Why Did Yemi Osinbajo Lose the APC Presidential Primary?

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Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, came in second place in the All Progressives Congress’s (APC) presidential primary for 2022, receiving 235 votes. This was despite the fact that there were numerous circumstances working against him.

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Osinbajo’s benefactor and APC national leader, won 1,271 votes to become the party’s flag candidate for the 2023 presidential election.

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Prior to the primaries, observers expected that Osinbajo would suffer injuries as a result of his challenge to his boss and benefactor, an unquestionably Nigerian political enigma and leading presidential candidate, to a political fight.

Although there were roughly 28 applicants for the APC ticket, the race was clearly between Osinbajo and Tinubu, who were ultimately reduced to 13 by the Chief John Ogigie-Oyegun-led Screening Committee.

After exerting all of his effort in a primary that was widely regarded as free and fair, Osinbajo’s defeat was prompted by a variety of factors:

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Buhari’s inaction and unspoken support
While it is no secret that Osinbajo relied on the influence of his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari, to get the party’s nomination, this was not reciprocated, even by the President’s body language.

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This isn’t a stretch, given Buhari’s track record of being hesitant and indecisive at crucial moments when the party has to be most proactive.

This was evident in Buhari’s handling of the APC flag bearer problem till the day before the primary.

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This evidently rubbed off on Osinbajo, who was counting on his principal’s backing to clinch victory in the primary.

Unfortunately, Buhari was nowhere to be seen, leaving Osinbajo hanging and helpless in the midst of all the machinations during the ruling party’s hotly contested primary.

Consensus plot failure
Following Buhari’s deafening silence on Osinbajo’s candidacy, the concept of a consensus candidate, which would have bolstered the vice president’s ambitions, was shelved.

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The APC leadership’s efforts to reach an agreement on a consensus candidate for the party have met a brick wall.

While analysts had predicted that Osinbajo would be Buhari’s choice due to his deep devotion and loyalty, the APC Chairman, Abdullai Adamu, released the name of the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, putting an end to speculations that Osinbajo would be the consensus candidate.

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Despite the fact that the progressive governors, particularly the Solomon Lalong-led Northern Governors Forum, had persuaded Buhari to hand over power to the South, their body language implied that Osinbajo was the forum’s preferred candidate.

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Southwest is firmly in Tinubu’s hands.
Apart from the Osinbajo Support Organization and Movement in the region, Osinbajo lacks the political clout, political infrastructure, and support base necessary to seize power from Tinubu and defeat the former governor for the APC’s Southwest ticket.

The impact from the APC Convention, which saw politicians like Kayode Fayemi, the governor of Ekiti State, and Ibikunle Amosun, who both shared divergent views with Tinubu, prove that (Jagaban) still controls the region, despite claims that he only has the support of the governors of Osun and Lagos.

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Structure of the political parties
Tinubu has had the luxury of control over the years, and Osinbajo may not have it.

Tinubu has a long history of organizing political parties at the local, state, and national levels. Tinubu’s political clout extends beyond Nigeria, as a reputed national leader of the APC.

He played a key role in the victory of former South African President Jacob Zuma and Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, respectively.

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Tinubu, a master of local politics, has been actively involved in selecting candidates for office, managing and financing campaigns, and developing the party in a way that appeals to its voters.

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