*APC Replies Oyinlola, Says Nobody Remembers him
By Abiola Olawale
Former Governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola has recounted incidents that led to the curtailment of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s alleged ambition of becoming President Muhammadu Buhari’s running mate in the 2015 presidential election.
Oyinlola who defected to All Progressives Congress (APC) from Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2014, recounted how Buhari and Tinubu had reportedly reached an understanding to run for President and Vice President, respectively in 2015, but couldn’t push the agenda as the party was not ready to risk a muslim-muslim ticket.
Oyinlola, also a former military administrator of Lagos State, made this revelation while speaking with the Punch. He said Obasanjo talked the APC out of presenting Buhari and Tinubu as the 2015 presidential candidates on the ground that they are both Muslims and that it would be inappropriate to run on a muslim-muslim ticket in Nigeria on account of religious sensibilities.
But Yekini Nabena, Deputy National Publicity of APC said nobody even remembers Oyinlola, stressing that he (Oyinlola) joined the party in search of what to benefit but when that wasn’t forthcoming, he left.
According to Nabena, people should not take such statements emanating from the former governor seriously especially with respect to his claims that APC used restructuring to woo the South West and later turned round to dump the idea.
However, according to Oyinlola, “the agreement was concealed from a good number of the party leaders until it surfaced after Buhari had got the ticket. Then the rumour came out and some of us felt danger was looming with the idea of a Muslim-muslim ticket. To further add to our fears, General Buhari on one occasion said there was nothing wrong in the Muslim-muslim presidential arrangement, saying after all he governed with Tunde Idiagbon. That statement made us know it (the Muslim-muslim idea) was a fact. On two occasions, Bola mentioned it in my presence that they agreed.
“If you recall one trending video back then, where it was said that Buhari had jettisoned what they agreed on, that is the room he was sleeping when Buhari was look for the post. We then told Baba(Obasanjo). We told him that taking power from an incumbent government was a tough task and we must not give room for excuses and miss the target. We told him they (Buhari and Tinubu) were thinking of a Muslim-muslim ticket. That was when Baba (Obasanjo) said people should not take the sensibilities of Nigerians for granted. After that (Obasanjo’s intervention), they started saying it in my presence that Obasanjo frustrated the plan to get Tinubu on the ticket for 2015 but I always acted as if I didn’t hear them. We then had a stakeholders meeting where the issue of the running mate was discussed again.”
It would be recalled that, Oyinlola, 69, was a governor of Osun State from 2003 to 2010. His second tenure was however truncated following the judgement of a court of appeal, which ruled that he didn’t win the 2007 gubernatorial election.
He was elected as Governor under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Oyinlola later defected to APC in 2014, before the 2014 Osun State governorship election. He hails from Okuku, Osun State.