BY JAMES OBUTE
Following the successful conduct of All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential primaries and emergence of Prof. Yemi Osibajo as running mate to Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) in the next presidential election, there seems to be uneasy calm in the camp of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
This medium observed that the calculation of some quarters in PDP to campaign against the APC and its presidential candidates on religious ground seems to have failed as encomium is being poured on the party from many Nigerians over the caliber of candidates that emerged for the next year’s general elections.
Former Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, emerged the APC presidential candidate after the party primaries in Lagos on 10-11 December. However, Prof. Yemi Osibajo emerged as his running mate on Wednesday December 17.
In acceptance speech, Osibajo promised to proudly serve Nigerians with Buhari if elected in office come 2015. He pledged to work with Buhari and the party if elected into office to restore the hope of Nigerians.
He said: “I am deeply honoured and grateful to have been nominated as the Vice-Presidential candidate of our party, APC and especially the Presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari.
“I also thank the leaders and elders of our great party, APC for the trust reposed in me.
“The task of rebuilding this nation is one to which I am fully committed. There can be no other President, Leader and Commander that can lead that common sense revolution Nigeria urgently needs than General Muhammadu Buhari. I will proudly serve this country with him.
“General Buhari’s uprightness and fierce commitment to good governance is well known. It will be a privilege to work with him. I come to this assignment with lots of hope and a resolve to be a part of this movement to bring Nigeria back to its lost glory. With the support of all Nigerians and the help of God, we shall make Nigeria work again.
“I will work with him and the party to restore hope and confidence in millions of our youth and provide comfort and security for millions of our country men and women.
However, media reports revealed that the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, has blessed Buhari/Osibajo ahead of the next general elections.
Adeboye reportedly gave his blessing over the phone and wished Buhari and Osibajo a successful election campaign on the day he was nominated.
Osibajo is a top cleric in the Redeemed Christian Church of God, and the Chairman of the governing board of the Redeemer’s University. He was thought to be a powerful choice to match the Jonathan ticket who has been campaigning on religious line.
The ruling People’s Democratic Party and many of its campaign slogans have sought to milk the deficit implicit in a possible Muslim-Muslim ticket, an arrangement that would have emerged in the event of either a Tinubu or Fashola candidature as running mates.
Since the emergence of Buhari/Osibajo as APC presidential candidates so many people have commended the party for its choice.
The Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, said the choice of Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and Prof. Yemi Osibajo as representatives of the All Progressives Congress in the coming 2015 Presidential Election will change the country for the better if elected.
In a statement penultimate Thursday, Ikuforiji said he was delighted at the choice of Osibajo as Buhari’s running mate, adding that Osibajo was eminently qualified for the position.
He said, “For us here at the Lagos State House of Assembly, the choice of the highly cerebral, humane, and highly industrious Osibajo as Maj. Gen. Buhari’s deputy promises to be the much-needed tonic for the long-awaited turn around that Nigeria desperately needs for her restoration.
“For the leaders of our party to have successfully jettisoned their personal aggrandisement and embrace this popular joint ticket of Buhari/Osibajo in the overall interest of our nation’s survival simply confirms to doubting Thomases that our party is set to take over power at all levels of governance in Nigeria come the 2015 general elections.”
Ikuforiji said the combination would be rewarded with massive votes during the 2015 elections.
Similarly, former Minister of Petroleum, Professor Tam David-West, said the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), “is not too old to govern Nigeria”, saying leadership is not by age or degree but by endowment.
Delivering a public lecture penultimate week on the topic: “Corruption and Insecurity: Model for Nigeria”, at the 60th anniversary of the Kuti Hall, University of Ibadan, he said though Buhari would be 73 years in 2015, he is still not as old as the Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe.
“They say Buhari is too old. He will be 73 next year. He is very young. Mugabe is 90 years this year. Mugabe has been president since 1987. The President of Liberia is older than Buhari. Leadership is not by age or degree. It depends on endowment.
“Our president (Goodluck Jonathan) has Ph.D. Is he a better leader than (Tafawa Balewa, the first Prime Minister of Nigeria)? Jimmy Carter of America has two Ph.D degrees, a Ph.D in Nuclear Physics and a Ph.D in Chemistry. Was he a better leader in America? I believe in Buhari because I worked with him. I believe in him because I know he is honest. I know that he has zero tolerance for corruption,” he stated.
On the allegations that Buhari is an Islamic fundamentalist, David-West commented: “I am an Anglican fundamentalist. I am a Christian fundamentalist and I am proud to be that. A fundamentalist is different from an extremist. A fundamentalist believes exactly in his religion. I believe the Bible is sacred. If you’re an Islamic fundamentalist, it means that Quran is sacred. It is different from being an extremist.
“I have said this and nobody challenged me; three of Buhari’s cooks are Christians. I have published it many times. His second security officer is a Christian, his second driver is a Christian. His cook in the office is a Christian. Idiagbon’s (Tunde Idiagbon) wife was a born again Christian. You can preach better sermon with your life than with your lips. We should show example by how we live.”
David-West, who served as Minister of Petroleum from 1984 to 1985 when Buhari was the Military Head of State, also recommended that any corrupt public officer should be sentenced to life imprisonment or be stripped naked and paraded in public. He added that Buhari has zero-tolerance for corruption, describing him as the change that Nigeria needs in the next political dispensation.
“We can stop corruption. It is very easy. It is a moral issue. If the leaders have the moral will to change, if the parents have the moral will of dos and don’ts in the family, the children must be brought up with some strong ethical values in the family, which they will carry to the outside world.
“Corruption is everywhere but we can stop corruption in Nigeria if we stand up for it. If the leader is not corrupt, the people around him will not be corrupt. If the head of the fish is rotten, the body is also rotten. There is no leader that stands up against corruption that will have corrupt people around him because they know they would not go away with it. So, they cannot shift the blame.”