Public Interest Behind Osinbajo’s Presidential Bid, Says Media Aide Akande

Akande said Osinbajo could not have ignored the belief many Nigerians reposed in him as the face of new Nigerian by just walking away.

FILES: The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, addresses a crowd of APC youths at the International Conference Centre in Abuja on June 21, 2021.


The Senior Special Assistant to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, says public interest is the reason the Vice President contested for the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Osinbajo eventually came third at the primary behind former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; and Bola Tinubu, who emerged the party’s flag bearer and went ahead to win the February 25 presidential election.

The Vice President drew criticisms from some quarters within the party, with many questioning him for contesting against Tinubu whom they said nominated him for his current position.

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But explaining reasons behind his boss’ decision to contest for the ticket, Akande said Osinbajo could not have ignored the belief many Nigerians reposed in him as the face of a new Nigeria by just walking away.

“What was important is to take whatever step you want to take in the best interest of the people. Public interest is the overriding factor,” he said during an appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Friday.

“You couldn’t have been vice-president for eight years, and the kind of vice-president that you have been, and how much work that has been done. And the level of understanding that you have acquired in terms of what has to be done and the capacity you had demonstrated when you had the opportunity to act for the president.

“You can’t have all that — and of course you have inspired scores of millions of Nigerians by your leadership style, people see you as a representation of a new Nigeria. All of that can’t be in place and you walk away and say, ‘I am not going to run.’

“You don’t do that, you put yourself up and once you put yourself up at that level, it is up to your party to decide what they want to do and the decision has been taken and then you move on, and that is exactly what the vice president has done.

“He did what he needed to do and the party made the decision and he just has to move on after doing the right thing,” Akande explained.

Following the failure to clinch the APC ticket, Osinbajo was conspicuously absent from Tinubu’s campaign events throughout the electioneering period.

The former Lagos State governor eventually won the election, defeating closest rivals Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), who came second and third, respectively.