President Goodluck Jonathan has declared that his current vice, Arch Namadi Sambo, will be his running mate on the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party for next February’s presidential election. Likewise, the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Gen Muhammadu Buhari, also unveiled his running mate in the person of Prof Yemi Osinbajo. Bayo Oladeji and Bode Gbadebo write on what each vice presidential candidate brings to the table ahead of 2015 elections.
2015 Presidency: What Is Sambo Bringing To The Table As Jonathan’s Running Mate?
Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo was sworn-in as the 4th vice president of Nigeria on May 19, 2010. Prior to his elevation to the number two citizen in the country, he was elected governor of Kaduna State in 2007 and served in that capacity for three years.
A professional, gentleman politician, architect by training and an alumnus of the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, what is the electoral value of Sambo, given the prevailing high-wire politics and horse trading over his actual worth as running mate to President Goodluck Jonathan, who is the flag bearer of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2015 presidential election?
Until now, the choice of electoral quality of a running mate to a candidate, whether for the presidency or governorship position, was not an issue, save for when rotation or zoning matters come up among the six geopolitical zones or ethnic components of a state, as the case may be.
But given the religious and ethnic dimensions the polity has taken and the potential keen contest for the office of the president in 2015, the choice of a presidential running mate can no longer be casual and careless in order to guarantee victory for any ticket, whether the incumbent of the opposition candidates.
There was apprehension over the fate of Vice President Sambo when critical organs of the PDP endorsed Jonathan for 2015 and were silent on the status of Sambo, a situation which fuelled speculations of possible replacement of the vice president by his principal before the latter put all to rest by announcing Sambo as integral part of his ticket after a flattering description of him.
He is not known to have any visible political structure in his home state of Kaduna, having governed the state for three years and with the current state governor, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, his protege.
The pan-northern socio-cultural group, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), is said to be divided over where its support will go between Sambo as a vice president and retired General Muhammadu Buhari as a potential president. However, LEADERSHIP Friday checks show that the ACF hierachy has made up its mind on power shift to the North come 2015, a clear indication that Sambo may not benefit from the goodwill of this northern power bloc.
Also, not a few believe that Sambo lacks charisma and charm typical of a politician that commands massive followership both in the north and beyond. This is a big minus in these times of intense political season and for a ticket or principal who is suffering credibility damage from his style of governance. The north, being the worst hit by insurgency in the last five years or so, needs a charismatic person who can convince it why Jonathan should have more four years in office.
Osinbajo: Of What Electoral Value To Buhari?
Last Wednesday, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Muhammadu Buhari, unveiled his running mate, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, as a man of impeccable integrity and a product of what he called an “establishment of objective criteria, broad consultations with party leaders and a few opinion leaders outside the party and interactions with a number of nominees.”
Osinbajo, a professor of Law, senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), former commissioner for Justice and attorney-general during the Tinubu administration, is also a senior pastor at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, and a close disciple to the general overseer of the church, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye.
While unveiling him at a brief ceremony at the national secretariat of the party in Abuja, Buhari said: “The challenging process of rescuing our country and changing Nigeria for good has commenced.One of the first decisions that I have to make is the choice of the vice-presidential candidate and my running mate.
“The method employed in this choice was quite meticulous but yet rigorous. It involved the establishment of objective criteria, broad consultations with party leaders and a few opinion leaders outside the party and interactions with a number of nominees.
“To assist me in this great task of securing Nigeria’s future, I have chosen a man of unimpeachable integrity, an excellent professional, a man of faith, a devoted family man and a role model to our fellow country men and women. He is a professor of law and a senior advocate of Nigeria. An alumnus of the University of Lagos and the London School of Economics, he is a prodigious author who has to his credit, several books on civil procedure in Nigerian superior courts.
“The vice-presidential candidate is a friend of the less privileged, compassionate and zealous in service. A man of uncommon humility, a loyal, dependable and selfless patriot,”Buhari said.
In his acceptance speech as a running mate, Osinbajo expressed gratitude to Buhari and the APC for finding him worthy to serve. 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 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”, he stated.
Osinbajo became the running mate of Buhari after been considered by the party hierarchy in the early hours of Wednesday after several nocturnal meetings where other possible names, including Asiwaju Tinubu, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Governors Adams Oshiomhole and Rotimi Amaechi of Edo and Rivers States were respectively considered.As a senior advocate of Nigeria, Osinbajo had served between 1999 and 2007 as attorney general and commissioner of justice when Tinubu was the governor. His exposure in the office, coupled with his experience as personal assistant to the late attorney general and minister of Justice, Mr. Clement Akpamgbo (SAN), would go along way in making positive impact in the administration, if elected.Again, as a professor of Law and ex- head of Department of Public Law in the University of Lagos, Osinbajo is highly respected for his knowledge of law, especially as an expert in the law of evidence. This would also help the administration, if elected, in handling issues that are law related andthe relationship between the executive and the judiciary would be more mutual than before. The much sought independence of the judiciary might become a reality under his watch. In the past, court orders were being selectively implemented or obeyed by the executive, but not a few pundits see Osinbajo as the vice president as the panacea to such a mess. Many international agreements Nigeria has entered into are not yet domesticated, this would also become an area where the vice presidency of Osinbajo and whoever is the attorney general and minister of Justice would handle perfectly. Although, the church and the state in Nigeria are separated as it is the practice in the United States, yet, Osinbajo, as a close associate of the general overseer of the RCCG, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, is expected to attract votes among Christians in the North who could be scared of Buhari’s presidency because of the menace of Boko Haram terrorism. Not only that, the people of the Southwest who have been complaining of marginalisation by the present government, due to the loss of the speakership to the Northwest, would now see Osinbajo as the number two as a way of paying back the zone for the loss of the past.
His marriage to Oludalapo, a grand-daughter of the late sage, Papa Obafemi, could get him sympathy votes from the remnant Awoists when the time comes to vote. Although there seems to be a cold war between the Awo dynasty and the Tinubu camp, some pundits see his emergence as the APC presidential running mate as an opportunity to midwife reconciliation between them.