Adeleye, said the Vice-President’s consultation with the governors was already yielding fruits.

Adeleye said, “We are passionately reaching out to governors and we are getting very good response. We don’t discuss what we have done, but across regions, we have reached certainly more than 15 governors.”

Also, the Secretary/Legal adviser, The Osinbajo Progressives, Toyin Oluwasola, said, “Here, we are talking of the aspiration of a sitting VP who had been acting President at one time or the other. It is glaring that he had had robust consultations with governors before declaring his ambition. He has been consulting widely without making noise.

 “At our level, some of us don’t have access to some of the governors, but those that have access among us have been saddled with the responsibility. Our groups have been talking to governors, ministers etc. The governors are at home with the project and in full support.”

However, supporters of Tinubu say they were unperturbed by Osinbajo’s ambition.

Govs pushing Tinubu’s agenda –SWAGA

The Ekiti State Coordinator, South West Agenda for Asiwaju Tinubu 2023, Prince Bamigboye Adegoroye, said it was the governors that were the ones pushing the Tinubu agenda.

Adegoroye said governors only went to meet Osinbajo on Sunday night as a matter of courtesy, adding, “It was a strong signal to failure when all he (Osinbajo) could do was to address Nigerians (on his ambition) through the social media”.

He said, “The governors are the ones pushing Asiwaju’s project. When Osinbajo asked governors to see him, l learned that 12 governors went there and only one of them applauded him. But when Asiwaju called an emergency meeting with the governors, 17 of them attended and there was a good rapport. Two governors gave reasons they could not attend Tinubu’s meeting.”

 Govs close to Tinubu–TSO

The Media and Publicity Director, Tinubu Support Organisation, Ekiti State, Abiodun Alonge, who said Tinubu’s presidential project began a long time ago, said Osinbajo meeting governors more frequently than Tinubu because of his position as the Chairman of the National Economic Council would not translate to victory for Osinbajo.

“Majority of the governors are very close to Asiwaju Tinubu. In Nigeria, he been able to elevate many people, among them governors across party lines, that is why he is a bridge builder

“Tinubu is known to everyone of them including PDP governors. The mere fact that VP Yemi Osinbajo presides over the National Economic Council does not mean he is closer, he may be close by virtue of his office, but politically, I am very sure Tinubu is closer to many of them except some few governors who are ambitious as per the 2023 presidential election.”

 The convener, Progressives Solidarity for Asiwaju, Dr Ibrahim Emokpaire, said they were sure of a Tinubu victory at the party’s primary which is expected to take place next month.

“We actually mobilising across the country with the structures we have. We’ve been able to rally support for Asiwaju, get the delegates for the direct and indirect primaries and that’s where we are moving for and also we know very well that we have 22 governors in the party we have started approaching them and getting them to our side would not be difficult.”

Also speaking with The PUNCH, the Convener of Ondo State Network for Tinubu, Mr Femi Adekambi, said the support group was working to canvass support for the APC stalwart and not to meet with governors.

A group known as Plateau APC Support group on Tuesday stormed the APC Secretariat Jos calling on party members in the state to support the Presidential aspiration of Tinubu.

Convener and Leader of the Group, Solomon Ndam, while addressing large crowd of supporters at the Party office in Jos, said the presidential aspiration of Tinubu would give Nigeria a great opportunity to turn the fortunes of the country around for good.

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