Leadership is not a popularity contest – Adams Oshomole.
It is not arguable that Tinubu has a very large political structure. It is also not arguable that Tinubu can defeat Osinbajo in an Open Ballot system, but APC primaries are not going to be an open ballot system where people queue behind their candidates, rather it is going to be an Open-Secret Ballot system. In an open-ballot system, once I vote against you, you know, so I will be reluctant to vote another after assuring you or collecting your money.
However, in an Open-Secret ballot, I can assure you that I will vote for you, collect your money yet vote my “heart”.
Now on the day of the APC primaries, these are the facts that would be very clear:
Tinubu is too old to govern effectively: With the hindsight of Buhari’s challenges, APC would rather go for a younger and much healthier candidate than an old and sick Tinubu. This is a clear advantage that Osinbajo would have. Most of the delegates would be easily swayed towards Osinbajo right inside the ballot cage, where they would thumb-print their ballot, fold it and come out openly to cast it in the ballot box. Mark you, it is going to be the same ballot box for all candidates, so you cannot know who was voted until the ballots are sorted and counted.
Tinubu’s bad faith towards Ambode: The bad deed that Tinubu did to Ambode is still fresh in the minds of the governors, both single-term and second-term governors. it is on record that the governors overwhelmingly rejected the direct primaries simply because Tinubu and his men in NASS arranged to have them treated like Ambode. moreso, it was reported that the APC governor’s forum led by Atiku Bagudu (who is still in charge by the way), went to Tinubu’s residence in Abuja to beg and prostrate to the Jagaban to allow Ambode to complete his tenure, but baba shuns them. Now, he is running after the same Bagudu, even going to the Kebbi Lodge to beg then. They are sure to require their pound of flesh on behalf of Ambode.
Religious sentiments: Since 2015 Nigeria has been governed by a Muslim, Muhammadu Buhari. If another Muslim from the South takes over from Buhari in 2023, the Muslims would have had another 8 years, making a total of 16. Now when power returns to the North, obviously another Muslim would take over for another 8 years. In total, the Muslims would be president from 2015 – to 2039, a whopping 24 uninterrupted years. That is NOT FEASIBLE. Hence, rational as the delegates are, they would avoid such a trap that would easily hand power back to the PDP. The delegates would rather vote for Osinbajo than Tinubu.
Running mate wahahala: We all recall the challenges that Buhari faced in choosing a running mate in 2015. Buhari was under pressure to avoid the Muslim-Muslim ticket in 2015, even with over 10 million Northern votes in the kitty. Tells that with a Tinubu’s candidacy, it would be tougher for APC. Firstly, Tinubu does not have the cult following that Buhari commanded in 2015. Secondly, the North would never accept a Northern Christian VP, this is an unwritten law. Adopting such would mean FAILURE in the North. Hence the only option that Tinubu would have is a Muslim-Muslim ticket, which would FAIL woefully at elections. Even APC NEC would advise against such a move. The obvious alternative would be Osinbajo.
Unaccounted Baggages: Accountability is the acceptance of responsibility for one’s own actions. It implies a willingness to be transparent, allowing others to observe and evaluate one’s performance. Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. Measured on these two words, Osinbajo would beat Tinubu by a clear distance. Firstly, Tinubu has held Lagos to a stranglehold for the past 23 years. He has made sure that his son controls all the key revenue-generating sectors of the state, the numerous toll gates, etc. His daughter controls all the markets in Lagos, his son-in-law is in NASS, and his wife is a senator for life, he receives 10% tithes from Lagos State. These are baggages that Nigeria’s state cannot accommodate. Even now, he has closed NURTW in Lagos and handed it over to his cronies. Is this the type of person that Nigeria wants to give power over the nation and national treasury and power?
Responsible delegates would avoid such a person because, when push goes to shove, Nigerians would be better off without such baggages. Hence the Osinbajo appeal would suffice.
Academic and foundational credence: Tinubu’s state of origin, early education, age, and birth are all mysteries. Noone knows where he is from. Noone knows his father, no one knows where he got his first school leaving certificate nor his high school certificate nor diploma. All we hear is that he graduated from some University in the USA. There are those that say that his daughter is 61 years old while Tinubu is claiming 70 years old. That is a mystery too many to be overlooked. Hence Osinbajo would come as a sterling candidate to sell rather than a Tunubu with these baggages of unexplained mysteries.
Conclusion: Osinbajo would trounce Tinubu in APC primaries. However, APC may not form the next government, no matter who they field!